Filipino boxers

After Paalam euphoria, Cagayan de Oro sports execs stunned by Pagara arrest

Lynde Salgados

EMBATTLED. Albert Pagara started his boxing career in Cagayan de Oro like Olympic silver winner Carlo Paalam.


‘He still has the potential to rise in the world of boxing. Now, if he is guilty, then he will be a champion behind bars,’ says national boxing team coach Elmer Pamisa of Albert Pagara

Cagayan de Oro Mayor Oscar Moreno and local sports program officials were stunned by the arrest of former WBO Intercontinental super bantamweight champion Albert Pagara in Cebu on child molestation charges on Wednesday night, September 1.

Before his rise to fame, Pagara trained under a local sports program in Cagayan de Oro along with Tokyo Olympics silver medalist Carlo Paalam.

“We’re really sad, especially the mayor (Moreno) who has been very supportive of Pagara’s career. Like Carlo Paalam, he (Pagara) started his boxing career here,” Cagayan de Oro sports chief Jaymar Rivera told Rappler.

Regarded as the “Prince” of Philippine boxing, Pagara allegedly molested a 14-year-old girl on Wednesday afternoon in Barangay Inayawan, Cebu City, where he has been living with his partner.

Police said Pagara admitted to having “touched” the minor while she was sleeping.

“Kon tinuod man ugaling lisod kaayo nga kaso unya minor ang complainant,” Rivera said.

(If this is true, it’s going to be a difficult case because the complainant is a minor.)

City hall spokesperson Maricel Casino-Rivera said Moreno was disheartened because he saw Pagara as “one of the fruits” of the local boxing program. She said he was so proud of Pagara’s feat that he would make time to watch the boxer’s every fight in Cebu when the ring fighter was still under the stable of the now defunct ALA Promotions.

National boxing team coach Elmer Pamisa, who handled Pagara for almost two years in the local amateur boxing program, said the case could ruin the boxer’s career.

Sayang (It’s unfortunate). He still has the potential to rise in the world of boxing. Now, if he is guilty, then he will be a champion behind bars,” said Pamisa.

The 27-year-old Pagara last fought on December 18, 2020, when he carved out a unanimous decision win over Virgil Puton in Mandaue City.

He lost the WBO title to Mexican fighter Cesar Juarez in 2016, but came back strong with a string of victories until the pandemic knocked out ALA Promotions.

The once-unbeaten Pagara has a record of 33 wins with 22 knockouts against one defeat.

His older brother Jason is also a professional boxer. 

The Pagaras, who trace their roots in Leyte, were once students of Misamis Oriental General Comprehensive High School (MOGCHS) in Cagayan de Oro City.

MOGCHS teacher and multi-titled Palarong Pambansa team coach Wenchito Teopiz recalled the days when he would show the Pagara siblings some tricks in the school gym.

“The Pagaras were good boys then and very obedient to their school mentors at MOGCHS,” said Teopiz. –

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