CEBU CITY, Philippines- The Pagara brothers Jason and Albert made it a clean sweep at Pinoy Pride 26 as both stopped their Mexican opponents on Saturday, June 21 at the Waterfront Hotel in Cebu, Philippines. It was the first time the brothers from Cagayan de Oro had co-headlined an event and they ensured it would be a night to remember for both.
In the main event, the elder brother Jason Pagara (34-2, 21 knockouts) scored a fourth-round technical knockout of Mario Meraz (20-4, 16 KOs) in a junior welterweight bout, while younger brother Albert Pagara (21-0, 15 KOs) needed little more than a minute to stop Hugo Partida (21-5-2, 16 KOs) in a junior featherweight fight.
Jason Pagara, 25, wasted no time in attacking Meraz as soon as the bell rang in the first round. Pagara would pay early by getting caught with counter left hooks before a well-timed left hook of his own made Meraz’s glove touch the canvas for a knockdown. Both fighters traded shots in the center of the ring and had their moments in round two but it was Pagara who landed cleaner shots as his right hand started to find its target.
Pagara and Meraz picked up where they left of as both traded hard shots and stunned each other in round three. Meraz was landing counter shots and combinations from both hands while Pagara landed a clean left hook up top that backed Meraz to the ropes.
Another Pagara left hook on the head left Meraz open for repeated right hands in round 4. Pagara pummeled the challenger but Meraz somehow weathered the storm. As they exchange, Meraz was able to hurt Pagara with a combination that briefly stopped the champion’s momentum.
Pagara fought back, landing yet again another left hook that backed Meraz on the ropes. Pagara poured it on, snapping Meraz’s head back numerous times before sending him to the canvas. Meraz seemed to have recovered as he rose up but referee Danrex Tapdasan waved the fight off at the 2:59 mark.
Albert Pagara’s night was significantly less complicated. The 20-year-old Pagara needed just 1:18 to knock his foe down three times to earn a TKO win. Albert Pagara started the fight with jabs and was able to rattle Partida with the first right straight he landed. Eager to hurt Partida after a heated weigh-in on Friday, Albert continued to attack. A left hook-right straight combination sent the Mexican to the canvas for the first time.
Eager to impress, Albert continued his assault. A barrage of hard combinations saw Partida sitting on the ropes which referee Bruce McTavish called for another knockdown. Partida would beat the count once more, but a hard left hook to the chin sent him flying to the canvas for the third official knockdown. McTavish had seen enough and stopped the fight.
Their father’s sons
The brothers have been around boxing since they could remember. The two are walking in the same path of their father, who himself is a former boxer.
Combined, the Pagaras boast 490 amateur fights and a 53-2 (34 KOs) professional record. Both started to box at the young age of 8-years-old, Jason had 90 amateur fights and decided to go professional at 15-years-old. Albert was an amateur standout with 400 fights who turned professional at 16.
“My brother Albert is a talented boxer. He won gold medals as an amateur,” said Jason. “[He’s going places as a professional] because he’s already been molded in the amateurs.”
Boxing wasn’t Albert’s first love, however.
“I was into basketball when I was around 7 but my father got upset and told me to do boxing instead,” said Albert Pagara, who looks up to his brother Jason as his idol. “My brother (Jason) came home one day with a belt; that inspired and made me pursue boxing.”
Jason Pagara may be the first brother to receive his first step-up bout, as he is ranked no. 4 by the Puerto Rico-based sanctioning body the World Boxing Organization (WBO). Given a chance, he hopes to test his mettle against former lightweight world champion Brandon Rios or any of the big names at 140 in the future.
“I like facing guys like Brandon Rios because he’s a fighter who comes forward a lot. I see his technique and it’s a fight that I want though I have no problem in fighting the big names [at 140 pounds] like Lucas Matthysse and Danny Garcia,” says Pagara.
Banal wins 3rd straight
In undercard action, former world title contender AJ Banal climbed off the canvas in the first round to score a second round knockout of previously Indonesian Defry Palulu.
The fight saw Banal (31-2-1, 22 KOs) making a trip to the canvas from a left hand in the opening seconds of round one. Banal bravely fought back until the second round, when a well timed left cross to Palulu’s rib followed by vicious body shots sent Palulu (10-1, 9 KOs) crumpling in pain on the canvas where he was eventually counted out at the 2:59 mark.
It was Banal’s third straight win since losing to Pungluang Sor Singyu in 2012. – Rappler.com
JM Siasat is a sports journalist based in Manila, Philippines. He can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @jmsiasat.
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