Mexico vs. Puerto Rico rivalry has produced some of the most memorable fights in boxing. Both countries have produced multiple world champions and have a combined total of twenty-seven boxers enshrined in the International Boxing Hall of Fame. The next installment of this age-old rivalry could possibly be between featherweight contender Abraham “Super” Nova (21-0, 15 KOs) and WBO Champion Emanuel Navarrete (35-1, 29 KOs).
Nova gained notable recognition when he blasted William Encarnacion (19-2, 15 KOs), a 2012 Olympian from the Dominican Republic, in the 8th round of their fight. It was the co-feature on the Joe Smith Jr. vs. Steve Geffrard card, televised live on ESPN. During his post-fight interview, Nova told ESPN's Mark Kriegel that he wanted Navarrete in his next outing. Thus, starting a series of call-outs by the blond-bearded pugilist attempting to get Navarrete in the ring with him.
In his latest call out, Nova published what resembles a poster marketing a fight between him and the champion on his Instagram account. The graphic design is titled “The Call Out,” along with a comment written by Nova which says, “Sign the contract.”
NYF reached out to Abraham Nova to inquire about any developments since he called out Navarrete. Nova agreed, and we spoke yesterday regarding his “calling-out tactics” to lure Navarrete to sign a contract for the WBO Featherweight title.
It was fitting that I would be talking to “Super” Nova on Superbowl Sunday. Wearing a black turtleneck, a gold chain, sporting his trademark blond beard accompanied by a soft but menacing smile, the top-rated featherweight looked like he was ready to wage war right there and then against Navarrete.
I didn't want to pussyfoot around the subject, so I immediately got to the heart of the matter.
JR: Has your team sent Team-Navarrete an official contract for a potential fight for the featherweight world title?
AN: Yes, they have. Yes, my management team and Top Rank, my promoter, have sent him various contracts. I signed right away. He's iffy about the numbers. We fixed the numbers sent it back, and he's still iffy about a couple of things. We just want him to sign the contract. We offered him what he deserved and what he wanted. It's up to him to sign the contract and get this fight going on with “Super Nova.”
JR: Why do you think he hasn't signed the contract?
AN: He wants more money. I had a Zoom meeting with him, and he stated that I'm a difficult fighter and he wants to get paid. I don't blame him; I know I'm a threat. I could box, I could punch, and it's not going to be an easy night for him. So, he's like, “let me get paid if I'm going to fight this dude.”
JR: Besides the contract offers and the Zoom call. Has Navarrete responded to any of your call-outs, including those on social media?
AN: No, he hasn't. The only time we had the discussion was on zoom. He said, “I'm not ducking or dodging you, but I need to get paid to fight you.” Other than that, he hasn't responded on any of my social media platforms or call-outs.
JR: What do you make of that?
AN: I just think he needs time to think and make the right decision for himself. This is a business. We have to make the right decisions to move up. But the right decision is to fight me. No one else is willing to give him a big-shot fight. I'm the only one calling him out on national television, on ESPN. No one else is calling him out. I feel like if he fights someone else, everybody will feel like he's ducking me. So I feel like he has no choice but to fight me or vacate the belt and go up to 130lbs.
JR: What terms have you agreed on to make this fight happen?
AN: I've given him a lot of things. I said, “Hey, you want more money? Take my purse. Take my purse; I'll fight for free.” My goal is to become a world champion. My goal is not the money; the money is going to come. He came up with all types of excuses. I'm here to fight. I believe in myself. I know I have the skill, the power, the IQ to beat him and become a world champion. I just want the fight.
JR: Besides the obvious of wanting to win a title, why Emanuel Navarrete? You have a laser on him!
AN: I got a laser on him because I know the fight can be made quickly. He's with Top Rank; I'm with Top Rank. He's a champion, and I'm ranked number two in the world in the WBO. It makes sense. It's the easiest fight that can be made right now. Yes, I would like to fight all the other champions, but they're on different platforms like PBC; Leo Santa Cruz, Gary Russell Jr, and the guy that beat Gary Russell Jr. (Mark Magsayo). Navarrete being with Top Rank, this fight can be made quickly. Just sign the contract! Let's get it done on ESPN, and boom, we're fighting.
JR: Besides the money, do you think they are any other reasons why he won't get in the ring with you?
AN: No. Maybe it's because I'm a high-risk, low-reward fighter. If he beats me, he gets no recognition. But if I beat him, I'll blow up, and everybody will know me. So in that aspect, the business part, I do understand. But hey, I'm calling you out! Everyone knows I'm calling you out! I'm number 2 in the world; there is no one else for you to fight! Everybody saw me perform; they liked how I fought. The biggest thing, too, is Puerto Rico vs. Mexico rivalry. You know you're going to get a great fight with that. Other than him moving to 130, I feel this is the best deal he got going for him right now.
JR: In your post-fight interview with Mark Kriegel, you said that you have the tendency to start off too slow during fights. It takes you a while to warm up, and you will work on that. Have you been working on that? How will you prepare for Navarrete as opposed to your other training camps?
