Jacqueline Nava Mouett, known in the boxing world as Jackie “The Aztec Princess” Nava, is an extraordinary woman. Although not officially retired from boxing, she has embarked in a new journey in her life as a member of the Mexican congress representing the district where she grew up in Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico.
Her last fight was in February of 2015 where she defended her WBC and WBA super bantamweight titles with a 6th round TKO over Argentinean Mayra Gomez. A champion in recess, politician, architect, daughter, mother to two beautiful daughters, wife and friend, one is overwhelmed just to think of everything she has on her plate.
She feels overwhelmed as well.
“Sometimes I do want to cry because I feel that I can’t deal with everything but it is part of it,” Nava says with a smile. “Part of pushing forward, part of the sacrifice you have to make. Right now I leave my daughters in Tijuana, I leave my husband, I go to work in Mexico City and I come back. I leave on Mondays and come back on Thursdays. For me it is very difficult leaving them especially my baby since I am still feeding her. It is not easy but I think there can be positive results. For me that is the reason for all of this. To look to make things better and to keep moving forward.”
Her daughters, Frida born in 2013 and Valentina born earlier this year, have been the only reason Nava has interrupted a 32-4-3, 14KO career which began in May of 2001 with a unanimous decision over Vicki Cozy in Honolulu, Hawaii. Nava was already known as a kickboxer in her native Tijuana as she studied at the local university her degree in architecture. When her trainer, Miguel Reyes, offered the boxing opportunity she took it. It’s been a quixotic blueprint of how she and her family would navigate their lives.
“The truth is, opportunities come up. I didn’t know I was going to be professional boxer. I knew I was going to be an architect because that is what I wanted to study, but I didn’t know I was going to be a representative. I take the opportunities that come up,” she said.
Right there next to her, ever since they met training in the gym is her husband and co-trainer Miguel Mendoza, a fellow architect and former kick boxer as well, is known as the man behind the woman.
“I have always tried to support her in everything, in every moment, with any of her decisions but in reality I only thought in supporting her when the offer was presented,” said Mendoza. “It has been hard to get used to, to adapt ourselves to this new rhythm of life. It was something we had not experienced before but we are pushing ahead.”
Nava assumed her post as one of nearly three hundred representatives of their particular districts in Congress in the summer of 2015.
“I could have been asked three years ago if I wanted to participate in politics I would have said no. It was more because of the political party. I have always leaned toward the Partido Accion Nacional (National Action Party, the political outfit she is a member of in the Mexican government), my family as well,” Nava said. “What interested me more than anything was to within the party support some kind of sports program. The discipline, perseverance and hard work which I learned in sports is what has helped me get ahead. I suppose the reason the party was interested in me was because I was well known, I had an established career and I am also an architect.”
Since taking office the congresswoman has made her agenda known. With sports, Mexican kids and teenagers can learn what she did with hard work, discipline and perseverance. They, in turn, can reach heights not found with drugs, crime and other nefarious activities. Nava is part of several committees, all related to sports and/or the youth of the country.
“Now it has been about eight or nine months I have been a part of Congress and we have seen a lot of difficulties in being able to make changes,” she explained. “What I am interested in is for athletes not to have any problems trying to practice and compete in their respective sports. I want to find the support necessary for them not to worry about money but only about their sport. Also not to only worry about the top athletes but also on the ones that are beginning and need help, in their neighborhoods, in schools, there are many topics within the national sports program that need to be analyzed.”
The transition from world champion boxer to politician has not come without its obstacles or criticisms. Some months after her last defense in February of last year Nava announced her pregnancy of her second daughter, Valentina, which was around the time she joined congress. Soon near the end of her pregnancy and the end of last year reports began to surface where she was accused as one of the representatives with worst attendance in congress giving the impression that not only Nava was not doing her job but perhaps was in over her head.
“There have been some criticisms especially when I asked for maternity leave which I did under what the law dictates,” she clarified. “One thing that many people do not realize is that I was in Congress longer that I should have in relation to my pregnancy. I had to tell the airlines I had less time pregnant so they will let me fly and go to work. I was traveling well into my eighth month of pregnancy when I shouldn’t have. I asked for my maternity leave like any other employee, entailing forty-five days before the birth and forty-five after. In reality I only had about twenty days before. I know many people criticized it but I did things like I was supposed to.”
Always her support system, Mendoza gave her the sound advice she always expects from him.
“The only thing that I tell her is for her to do things the best she can like she has always done. To do things right, in an honest way and to always think of the people who voted her into that office,” Mendoza said. “The criticisms come and the people that talk is because they just don’t know the situation or they do know but they try to be a nuisance. I just tell her to do her work and for the work to speak for itself like always.”
As far as her life in the ring, Nava is indecisive. Her husband Mario is more decisive about what he would have wanted to happen.
“For me what I like the most is boxing. For me the best situation would be for her to keep boxing but in reality at the end it is her decision,” he said. “When she started I always told her we would go as long as she wanted. It is her decision if she is going to continue or retire.”
Her term in congress is for at least three years. She knows with her present schedule and her responsibilities at home, a focused camp in preparation for a bout is impossible but she has not closed the door in coming back.
“I don’t want to say I am retired from boxing but time will tell,” the thirty-six year old says hopefully. “Time will tell me what I will decide in the future. Maybe I will retire, maybe not. What I do want to do is to leave a mark, make some type of change. Not only be here to be here, for people to say that I just show up.”
One person that has noticed all Nava has done is former WBO flyweight champion Kenia Enriquez, also of Tijuana.
“She is an amazing woman. Everything she has wanted to do, she has achieved. She got to the top of her sport by being an athlete and being the best and not by selling herself as a sex symbol as many others have,” said Enriquez. “She is a professional, a mother and now a politician. I would consider myself lucky if I achieved half of what she has in my life. Her footsteps are ones I would definitely like to follow.”