Exclusive Interview: John David Jackson

By James Alden


Exclusive Interview: John David Jackson

JA: B-Hop brought you in because you are a southpaw expert. Tell us how B-Hop is adjusting to the southpaw style? "Bernard has had pretty good success against southpaws in the past so it’s not like he doesn’t know how to fight a southpaw fighter. With fighting a southpaw you need a little bit more expertise in fighting a south paw and I been just teaching him different things. There are certain things that Antonio does, he has a lot of flaws and we are working on exploiting those flaws on June 10th. Having said that Antonio is definitely a devastating puncher and we need to make sure that Bernard has a great defense to minimize any of the damage that may happen in the fight."

JA: When I look at both of there styles it could end up being a boring fight, do you see that?

JDJ: On paper it could be that way. This is a fight that Bernard is moving up in weight where he doesn’t have to conserve his energy early. When Bernard was fighting at middleweight he had to lose the extra weight and conserve some of his energy. At this point in Bernard’s career he is moving up in weight and it will be a lot easier for him to maintain the energy level, Bernard can be more pursuing in going after Antonio.

JA: In his two fights with Jermain Taylor he seemed hesitant to throw punches, why is that?

JDJ: Yeah that was when Bernard had to conserve his energy, for this fight he can eat and he will have more energy so when the fight starts he doesn’t have to worry about conserving his energy. From round one on he can stick to his pace of the fight and fight in Antonio’s chest if he wants to, there are different ways to beat Antonio but if you look at it from the smaller mans point of view he has to dictate the pace of the fight and make Antonio work.

JA: Bernard has nothing left to prove but in your opinion why is he moving up to 175 to fight?

JDJ: It’s for history; he wants to make history for this fight. He doesn’t have to make the weight for this fight so that will be easy, he wasn’t going to fight Taylor again and he doesn’t have anything to gain by fighting Taylor a third time. This fight has been offered to him and he took the fight and he wants to go out on a high note and become light heavyweight champion of the world by beating the number one light heavyweight in the world. The challenge is there for Bernard and if he didn’t think that there was something to gain in this fight he wouldn’t have taken the fight.

JA: When I watched Tarver fight in the first Roy Jones fight, whenever Roy opened up on Antonio he went into a cover up defense, is that one of the strategies that you have to implant to beat Antonio?

JDJ: That is one of the things that we are going to work into the strategy.

JA: [Cutting In] He is not much of a counter puncher is he?

JDJ: A lot of times he counter punches. There are a lot of things that he does that you can capitalize on without getting deep into a battle plan at this time. He is not like you said a take charge kind of guy; you have to counter of his reaction to a punch and when you do that you have to play games with him to get him to expose himself to certain kind of shots. In this fight here we have to be smart, not so much stronger because Bernard is going be stronger in this fight. Bernard has to be smarter in his pursuit of how he is going to dictate his pace to Antonio, he has to set traps and make Antonio pay for certain mistakes that he does.

JA: Do you think that this is going to be one of Bernard’s last fights?

JDJ: From Bernard’s point of you it could be one of his last ones. For me I don’t know because he might want to go out in blazing glory because a lot of people may not think that he can at this stage of his career. When he wins this title hear he will go out on a high note because there is not much of a higher note you can go out on. From a boxers point of you if someone offered some crazy amount of money to fight a Joe Calzaghe or somebody, he would be foolish not to entertain the thought of fighting again. To win and go out on a high note is nice but the amount of money can sometimes bring you back. He should be set for life with the money that he has where he doesn’t need the money to fight another fight ever again. To go out on a winning note is nice so you don’t want to jeopardize that over fighting again.

JA: Is it a credit to the way that Bernard has been eating right, living right to where he can still compete at a high level at the age of 41.

JDJ: Most definitely. It is a testament to the way that he has been living and that is a big attribute to where he is at this stage of his career and life. Bernard has taken minimal damage in his career and that speaks highly of him to compete at this level, how long will he be fighting? Only God knows but this fight right here I think that he is going to shock a lot of people. We have to get through this fight right here first.

JA: I know that you were down in Florida?

JDJ: Yeah he and Mackie Shelstone got together and worked together on strength and conditioning and we moved to New Orleans for training camp. We are going to be working on floor work, pad work and the basics. We may have him start sparring on Thursday or Friday and then on Monday we will get back to the groove of things and really push hard.

JA: Do you think that this fight will go the distance in this fight?

