ALBERT Pagara finally settled in San Francisco two weeks before taking on the toughest test of his promising career.
But before leaving the famed Wild Card gym in Los Angeles that has been his home for almost two months, Pagara received some encouraging words from the gym's famous owner.
Hall of Fame trainer Freddie Roach vocally declared the unbeaten Pagara one of the best Filipino fighters in the world right now, morale-boosting words for the 22-year-old warrior leading to his super-bantamweight fight against Cesar Juarez of Mexico on July 9 at the San Mateo Event Center in San Francisco.
“I think he may be a future champion,” said Roach, trainer of the retired legendary boxer Manny Pacquiao, who managed to observe Pagara in training daily at the gym.
Pagara is unbeaten in 26 fights, with 18 via KOs. He is currently ranked no. 2 by the World Boxing Organization (WBO) and holds the WBO Intercontinental jr. bantamweight belt.
But Juarez could yet prove to be the biggest challenge so far for the Filipino.
The Mexican (17-5, 13 KOs) is just two years older than Pagara and was the one who gave reigning WBO super-bantamweight champion Nonito Donaire Jr. a tough fight last December before losing via unanimous decision.
Pagara’s brother, Jason, will co-headline the fight card of Pinoy Pride 37: Fists of the Future as he battles Mexican Abraham Alvarez in a 10-round light-welterweight match.