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Abraham Nova Sparred With Teofimo Lopez, Jamaine Ortiz; Says ‘It’s Really A 50-50 Fight’


Few fighters are as familiar as Abraham Nova with both Teofimo Lopez and Jamaine Ortiz.

Nova was Lopez’s primary sparring partner prior to the former unified lightweight champion’s victories over Richard Commey and Masayoshi Nakatani. The junior lightweight contender has also sparred numerous times with Ortiz, including 36 rounds recently as Ortiz prepared to challenge Lopez on Thursday night in Las Vegas for the WBO junior welterweight title.

Nova has high opinions of Ortiz (17-1-1, 8 KOs) and Lopez (19-1, 13 KOs) and could see either fighter emerging victorious from a 12-round main event ESPN will televise from Mandalay Bay Resort and

 Casino’s Michelob ULTRA Arena.

“It’s an interesting fight,” Nova told BoxingScene.com. “They both have different styles. It’s all who’s gonna execute their game plan better. Jamaine, he has his volume, his speed, his athleticism, you know, his conditioning. And then Lopez is just a freak of nature. He’s powerful, he’s athletic, he has experience.

“Whoever fights their fight the best wins that night. For me, it’s really a 50-50 fight. You know, I respect both fighters. I wanna root for Lopez and I wanna root for Jamaine, but if I put my emotions to the side I don’t know who to pick because I’ve been in the ring with both of them. So, it’s a 50-50 fight. I can’t give a winner.”

The 30-year-old Nova is preparing for his own title fight – a shot at WBC super featherweight champ O’Shaquie Foster on February 16 in The Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York. ESPN will also air the 12-round bout between Foster (21-2, 12 KOs), of Orange, Texas, and Nova (23-1, 16 KOs), an Albany, New York native, as the main event of a doubleheader a week from Friday night.

Nova, who split a pair of amateur fights with Ortiz in 2015, noticed a determined version of the Worcester, Massachusetts native during this recent training camp.

“Jamaine, he’s explosive, he’s fast and he’s in shape,” Nova said. “He’s sparring 12, 15 rounds, with three, four different dudes in there. He’s ready to go. … Jamaine is in dog shape. I’ve never seen nobody in such great shape like him, and I’ve been in boxing my whole life.”

Nova’s indecisiveness notwithstanding, DraftKings sportsbook lists Lopez as a 7-1 favorite over Ortiz. Las Vegas’ Lopez will make his first defense of the WBO 140-pound championship he won from Scottish southpaw Josh Taylor (19-1, 13 KOs) on June 10 in New York.

ESPN will televise Lopez-Ortiz as the 12-round main event of a doubleheader Thursday night. The network’s doubleheader is scheduled to start at 10:30 p.m. ET (7:30 p.m. PT), when lightweights Keyshawn Davis (9-0, 6 KOs, 1 NC), of Norfolk, Virginia, and Jose Pedraza (29-5-1, 14 KOs), of Cidra, Puerto Rico, will square off in a 10-rounder.

Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.

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