Pinoy Pride 39 marks the start of Albert Pagara's road to redemption
Santino Honasan on Nov 25, 2016 12:52 PM
"Pag nagte-training ako, pinapasok ko sa utak ko na hindi na ako matatalo."
The last time that we saw "Prince" Albert Pagara, he tasted his first career loss at the hands of rock-solid contender Cesar Juarez at Pinoy Pride 37 in California.
At the time, Pagara was 26-0 and was being primed to be one of ALA Boxing's next big stars, along with Mark Magsayo.
Unfortunately for the Maasin, Southern Leyte native, Juarez had other plans.
The first loss is always tough to swallow, especially for someone like Pagara, who went unbeaten for over five years. The first step to recovery is always acceptance, and "Prince Albert" has come to terms with the devastating TKO loss.
"Talo talaga tayo, kasi natamaan tayo." Pagara told ABS-CBN Sports. "Masyado akong agresibo talaga, parang in-underestimate ko talaga siya and then parang wala akong ibang nakikita doon sa taas ng ring, gusto ko lang yung knockout talaga."
According to Pagara, it was Juarez's heart that shocked him the most, saying that he couldn't understand how the former title contender kept coming and coming, round after round, even after getting knocked down in the first round.
"Sa third round nagulat talaga ako nun, kasi kahit napabagsak ko siya nung first round, nung second round and third round, parang siya parin, tatayo parin siya. Ganyan talaga yung mga Mexicano."
The next step for Pagara was to get his confidence back, and he admitted that after the fight, he had thought of walking away from the sport, a common reaction to a first loss.
"Nawalan ako ng gana sa boxing kasi yung first loss talaga, masakit, pero siyempre ganun talaga."
Albert added that it was his family who convinced him to get back in the ring.
"Yung pamilya ko talaga, sabi nila ‘Albert, balik ka sa boxing, wag ka magretiro kasi bata ka pa, 22 years old ka pa lang magretetiro ka na? Si Manny Pacquiao nga o, tignan mo, ang tanda na, hindi pa nagreretiro."
The Pagara family has a point. At just 22 years old and just one loss, this should hardly be something that completely derails Prince Albert's young career.
All the greats have found themselves at the wrong end of the official decision, and they've all used it as motivation to come back better and stronger. The same goes for Pagara, who chooses to see the loss as a learning experience.
"Lesson talaga yun kasi first time kong matalo."
The most important step is to address the mistakes of the past to ensure success in the future, and aside from the technicals, Pagara says that he's learned never to underestimate his opponents again.
The final step is to get back in the gym and put in the work.
"Focused na talaga ako sa boxing, kahit Linggo, nagte-training na ako. Nung wala pa akong talo, hindi ako nagte-training pag Linggo. Pag nagte-training ako, pinapasok ko sa utak ko na hindi na ako matatalo."
Now, nearly five months removed from what could be considered as the worst night of Pagara's boxing life, the bleach-blonde bomber is ready to step back into the ring and claim redemption.
"Prince" Albert Pagara makes his return against Ghana's Raymond Commey at Pinoy Pride 39: Road to Redemption on Saturday, November 26 at the Cebu Coliseum. Catch the telecast on Sunday, November 27, 3:30 PM on ABS-CBN channel 2 and 6:30 PM on ABS-CBN S+A channel 23.