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Friday, March 25, 2011

The Legend of Flash Elorde

Flash Elorde KO'd Harold Gomes
Today is the 76th Birth Anniversary (March 25) of Filipino boxing legend, Gabriel “Flash” Elorde.

About a year ago, I read an article about the boxing legend and it fittingly opened with the statement: “Before the Pacman, there was the Flash”.

Who is “Flash” Elorde?

Elorde was arguably the greatest Filipino boxer of the 20th Century and would have been the all time greatest if not because of the recent triumphs of his 21st Century counterpart, Manny “The Pacman” Pacquiao. His career and his ring record may not be as impressive as the current pound-for-pound king (Pacquiao) but Elorde was the Filipino boxer that put the Philippines on the map of the boxing world in the 1960s. Before him, there was Pancho Villa in the 1920s and Ceferino Garcia in the 1930s, plus the Olympian medalists that followed them.

Elorde emerged during the time when the boxing world headlines were dominated by heavyweight boxers, such as Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier, and George Foreman. It was also the time when the Philippines, particularly Manila, was a suitable venue for international sporting events, and frequently hosting international and regional championships.

Elorde was a southpaw and became professional boxer at the age of 16 in June 1951. At the age of 17, he won the Orient Bantamweight title but only made world headlines after defeating World Featherweight champion Sandy Saddler in a non-title match on 1955 in Manila. He then moved up to capture the Philippine and the Orient Lightweight titles before knocking out Harold Gomes to capture the WBC World Junior Lightweight title in the 1960 (again in Manila) and later the WBA Super Featherweight title in 1963. Elorde dominated that division for seven years with 10 successful defenses of his title from 1960 to 1967, becoming the longest reigning and undisputed champion of the junior lightweight division.

In 1974, the World Boxing Council (WBC) named him as the “greatest world junior lightweight boxing champion in history”. In 1993, he was inducted to the International Boxing Hall of Fame and later, in the World Boxing Hall of Fame.

Ring Record: 116 fights, 87 wins (33 KOs), 27 losses and 2 draws

Philippine Boxing Legends: Pancho Villa, Flash Elorde, and Manny Pacquiao

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