Boxing’s Mexican Princess Proving She Still Has Something Left in the Tank
When it comes to women’s boxing, Claressa Shields calls herself the GWOAT. However, if there is a modern-day female boxing legend, that would be Jackie Nava (37-4-4, 16 KO’s). The 40-year-old from Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico began her professional career in May 2001. 2005 was a historic year for the woman known throughout Mexican boxing circles as “La Princesa Azteca”. February of that year saw her capture the vacant WBA Women’s World Bantamweight title by TKO’ing Martha Leticia Arevalo. Three months later, she defeated Leona Brown to win the inaugural vacant WBC Women’s World Bantamweight title.
She defended the WBC title twice before losing the belt to Alejandra Marina Oliveras in May 2006. It is the only time Nava has ever been stopped as a pro, but you can’t keep a good woman down. Moving up to junior featherweight, she became the women’s World WBC ‘Interim’ World champion in 2010.
In January of 2012, she dominated Chanttall Martinez to win the WBA women’s world title at 122-pounds. After three defenses, she defeated Sayda Mosquera to become the unified WBA/WBC women’s world champ in December 2014. After making one defense of the unified belts in February 2015, she took a two-year hiatus. Though no longer a world champion, the princess of Mexican boxing has kept up her winning ways. Nava has not lost since 2011.
Karina “La Bella” Fernandez (14-6-1, 3 KOs) is no slouch. The 30-year-old Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico, grew up watching Nava. Of her five previous defeats, three have come to either former or current world champions.
Nava and Fernandez headlined a Box Azteca card at the Grand Hotel in Tijuana, Mexico. It was a scheduled ten-round contest.
CLASH OF STYLES
This was a match of the skilled and smooth boxing Nava versus the aggressive Fernandez. With age and experience, Nava likes to study her opponents, then go to work. True to form, Hernandez started the fight on the attack. She was able to land with some shots and even marked the veteran up.
However, Nava is cool as a cucumber and slick as a whistle. She has seen it all and was never flustered. Whenever she got hit, she smiled in acknowledgment. What makes her so special is her craftsmanship. Her jab is as educated as any fighter in the sport, men or women. She popped Fernandez with that shot to the head and body.
A TRUE PROFESSIONAL
The former champ also still has great foot and upper body movement. When Fernandez would bore in, Nava would slip the punches then take a ½ step back at an angle to create room for counters.
When a fighter knows how to use their hands to distract, then suddenly shoot with 2, 3, 4 punch combinations, that’s old-school tactics. Nava did that to Fernandez early and often. Once the former champ got warmed up in the third and fourth rounds, the class and experience started to show. While ten years older, Nava also sported the faster hands and feet.
As the fight carried on, Nava began to dominate the middle and late rounds. She was having fun in there and doing what she wanted. In the end, she coasted to a comfortable unanimous decision (100-90, 99-91, 97-93) victory.
Where Nava goes from here is now the question. There has been an often-talked showdown against rival Mariana Juarez. However, on October 31, 2020, Juarez lost the WBC Women’s World Bantamweight title to Yulihan Alejandra Luna Avila. A Nava-Juarez matchup has now lost a lot of its luster.
Against Fernandez, Nava showed she still has it in her to make one last world title run. It will be interesting what will be the next move for the Mexican great.
By: Michael Wilson Jr.