Whilst "Pinoy Pride 28" might have been about Donnie Nietes and historic achievements it's fair to say that several other fighters really shined on the undercard. One of those was Jomar Fajardo, who fought to a 10 round draw with Francisco Rodriguez Jr, whilst another was Albert Pagara (22-0, 15) who defended his IBF Inter-Continental Super Bantamweight title in very impressive fashion.
Pagara was stepping up massively to defend his title against tough Mexican Raul Hirales (22-4-1, 11) though made the fight look like a relative walk in the park with wonderfully sharp counter punching, exquisite timing and some of the crispiest uppercuts we've seen recently, uppercuts that landed time and time again on to the chin of the Mexican visitor. In round 3 things went from bad to worse for Hirales who was cut from a clash of heads and soon afterwards he was dropped as Pagara took advantage of Hirales's open defense and relative lack of speed.
At the end of round 4 it seemed that Hirales's best hopes were that the bout would end in a technical draw with his cut being a bad one. That however didn't happen and over the following rounds it was much of the same as Pagara did as he pleased and landed both powerful counter punches, crisp combinations and showed off world class ability.
The one thing that Hirales had going for him was his incredible chin and he really had to show that chin as he got tagged repeatedly with clean shots, one after another. Be it Pagara's jab or his uppercut they all landed crisply in what was one of the most impressive performances of Pagara's career.
Whilst we'll admit that Hirales isn't a world class fighter it does appear that Pagara is a world class prospect and this performance was as punch perfect as he could have hoped. He was dominant through out and looks ready for a big test. Whether that is an OPBF title fight, with Shingo Wake, a world title eliminator or even a world title fight it's fair to say it's going o be very hard to pick against Pagara after this sensational performance.
The one issue with Pagara is that he's only 20 and ALA will want to develop his skills and experience before stepping him up too much. The kid has "money" written all over him with his good looks, great style and sensational ability. Don't be shocked if he becomes the next star of the ALA stable and the man they base not just shows around but the entire direction of their promotional outfit.
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