By NICK GIONGCO
Prince Albert Pagara found Mexican Cesar Juarez a tough nut to crack yesterday as the promising Filipino absorbed a stinging eighth-round stoppage in their scheduled 12-round match at the San Mateo Events Center in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Juarez, who gave the more established Nonito Donaire Jr. a taste of hell late last year before losing a split decision, smothered Pagara with a barrage of power blows early in the eighth, sending the Cebu-based fighter down.
Pagara had Juarez down in the first round after landing a counter left hook but could not find the right combo to stop him from coming forward.
As the fight wore on, Juarez began to pin Pagara on the ropes, often throwing and connecting with debilitating blows.
Although Pagara appeared to have weathered the onslaught, there was a telling incident at the end of the seventh round that convinced Juarez that his foe was ripe for the kill.
After taking a flurry of punches late in the seventh, Pagara walked back to his corner weak and wobbly and Juarez didn’t waste time and came out smoking at the start of the eighth canto.
Fifteen seconds later it was all over for Pagara, who was so battered and exhausted that he had to be taken out of the ring on a stretcher for precautionary measures.
Pagara was brought to a local hospital for examination and a brain scan was scheduled to be done although the fallen fighter was conscious and aware of what’s happening.
The Pagara-Juarez showdown was the headliner of the card dubbed Pinoy Pride 37: Fists of the Future by ALA Boxing and ABS-CBN.
The loss was the first for Pagara, who dropped his record to 26-1 with 18 KOS, while the victory raised Juarez’s slate to 18-5 with 14 KOs.
Immediately after the fight, Juarez dared Donaire, who did the color commentary for ABS-CBN, to a rematch.
Donaire readily agreed but it would all depend on the promoters if a second meeting will take place.