Abraham Nova has a new opponent in Avery Sparrow for his co-feature on the Top Rank Boxing on ESPN card on June 25 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas — assuming that the paperwork is completed.
Nova was initially scheduled to fight Toka Kahn Clary in a 10-round bout at a contract weight of 132 pounds on the undercard of the bantamweight bout between Australian contender Jason Moloney (20-1, 17 KOs) and former junior featherweight world title challenger Oscar Negrete (19-2-2, 7 KOs).
However, Kahn Clary (27-2, 18 KOs), 27, of Providence, Rhode Island, pulled out of the fight on Thursday night for unexplained reasons, although he is not injured. That left Top Rank matchmaker Brad “Abdul” Goodman on the hunt for a new foe for Nova to face. He found him in Sparrow.
“It’s verbally agreed to,” Goodman told BoxingScene on Sunday. “I think (Kahn Clary) and Sparrow are both tough opponents but to Nova’s credit, he knows what’s at stake being in the semi-main event with the exposure he will be getting on ESPN. Nova knows that he has to fight a capable guy. And you know what? Nova has never turned down one guy yet. He’s willing to fight any champion also.”
Nova (18-0, 14 KOs), 26, who was born in Puerto Rico to Dominican parents and moved to Albany, New York, as a youngster, will be in his second fight since signing with Top Rank, which co-promotes him with Murphys Boxing, in December.
“We expect it to be a tough test for Nova,” manager David McWater of Split-T Management told BoxingScene. “Sparrow is the bigger guy and is a very talented fighter who would be a contender if not for his outside of boxing issues.”
Russell Peltz, Sparrow’s promoter, confirmed that the fight has been agreed to.
“I’ll have the paperwork back (on Monday) but I have to work out a deal with Golden Boy because Sparrow owes them $15,000 because of the two fights that he was supposed to have with them that didn’t happen,” Peltz said.
Peltz said he has been in touch with Golden Boy and did not believe there would be an issue getting that aspect of the deal finalized. Sparrow (10-1, 3 KOs), 26, was supposed to fight rising lightweight star Ryan Garcia last Sept. 14 on a Golden Boy card on DAZN at the Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California. However, the bout was canceled the day before when Sparrow was arrested in a nearby Target parking lot due to an outstanding warrant because of a gun charge in his hometown of Philadelphia.
Another fight that Sparrow was supposed to have on a Golden Boy card was called off because Sparrow could not make weight, according to Peltz.
Sparrow has not fought since coming off a one-year layoff to win a 10-round majority decision over Philadelphia rival Hank Lundy in March 2019. Peltz said he didn’t think this latest year-plus layoff would be a problem for Sparrow.
“You look at his record and it seems like these layoffs don’t seem to bother Avery Sparrow,” Peltz said. “He fights every year, year-and-a-half. He came off a year layoff and he beat Hank Lundy. He’s not interested in tune-up fights, so this fight with Nova is like a perfect fight for him. He has seen Nova. He says Nova is a solid guy but not unbeatable. Sparrow just wants to get back in ring.”
In the event that Peltz and Golden Boy can’t finalize their end of the deal or Sparrow has any other issues, Goodman said he has “other guys on hold” to step in to face Nova.
Dan Rafael was ESPN.com’s senior boxing writer for fifteen years, and covered the sport for five years at USA Today. He was the 2013 BWAA Nat Fleischer Award winner for excellence in boxing journalism.