Photo: Reynaldo Sanchez/Acquinity Sports
John David Jackson never shied away from a challenge during his days as a two-time world champion boxer out of Colorado. He certainly doesn’t do that now as a world-class trainer in South Florida. Having worked with some of the elite in the sport including Bernard Hopkins Shane Mosley and Nate Campbell, Jackson knows talent when he sees it. Lately he sees a lot of it in undefeated Russian light welterweight Khabib “The Hawk” Allakhverdiev (17-0, 8 KOs). Jackson is the man in charge of Khabib’s corner when he faces former two-time world champion Joan “Little Tyson” Guzman (33-0-1, 20 KOs) this Friday night from The BB&T Center in Sunrise. At stake is the vacant WBA World light welterweight championship and an opportunity to catapult the young Russian into conversations about the one hundred forty pound division.
John, you watched Khabib develop his skills a couple of years ago in Hollywood FL, now you’re training him for a world title fight. How has he changed since you last saw him?
You know Khabib is in tremendous condition. This is his life. Boxing is his world and he’s taking this fight like any fighter should; by giving one hundred and ten percent of what he has. When I first got Khabib years ago he was still young in boxing and quite unsure of himself. Well, I’ve seen a transformation in this kid that’s unbelievable. He’s sure of himself now. He understands who Guzman is and what Guzman used to do. I say used to because he’s thirty-six now and you can’t do what you did when you were twenty-one. I don’t care what they tell you, you can’t do it. He’s still a good fighter. Still crafty, still dangerous but not the guy he once was. It’s Khabib’s time. He wants this title. If Guzman is the killer they claim he is we’ll see come Friday.
What are you guys expecting to see from Guzman on Friday?
Well first of all we expect him to make the weight. After that we’ll see.
I’ve watched his last few fights and I watched his earlier fights. He no longer does what he did when he was a young man and that’s understandable. When you get older in boxing, you have to change your style. But now he sits in the pocket a lot, which makes an easy fight for Khabib. Not saying that Khabib’s gonna go crazy but there’s certain strategies for this fight that we’ve worked on. Guzman uses a lot of head and upper shoulder movement and that’s ok. We’re not worried about the head right now. You’re not gonna hit Guzman in the head; he’s very evasive. He’s been that way his whole career; he’s got that natural radar built in. I understand that well because our styles are similar.
I told Khabib he may lose the first four rounds because Guzman is gonna come out fresh. But let’s see what happens from the fifth round into the second half of the fight. Let’s see if he can stand the pressure we’re gonna put on him and keep the same grind going he did the first four rounds. We’ll see what Guzman’s made of. He’s talking a good game right now but Khabib’s a dangerous kid. Once that bell rings he’s gonna come at you from round one to round twelve if it goes that long.
And Khabib’s a dedicated body puncher so that kind of fits right into his action plan.
Yes, yes. The fight plan I’ve put forth, he loves it. He thanks me because I’ve studied Guzman, I’ve studied his style and it is similar to my style. The things I’ve told Khabib, if he does them, he should come out victorious. Maybe Guzman could surprise all of us and come out with Superman-type strength that night and do his thing. And if he does, God bless him.
But, I feel in the long run, Khabib will be able to outshine him because of the pressure that he’s gonna put on him. I’ve never seen Guzman fight that kind of non-stop style for twelve rounds. If you didn’t do it when you were a young man, I don’t see you doing it when you’re thirty-six.
You got two problems. You’re trying to make weight, that’s your first problem. Now you can say you made the weight but I can see you haven’t. I can see it in his face. So guess what? Now you gotta fight the weight first and come fight night now you gotta fight the kid. Listen, hopefully there’s not a weight problem.
That way when they both fight, it’s just two good fighters and may the better man win.
The Acquinity Sports “Beatdown 2012″ card will be broadcast live on Bounce TV (WFLX Fox 29 locally in Palm Beach County) and The Pursuit Channel (Channel 240 Dish and 604 DirecTV) reaching 115 million households. In addition to the featured fisticuffs, hip-hop fans will also have a chance watch rappers lay additional beats down during the scheduled full-performance concert. Artists such as Flo Rida, DMX, Fat Joe, Waka Flocka Flame, Travis Porter and Fabolous are scheduled to perform. For ticket information, please visit www.ticketmaster.com For more information, please visit live.bsaving.com.