IT wasn’t too long ago when Jason Pagara was considered as one of the most promising fighters in this side of the world. At one point he was one of the top contenders in his weight division and even caught the eye of Top Rank, who considered signing him up.
But after a layoff and a disappointing performance in his last fight, Pagara has somehow slipped and is in dire need of a convincing win to return to where he used to be.
And he has that chance to redeem himself as he takes on unbeaten world-ranked Japanese Hiroki Okada for the vacant World Boxing Organization (WBO) Asia-Pacific junior welterweight crown on Dec. 19 at the Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, Japan.
“I’m ready to rumble. I will do my best in this fight to become a champion,” Pagara told SunStar Cebu. “I think I can beat him. I will pray to God and I will show ALA Promotions that I can still become a world champion.”
After taking a break for close to a year, Pagara returned last Sept. 9 and fought last-minute replacement James Onyango. It was supposed to be a fight that he would easily win, but after dropping Onyango twice, the visiting Kenyan rallied in the later rounds and forced a split draw.
“This will be a make-or-break fight for him after a terrible performance the last time. He has to train harder and stay focused this time as his career might be in limbo if he loses,” said ALA Promotions president Michael Aldeguer.
A win over Okada should be a huge boost for Pagara because the unbeaten Okada, 16-0 with 11 knockouts, is ranked in three of the four major boxing sanctioning bodies—No. 9 in WBO, No. 7 in WBA and NO. 11 in WBC.
Pagara, 40-2-1 with 25 knockouts, said that he has had a great training camp so far, and has sparred with the likes of Arjan Canillas and Jovanie Sultan.
“I’ll show the ‘El Niño’ Pagara of old. I’m doing this for my family. No boxing, no life.” (EKA)