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John David Jackson: Benedict Arnold OR NOT?

In Boxing (Sport), HBO Boxing by Bakari Simpson0 Comments

Written By Bakari Simpson: Traditionally speaking, when a fighter and trainer abruptly split its due to the fighters wishes. Timothy Bradley surprisingly parting ways with longtime trainer, Joel Diaz, fits nicely under this umbrella. Even Money Mayweather, for his assorted reasons, has ping-ponged between his father and uncle as head trainer. Of course, trainers can, and often do, terminate their working relationship with certain pugilistic charges. Although, when the chief second steps down, it’s generally not abrupt, nor a surprise. For Kovalev’s trainer John David Jackson questions have recently arose.

In these scenarios, generally the coach had expressed displeasure, for whatever reason, in the fighter and wanted to see a change in behavior. Then, having not seeing this requested alteration manifest, the trainer concludes their collaboration. Yet, no matter what underlining reason the trainer may have, when the Chief Second departs it’s rarely a surprise.

It was fairly recently revealed that, Kovalev’s Chief Second, John David Jackson, seriously contemplated turning this tradition on its head! Or, under closer examination, was he simply trying to flee a burning house? Amidst a rematch, and rivalry, already steeped in controversy Jackson became the centerpiece of yet another juicy chapter.

While the two camps clash in terms of who initiated conversations, there is no denying that a clandestine dialogue took place. In a ‘Young and the Restless’ worthy plot twist Jackson engaged in potentially treacherous negotiations with Team Ward. As proof, John has conducted a multitude of interviews from his own mouth explaining his side of this revelation.

According to Jackson’s version, Team Ward approached him in an attempt to seduce him away from Kovalev. John readily admits entertaining the conversation and that money was discussed. Not only was payment for service discussed, John volunteered that he immediately asked how much he would be paid for his desertion. Apparently, the thought of securing a juicy money bag had John David Jackson in a serious Cam’ron mood.

In complete Paid in Full mode, Jackson was absolutely ready to blast Sergey like Rico did Mitch in the lobby. “Thankfully” for Kovalev, John confessed that the paper wasn’t long enough to sour his loyalty. So, after a brief contemplation, Jackson opted to leave treason alone and remain with Team Kovalev.

“Its true, I [muttering] I was offered a deal, and you know, in the end I didn’t take it. I have loyalty to my fighter so I stayed here. I’m honest with people, I’ll tell you this, I’ll be honest, if they would’ve gave me Fort Knox I would have went! I would have been there, but they didn’t give me that.” -John David Jackson 

SOURCE: FightHubTV/Youtube

Wow.

That’s the story from the horse’s mouth!

Let Team Kovalev spin it, this is no big deal. They contend this is merely Team Ward trying to secure an early mental edge by drumming up ‘baseless’ controversy. Yet, there is no way to claim this is only smoke and mirrors when John admits that it’s only too real. This is like a wife feverishly reassuring the family that all is well in the marriage. Meanwhile, the husband is openly telling the same family he WAS seriously entertaining ideas of infidelity. And not only was he thinking about stepping out, he was contemplating sleeping with the wife’s sister!

Kathy Duva and Kovalev want the public to believe these atom bomb revelations are akin to drugstore firecrackers. The anemic alibi largely fell upon deaf ears. Most in the boxing world realize the seriousness of the shadowy dealings. Although, many in the media are running with the slant that this is all truly Team Ward shenanigans. They fancy that Team Kovalev’s story rings more true.

Despite the fact that Kathy Duva bold faced lied about Ward being a ‘no call-no show’ during the premiere promotion. Then turned around and lied during the second promotion. This time she claimed Ward was a ‘no show’ for a HBO Face Off. However, in both occasions it was revealed that Ward’s whereabouts were well documented. Duva simply preferred to sling mud. Hell, even after Jackson openly admitted contemplating stabbing Sergey in the back Team Kovalev, for many, remain the more trust worthy outfit. Hey man, to each their own, you know?

Maintaining airs like business as usual, Team Kovalev behaves in front of cameras like nothing transpired. Nevertheless, like a seasoned fighter exercising an adept poker-face after a tremendous blow, this poise is only strategic cunning. Or a last-ditch attempt at respectability!

However, if John David Jackson did entertain the offer, for however briefly, why was that? What was his motivation? Money, and money alone? Is it possible that there had been long-standing seeds of malcontent?

Its’ no secret that most insiders of the Kovalev camp admit that Sergey is ‘stubborn’ and wants things his way. Jackson said that at various times he has to essentially trick Sergey into doing what he’s instructing. There are few things more frustrating than trying to teach than an unwilling student.

“After the fight, he [John David Jackson] reached out and just started complaining about the way that he was being treated. You know, he was complaining about the fact that whoever the Russian coach was, I don’t know, but he wasn’t able to talk in the corner; that right before he walked out to the ring he was told he cant talk at certain point.”  -Andre Ward

In more recent interviews, Andre Ward gave his take on the events that transpired:

“What happened is got in too far, he got in too deep, and even during the deliberation process he gave up way too much information about what had been going on, what was going on in their camp, why he was unhappy, disgruntled, etc. That’s why you didn’t see him at any of the press conferences. They were negotiating to see if he was going to come back. If you look at my career, every interview I’ve done, I don’t make stuff up man! I don’t play games, I’m a straight shooter, like, that’s a fact.”  

Andre Ward

SOURCE: SecondsOut/YouTube

From a psychological perspective, this has to be disastrous for Sergey Kovalev. Going into your toughest, most meaningful fight to date with a high-priced ‘turncoat’ in your corner can’t be settling. Kovalev has got to be wondering what Jackson told Team Ward. Did he tell them anything? Did he tell them everything? If dissatisfied to the point of potential abandonment, will Jackson have Kovalev’s best interest in mind on June 17th? Will he be putting his best foot forward? Will the already stubborn Kovalev mind his advice? However, the larger point remains: Sergey has a colossal distraction on his hands.

Despite backbiting naysayers discontented by Ward’s initial victory, this is a wildly even prize-fight in terms of the combatants. Neither Ward, nor Sergey, can afford to enter the ring on June 17th less than their best and expect victory. Already plagued with two consecutive performances mired with sub par stamina, Kovalev can ill afford to add any more impediments to this task.

This already complicated and competitive fight perhaps just got a little bit better!
Can’t wait for this one!

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Bakari Simpson INSTAGRAM: @s.larry_love FACEBOOK: Bakari Simpson