JDJ: This fight may go the distance but it’s not hard to phantom a knockout. If the plan that I implemented gets carried out than that it could end by knockout. I have sparred with Antonio and I boxed with Bernard and I been in the gym countless times with him back in the Philadelphia. It is conceivable to myself that the fight could end within side the distance but it depends on how the fight plays out. Antonio has a hell of a left hand; his right hand is a range finder so the left hand is what you have to look out for. Bernard has a tough set of whiskers who has never been knocked out, been dropped maybe once or twice. I don’t see Bernard getting knocked out because he is too smart for that, we are working on a few things where he can avoid taking a lot of punishment in the ring. The question is can Bernard knockout Antonio, he may not knock him out but I think that he can definitely stop him. Bernard is punching a lot harder now and he is so much stronger at 175, I could definitely see a late round stoppage or mid round stoppage. Who knows Bernard may carry enough power in one punch where he could get him out, I wouldn’t bet on it but it could happen.

JA: I was going to say that Bernard’s defense is a lot better than Roy’s and Bernard always keeps his hands held high and chin down…

JDJ: [Cutting In] When you look at the Roy Jones fights with Tarver, Roy had the skill and ability but I don’t want to say that he didn’t have the desire to beat him but he didn’t have the heart to go in there and do what he had to do to beat Antonio. The first fight he made Antonio looked good because he laid on the ropes and that gave Antonio a chance to do something, in the first fight I thought that Roy won the fight easily to me. The second fight Roy got caught early and that was it. In the third fight I don’t know what kind of fight Roy was trying to fight, it seemed that he was trying to survive and say “Hey I went 12 rounds with Antonio Tarver and he didn’t knock me out this time”. When Glen Johnson fought Antonio Tarver he had the right idea to win the fight but he didn’t have the right defense to do it. In the first fight it was close, the second fight he won but he pitty pattied in the fight. If you look at Antonio he doesn’t have the fire power that a lot of people think that he has, he only knocked out two people in his career and that was Roy Jones and Eric Harding. Harding was beat him in the first fight and was beating him in the second fight until he got careless and got caught. If a lot of people think that the big guy is going to knock out the little guy that is not the case. A lot of people think that the smaller guy is coming up that Antonio is just going to destroy Bernard. A lot of people may be shocked to see what happens in this fight because Antonio is coming down from +200 to get down to 175. When you carry that much weight around for months at a time and to try to get down to 175 is going to be tough. Antonio might be strong for the first four rounds of the fight but once Bernard puts his plan together he’s going to be in trouble.

JA: Do you think that it could have the same impact when Roy Jones moved back down to 175?

JDJ: Believe it or not it may be because he been out in Hollywood doing his thing and training is the last thing on his mind and he let his weight balloon up. He now is in that process of bringing that weight down and I don’t care what anyone tells you, to come up that high and too come back that low is going to hurt you. He may not think that it’s going to hurt him but he is fighting a different type of animal in Bernard Hopkins. Bernard is hungry; Roy Jones wasn’t hungry in his fight. Glen Johnson was hungry but didn’t have the right game plan to beat Antonio but he made it close. Bernard is different because he is above Glen Johnson in skill alone. Antonio is taking this fight like Bernard is going to get squashed and Bernard is the smaller guy. Well my friend come the weigh-in you are both going to be 175 pounds, you are going to have to shrink down to get to 175 when this man is barely going to have to make 175 pounds.  Bernard walks around at 168 so its only going to be a seven pounds Bernard has to gain but at the weigh in, everything is going to be even. The next day Antonio may try to put some weight on, but that may hinder him. They may both walk in the ring at 190 for the fight so its not going to be a big guy against a small guy. The fight is going to come down to who has the most desire and who has the better game plan to win this fight.

JA: Do you think that Bernard’s speed at 175 is going to be the same?

JDJ: Oh yeah definitely, we are going to cover all the bases for him. The speed is going to be there and we are working on different kinds of punches to keep the speed there. Me and Macky is going to speak on that and we are going to do things to enhance the hand speed. 

JA: Is there anything that you would like to say in closing to the fans on Boxingtalk.com?

JDJ: To the fans, who think that this fight is going to be a boring fight, watch the fight because this fight has history one way or the other. Some may say that the old guy shouldn’t have been in the ring or the old guy will surprise some people. It’s going to be an interesting fight and I think that the fans should watch the fight and I think they might get more than there moneys worth for this fight.


Send questions and comments to: jamesalden@boxingtalk.com