— Top Rank Boxing (@trboxing) January 16, 2022
AN: The warming up stuff, yes. I didn't even warm up before sparring sessions. Now we're going to hit mitts get a good sweat before we get in there just to warm up. Come fight time, I got in the ring and fought. It was a ritual I got used to when I was an amateur, and it followed me to the pros. Now I'm getting older. I'm not young anymore. I got to warm up now and get my body going. It's something we are going to work on in this camp.
For this fight, we will be doing what we've been doing. We will highlight his best assets and work on a counter for those things. Other than that, we will keep doing what we are doing. We are not going to focus so much on him. We are going to focus on what I do wrong. I feel like I'm a complete fighter. I got to tighten up my defense in a couple of aspects and fix things. We are not going to focus on him. If I come at my best, nobody can beat me.
JR: Based on his last two performances against Cristopher “Pitufo” Diaz and Joet Gonzalez, do you see anything you can exploit and be successful against the champ?
Nova: I feel like I can take advantage of his defense. He doesn't do well fighting off his back foot. Like he did against Joet. I don't want to tell them all here, but there are a lot of holes that he has that I'm going to bring to light come the day of the fight.
JR: What do you tell the critics that say that this will be your most significant test? That maybe they feel you're biting off more than you can chew calling out Navarrete. That you haven't fought a complete 12 rounds in a fight? Do you think Navarrete is your biggest test?
Nova: On paper, he is my biggest test. I can't give you a complete answer until I fight him. Styles make fights. He can be a walk in the park for me. Or he can be the toughest fight I've ever had. Of course, the critics are going to talk; they don't know me. They think Navarrete is this big monster and that he will destroy me. I can't get mad at them for believing that. Navarrete has proven himself. I still have to prove myself. This is my opportunity to prove myself and prove the world wrong. I'll take all the negative comments and the negative energy. That just fuels me, I know what I can do, and I'm going to prove it to the world.
The rounds won't affect me. I've been ten rounds; two rounds won't affect me. I'm in great shape. You've seen my fights; I ain't breathing hard. I spar 12-14 rounds and feel like that's all a mental aspect. Who knows, that fight probably won't go 12 rounds. As long as I go in there and win rounds, I'm ok.
Abraham Nova answered the questions candidly and passionately with a fire in his eyes and a hope that Navarrete would sign the contract. At this point in the interview, I transitioned to some lighter questions.
JR: We at NYFights often do an article called who won the weekend and my colleague Gayle Falkenthal said that you and your mascot won the weekend. But she had questions. Mainly, who came up with the idea, and who is in the costume?
AN: The idea of the mascot was mine and my team's. It came from me wanting to bring a different idea into boxing. If you've seen my previous fights, I always rocked Jersey's with the number 22. I feel like they have numbers in football, basketball, and soccer. In boxing, there aren't any numbers. So, I said, let me bring numbers into boxing. But then I wanted to add something more to it because people weren't getting the picture. They have cheerleaders and mascots in all the other sports, so I said, “let's get a mascot.” We first wanted to go with an animal theme but then decided that the mascot would be me. I am my biggest fan; I believe in myself like no one else believes in me. So, I said, let's get a mascot of myself.
Who is inside the Mascot? It's Super-Nova! It's me! If you want to know who he is, his first name is Super, and his last name is Nova.
JR: You're from Carolina, Puerto Rico. Roberto Clemente is from Carolina, an icon and national hero to Puerto Ricans. Since the retirement of Miguel Cotto, Puerto Rican boxers, even some of whom have become champions, have failed to capture the kind of aura and dominance of national icons like Cotto and Felix Trinidad. Do you think you can fill that void and become the next Puerto Rican boxing superstar?
AN: I know I'm going to be that guy if I get this fight. I'm a fight away from getting that recognition. You've already seen this guy beat a Puerto Rican fighter. He beat “Pitufo .” And I feel like I'm going to be the fighter to come and redeem not only “Pitufo” but all of Puerto Rico. And I'm going to show that when Mexico and Puerto Rico go, Puerto Rico will always be on top.
JR: I give you the last word. What do you want to say to Navarrete?
AN: Navarrete, let's make this fight happen. I know the business part of it is a bit of a struggle. You're getting paid! You're getting your money! There is no one else for you to fight! So let's make this fight happen. Sign the contract, and let's get it on! Anywhere you want it, we can fight!
Abraham “Super” Nova is an exciting fighter who possesses a diverse array of skills to become a world champion. He's not only an excellent fighter, but he is also very good at self-promoting himself, which has recently increased his popularity within the sport of boxing. During most post-fight interviews, you often hear boxers say they must consult with their management team before they make any decision on who their next opponent is going to be. Not Abraham Nova! Today, boxing fans rarely hear fighters calling each other out and seeking tough fights. Therefore, it is refreshing to see a top-rated contender like Abraham Nova emphatically calling out whom many consider a “monster” in the Featherweight Division.
However, if everything Nova says about the negotiations is true, why hasn't Navarrete signed the contract? Is it true what Nova said, “I'm a high-risk fighter that produces little reward for Navarrete?” Or are there some other factors that have Navarrete reluctant to take this fight? Only time will tell. In the meantime, Nova patiently waits for his shot at a world title while Navarrete ponders his next move. “Becoming a world champion is the only thing on my mind. I want to become a world champion, and I'll do anything in my power to make that dream come true,” it's as simple as that for Abraham “Super” Nova.