Saturday, February 16, 2019

Make or break

FROM here on, it’s make or break for both promising pugs Jason Pagara and Genesis Servania, if they ever intend on contending for a world title.

A win could line them up for world title shots soon, while a loss would bring drop them down on the championship ladder.

“It is always crucial when they are up against fighters that have nothing to lose and everything to gain,” ALA Promotions president Michael Aldeguer said in yesterday’s launching of Pinoy Pride 29 – “Fist of Fury” at the Rajah Park Hotel.

Pagara co-headlines the event with Servania on Feb. 7 at the University of Southeastern Philippines (USEP) Gym in Davao City.

Pagara defends his World Boxing Organization (WBO) International light welterweight crown against Cesar Chavez, while Servania defends his WBO Inter-Continental super bantamweight strap against Juan Luis Hernandez.

“Every fight is significant for Jason. He is in a very formidable division. A fight against a Mexican like Chavez is always a big test for him. If he does well against Chavez, then he will be campaigning in the US and fighting big names out there,” said Aldeguer.

Pagara, rated No. 4 in the WBO, is eager for a world title shot after waiting patiently for years.

“I will fight anybody, anytime,” said the 26-year-old Pagara. “I’m really ready to fight for a world title.”

Pagara doesn’t care who he fights for a world title. One of the names that he mentioned is World Boxing Association light welterweight champion Jessie Vargas. He is also willing to fight either of the two fighters rated above him in the WBO rankings – former Manny Pacquiao opponent Chris Algieri and Pacquiao sparring partner Ruslan Provodnikov. The WBO light welterweight belt is currently vacant.

Pagara is 34-2 with 21 knockouts, while the 27-year-old Chavez is 23-7 with 11 knockouts.

Servania had a banner year in 2014 with stoppage wins over former world champion Alexander Muñoz and ex-world title contender Jose Cabrera, which earned him WBO Inter-Continental Fighter of the Year honors.

“I’m ready to fight for a world title. I’m just waiting for my time,” said Servania.

The 23-year-old Servania is the mandatory challenger in the WBO super bantamweight division, wherein one of the most elusive fighters in the world title today, Guillermo Rigondeaux, currently holds the crown.

“He’s No. 1 right now. We all know that Rigondeaux is the champion. We are open about fighting Rigondeaux. It’s a tough fight but I think he has a chance. However, we are also open about fighting in other divisions,” said Aldeguer.

Servania is unbeaten with a 25-0 record including 11 knockouts, while Hernandez is 17-3-1 with nine knockouts.

Two other bright prospects from the ALA Gym are also in important fights in the undercard.

Arthur Villanueva (26-0, 14 KOs), rated highly in the super flyweight division, and Mark Magsayo (9-0, 7 KOs) are slated in the undercard against yet-to-be-determined opponents.

Villanueva is on the brink of a world title shot himself. He is rated No. 1 in the WBO, No. 3 in the International Boxing Federation, No. 7 in the World Boxing Association and 12th in the World Boxing Council. Magsayo, on the other hand, is slated for his US debut after this fight in a small event promoted by ALA Promotions in San Francisco, California.

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