Cleat Geeks

Uppercuts & Count Outs

On the way up…

They say dynamite comes in small packages. Such is the case with up-and-coming Filipino boxer “Prince” Albert Pagara. Pagara is a super bantamweight who stands 5’6” and weighs just 122 lbs., but despite his small frame, Prince Albert has explosive power in both hands.

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Pagara is the type of boxer that fight fans get excited to watch. He loves to push the pace, and he throws every punch with bad intentions. He is an undefeated fighter who has won 18 of his 26 fights via knockout (69% knockout rate). Most of those knockouts were from his vicious right cross. Pagara is an orthodox boxer with a lot of power in his right hand, but don’t sleep on his left hook because he is more than capable of knocking opponents out with it as well.

He is also very skilled with his feet. He demonstrates excellent footwork inside the ropes, and his ring awareness allows him to cut the ring off at will. He tracks his opponents down and punishes them with a relentless onslaught of power punches throughout his fights.

Pagara’s colorful style and personality will also contribute to his rising stock as a future star. He has bleached blond hair that he styles differently for every fight. He wears bright colors, and he often taunts and smiles at his opponents during fights. That sort of flamboyance often helps to sell fights.

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Yes, fans absolutely love Pagara’s style of fighting, and it’s safe to say that his popularity will only continue to grow if he keeps doing what he’s been doing… winning.

Prince Albert hasn’t faced a lot of top notch competition so far in his career, but he has bestowed royal beatings on everyone he has been pitted against. The competition will be getting tougher soon because Pagara is no longer flying under the radar in his weight division.

Pagara definitely qualifies as a fighter on the rise because he is has only been fighting professionally for the last five years and he is only 22 years old. His career is still in its infancy, but he has already solidified himself as a legitimate world title contender in the eyes of every major boxing organization. Either this year or next, he’ll most likely be given a major title shot. In the meantime, let’s enjoy a few of Prince Albert’s highlights. Get your popcorn ready…

 

On the way out…

It’s time for Antonio “Magic Man” Tarver to POOF — disappear. Amazingly, he’s managed to win more than he’s lost recently, but that doesn’t mean he’s still a top fighter. He’s simply not at the top of his game anymore, and he never will be again.

When he was at the top of his game he was a darn good fighter. He won’t go down in boxing history as one of the best ever, but he’s had a solid career none the less. He’s won world titles at light heavyweight and cruiserweight, but he’ll probably be most remembered for beating the great Roy Jones, Jr. 2 out of 3 times.

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Of course, all of that was happening over 10 years ago. Since those glory days, fans have seen Tarver’s career go on a steady decline. He lost to Bernard Hopkins back in 2006, and then he dropped back to back fights against Chad Dawson in ’08 and ’09. His 2012 bout against Lateef Kayode ended in a draw, but it was later changed to a no contest because Tarver failed a post-fight drug test. Just last year the same thing happened again! His fight against Steve Cunningham ended in a draw, and then it was changed to a no contest because of yet another PED positive result. Even with the steroids, Tarver looked terrible in his last fight against Cunningham, which has led many experts to conclude that Tarver’s career has reached its terminus.

There are two main reasons that support this conclusion. Let’s begin with his last fight against Steve Cunningham. Cunningham is not a bad fighter, he’s a former cruiserweight titlist in his own right, but he’s not a top heavyweight at all. The fight went the distance and ended in a draw. Tarver looked tired throughout the fight. It’s doubtful that his stamina will improve going forward considering his age, which brings us to the second supporting reason.

The Magic Man is downright old. He’s 47 years old to be exact. Unless Tarver has access to the Fountain of Youth, his career’s gas tank has to be running on fumes. Tarver has a respectable professional record (31-6 [plus the two draws that were later changed to no contests]), but Father Time is undefeated.

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What’s tricky about evaluating Tarver at this point in his career is the fact that he hasn’t flat out lost a fight in almost seven years. Granted, he hasn’t faced a ton of great fighters over that span, but the fact that he keeps finding ways to not lose gives him reason to believe that he deserves a title shot in the future. In his own words:

Even if it takes to 50 years old for ‘them’ to recognize my greatness then so be it. I’m not going anywhere until the ‘game’ retires me. In all my years of boxing I’ve never been seriously rocked by a punch, amateur or pro. I’ve never been cut and never been on my back, so I don’t know why people feel I must be crazy to think I can win the heavyweight title.”

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The reason that people feel he must be crazy to think he can win the heavyweight title is because no one has ever won the title at his age. The oldest person to ever become heavyweight champion was George Forman when he won the belt back in 1994 at the age of 45. If Tarver somehow managed to get a title fight and win the heavyweight title, he would be making history. To put it bluntly, it’s not happening. Period. The Magic Man simply doesn’t have it in his bag of tricks at this point in his career. It’s time for him to hang ‘em up and walk away.

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