Waiting game for Jason Pagara

Ryan Songalia
Waiting game for Jason Pagara
Jason Pagara will fight on the Milan Melindo-Hekki Budler card on September 16, but when he fights for a world championship is a matter to be decided

MANILA, Philippines – What’s known is that Jason Pagara will be on the Milan Melindo-Hekkie Budler IBF junior flyweight championship card on September 16. What isn’t yet certain is who he will be fighting.

The elder Pagara brother has not fought since last November, when he knocked out Jose Alfaro in the first round. Pagara (40-2, 25 knockouts) has won his last 13 fights against relatively pedestrian opposition, and will fight an opponent to be determined on the card at Waterfront Hotel and Casino in Cebu City, Philippines, ALA Promotions president Michael Aldeguer told Rappler.

An article on PhilBoxing last week pointed to Australian Terry Tzouramanis (18-3-3, 3 KOs) as a potential opponent, but Tzouramanis’ promoter, Peter Maniatis, says the 32-year-old is dealing with a swollen knuckle suffered in his 8-round decision win over Andrew Wallace on July 21, avenging a defeat he suffered in 2012.

Aldeguer said there had been no agreement yet on an opponent for Pagara.

Title ambitions

For several years, Pagara has remained the number one contender for the WBO junior welterweight title held by Terence Crawford, the pound-for-pound elite fighter who will unify his WBO and WBC titles with the WBA and IBF titles held by Julius Indongo on August 19, in Crawford’s hometown of Lincoln, Nebraska.

Aldeguer said he’s “waiting” to see what the winner does afterwards, and says he’s heard chatter of the unbeaten American moving up to welterweight afterwards, potentially to a fight against Manny Pacquiao or WBO welterweight titleholder Jeff Horn.

“He’s been number one for the longest time already. We’ve heard that, I think after Crawford will unify the title, there’s some talk that he’ll be going up to 147,” said Aldeguer.

“Crawford’s one of the best fighters so, whatever it is for Jason, there’s always a big chance if he’s given a chance to fight a great fighter in Crawford, then you have to do it.

“If it’s Crawford, but if not, and there’s a chance he’ll go up in weight, then we’ll do the vacant title.”

One fighter who could also figure into a vacant title fight is Maurice Hooker, an unbeaten American from Dallas, Texas, who is signed to RocNation. The 27-year-old Hooker (22-0-3, 16 KOs) is rated the number two contender with the WBO but would be a far more manageable assignment than Crawford. Hooker was widely thought to have been fortunate to receive a draw in his fight last November against former lightweight title challenger Darleys Perez on the first Andre Ward vs Sergey Kovalev fight undercard.

“Most probably, yes, that’s what we’re looking at,” said Aldeguer. “We’ve talked about that the past year already. Jason’s at the point where, if he gets big fights now and it’s not gonna be for a world title, then what’s the point? Right now we’re waiting for that move.” –

Update: Pagara has been dropped from the number one contender spot to number 3 in the latest WBO rankings, with unbeaten Antonio Orozco leaping from third to first.

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