CEBU CITY – Rising stars Albert Pagara and Mark Magsayo vow to put up a show as the two unbeaten warriors face the biggest challenge of their respective careers on Saturday night.
Pagara will be up against Nicaraguan bantamweight champion Yesner Talavera in the main bout of ‘Pinoy Pride 35’ at the Waterfront Cebu City Hotel and Casino here, hoping to keep his winning streak going and continue his rise for a possible shot at a world title.
Magsayo, meanwhile, takes on Eduardo Montoya of Mexico as he bids for a win that could serve as a ticket for his inclusion as undercard in Nonito Donaire’s title defense of his World Boxing Organization (WBO) super-bantamweight crown in April.
“Bakbakan talaga ito,” said Pagara (25-0, 18 KOs), who is currently rated No. 3 by the International Boxing Federation (IBF). “Mag-adjust ako kung anuman ang style na dalhin niya sa ring.”
Pagara already introduced himself to the rich US boxing market last year following his impressive sixth-round stoppage of William Gonzales in StubHub Center in Carson, California to win the vacant WBO Intercontinental Jr. featherweight title.
But out to spoil the plans of ALA Boxing Promotions for the pride of Maasin, Leyte, is Talavera (15-3-1, 4 KOs), who is bidding to become the first fighter to inflict a loss on Pagara.
One thing going for Talavera is the presence of two-time world champion Rosendo Alvarez, who will man the corner of the Nicaraguan during the 12-round match presented by ALA Promotions and ABS-CBN Sports.
Pagara tipped in at 120 lbs, while Talavera came in at 121.5 lbs. in Friday’s official weigh-in at the Robinson’s Galleria here.
Like Pagara, Magsayo, the reigning WBO Youth featherweight title holder, is also undefeated in 12 fights (10 KOs) and looks to add Montoya to his list of victims.
Although no official deal has been made, Magsayo is aware a good showing against his Mexican opponent could yet serve as his meal ticket to the fight card to be headlined by Donaire this April.
“Hindi pa naman finalized, kailangan ko munang lagpasan ito,” said the soft-spoken boxer, who weighed in at 125 lbs. like Montoya. “Pero siyempre, maganda talagang mapasama sa undercard ni Donaire.”
Should the opportunity arise, Magsayo said he’ll definitely go for a knockout.
“Kung may makitang pagkakataon, i-knockout agad natin,” he said.
Six fights make up the undercard of the latest edition of the popular boxing series, including one featuring former world minimumweight champion Florante Condes (27-9, 23 KOs).
Condes will be up against Melvin Jerusalem of Bukidnon.