Band of brothers

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Tuesday, June 3, 2014

BROTHERS Jason and Albert Pagara are in a crucial moment of their budding careers as they both headline the 26th installment of the successful Pinoy Pride boxing series in fights that could mold their future in the sport.

“Jason is one of the guys being talked about for years. This fight will prove if he has it or not. This fight will dictate his future,” ALA Promotions president Michael Aldeguer said in yesterday's official launching of Pinoy Pride 26 - “Fists of the Future” at the St. Mark Hotel. “Albert was one of the highly-regarded amateurs. This is the test that he has been waiting for.”

Jason is defending his World Boxing Organization (WBO) International light welterweight title against heavy-handed Mexican Mario Meraz in main event, while Albert will have his stiffest test to date against World Boxing Council (WBC) No. 14 bantamweight Hugo Partida for the vacant International Boxing Federation (IBF) Intercontinental super bantamweight strap on June 21 at the Waterfront Hotel and


Jason has seen his fair share of Mexicans, and Mexicans are always tough opponents. But he is certain that he will hurdle this test with flying colors.

“I believe I can beat him 100 percent. I have studied his style. Expect a knockout in this fight,” said a confident Jason, who is fighting in the 140-pound division.

Jason has won six in a row since losing to Mexican Rosbel Montoya in 2011. He has a record of 33-2 with 20 knockouts.

Meraz, on the other hand, is on a five-fight winning streak and has a 20-3 slate including 16 knockouts.

Fighting alongside his older brother is added inspiration for the unbeaten Albert, who is facing his first Mexican opponent and his first 12-round title fight.

“I'm very happy that I will fight alongside my brother. This is an important fight for me. I'm focused in my training, sparring and my conditioning,” said the 20-year-old younger Pagara.

Albert, so far, has lived up to his hype, winning all his pro fights. He is 20-0 with 14 knockouts.

Meanwhile, the 26-year-old Partida, who has fought former world champion Akifumi Shimoda, is 21-4-2 with 16 knockouts.

In one of the featured bouts in the undercard, two-time former world title challenger AJ “Bazooka” Banal (30-2-1, 21 KOs) returns from a long layoff to face hard-hitting Indonesian prospect Defry Palulu (10-0, 9 KOs).

With the new conditioning program set up by American conditioning coach Nick Curson, a new and improved Banal is expected.

“You will be surprised,” said the 25-year-old Cebuano. “This serves as a comeback fight because I have not fought for a long time.

Banal last fought in November, in which he scored a one-sided unanimous decision over Mexican Manuel Gonzalez Garcia.

Also seeing action in the undercard is wily veteran Jimrex Jaca (39-7-3, 22 KOs), who is facing battle-scarred Japanese Masayoshi Kotake (9-8-1, 5 KOs) in a eight-rounder.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on June 04, 2014.


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