Flash Elorde: Greatest Pinoy boxer
March 4, 2008 7:50pm

The greatest Filipino boxer of all time - Gabriel "Flash" Elorde - would be turning 73 years old on March 22 had he not succumbed to lung cancer on January 2, 1985.

Elorde, who had an 88-27-2 win-loss-draw card, in a career that spanned more than a decade, failed in his fight against his own chain-smoking and threw in the towel almost two months before he turned 50. He died of lung cancer.

In commemorating the life of the Filipino legend, the Elorde family will hold the annual Elorde Boxing Week at the Elorde Sports Center in Paranaque this week.

According to the International Boxing Hall of Fame (www.ibhof.com, Elorde is not only the best fighter to ever come out of the Philippines but also from the Asia-Pacific region.

Elorde is one of two Filipino fighers, along with Pancho Villa, to have been elevated in the New York-based IBHOF. He was then classified as a junior lightweight (the equivalent now of super featherweight in the World Boxing Council).

Elorde, according to the website, fought every year from 1952 to 1967. Bai, as Elorde was known to friends and fans, fought in national, regional, and world title bouts.

The Cebu-raised Elorde turned pro in 1951 at the age of 16. His first 11 fights were all in Cebu. He won 10 of the bouts but absorbed a KO in his only defeat there.

The next year, Elorde won the national bantamweight title in Manila. After this, he went to Tokyo, where he won the Oriental bantamweight crown via 12-round decision over Hiroshi Horiguchi.

In 1953, he failed in his campaign to win the national featherweight title, bowing in a 12-round fight against Larry Bataan in Manila. He also lost in his following fight against Japanese junior lightweight champ Masashi Akiyama in Tokyo.

The following year started bleakly for Elorde as he absorbed a 12-round defeat against Shigeji Kaneko in their Oriental 126-pound belt.

But Elorde did not give up and won over Tommy Romulo in Manila for the Philippines junior lightweight crown.

In his next fight Elorde surprised a lot of pundits when in 1955 he outpointed featherweight king Sandy Saddler over 10 rounds in a non-title fight in Manila.

That victory gave Elorde a world ranking and opened the door for him to fight in international matches.

Elorde went to San Francisco in January 1956 for a rematch with Saddler, this with a title a stake, and Elorde gave everything he could against Saddler. A cut over Elorde's eyes, however, forced the bout to be stopped in the 13th round, but he was still ahead in the judges' cards.

There was no world title bouts for Elorde after that. He maintained his ranked contender status and won national and regional titles as a lightweight.

But in a March 1960 bout, he pocketed the world junior lightweight title with a seventh-round stoppage of Harold Gomes in Quezon City.

During the next eight years, he was the most sought after boxer in his weight division, and he successfully defended his title 10 times, although he twice lost to in his bid to win the lightweight belt from Puerto Rican Carloz Ortiz.

Elorde's reign began to fade in 1966, starting with his loss of his Oriental lightweight title to Yoshiaki Numata in 12-round verdict.

The following year, Numata also took Elorde's world 130-pound crown with a 15-round points decision.

After this, Elorder went into semi-retirement before climbing back up the ring and winning six of last 10 matches.

He retired afterwards and pursued a boxing promoter career until his death. - GMANews.TV


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