Sunday, November 25, 2007

Another Gabriel Flash Elorde Will Rule the Boxing World!

Gabriel Flash Elorde GraphicHere is an interesting read on Filipino boxer Juan Martin Elorde, aka Bai. Bai Elorde is a grandson of Gabriel "Flash" Elorde, the greatest world junior lightweight boxing champion in WBC history.

From ABS-CBN Interactive and The Philippine Star

Despite suffering a knockdown and barely beating unheralded Glen Mondol on points a few weeks ago, superfeatherweight Juan Martin (Bai) Elorde is determined to chase the dream of following in his grandfather’s footsteps as he takes on Cris Dollesin in the undercard of the Rey (Boom Boom) Bautista-Antonio Meza main event at the Araneta Coliseum on Dec. 2.

Elorde, 23, is a Hotel, Restaurant and Institution Management graduate of St. Benilde and could be managing the family’s thriving gym business but chose a career that’s not only dangerous but also unstable.

But if a grandaunt who dabbles in fortune-telling is to be believed, Elorde is destined for greatness in the ring.

Vicenta Elorde, who once predicted her brother Gabriel or “Flash” would become a boxing champion, saw in the stars a sign that another Elorde would rule the world in the future.

“Flash” was undergoing chemotherapy for lung cancer when Bai was born in November 1984. He had lost his hair, could hardly speak and was confined to a wheelchair. The ring legend visited Bai, cradled in his mother Liza’s arms, a few days after delivery and noticed a violet-colored birthmark on the baby’s left fist. His eyes widened as he held the left hand as if to pass the torch to the heir of his throne.

Today, Bai – a southpaw like his late grandfather – is a budding prospect with a 5-0 record. He turned pro last February, beating Joseph Mateo in Cebu City. Then he outpointed Leo Albao, stopped Rommel Discalsote, decisioned Ronel Esparas and survived Mondol.

Every day, Bai gets up at 5 to run 10 rounds along the Manila Memorial perimeter in front of the Elorde Sports Complex in Sucat and works out in the gym at least two hours in the afternoon. Veteran trainer Mario Lumacad is his mentor while Panchito (Sugar Ray) Estrada is the catcher in his punch-mitt routine. His father Johnny, a former Southeast Asian Games gold medalist, watches from a distance and gives pointers, too.

Against Mondol, Bai went down from a left hook to the face in the second round but never panicked. He got up, weathered the storm and held on to score a majority decision at the Mall of Asia parking lot before a crowd that included delegates in the WBC Convention.

“That’s boxing,” said Bai. “Even world champions go down. I’m not discouraged. I want to continue fighting. I’m determined to improve.”

Liza couldn’t bear to watch her son hurt in the ring and closed her eyes as he took a mandatory eight-count. She was on her fifth rosary that day. Johnny said he wanted to jump into the ring when Bai fell – not to throw in the towel but to punch Mondol.

“Two weeks before the fight, my stomach was already turning over,” she said. “If you ask me, I prefer Bai to manage our gyms in Tektite and West Avenue. But he wants to fight. He has a lot of improving to do in the gym, particularly in footwork and defense. He still fights the amateur style and he has to tuck his chin a little bit more. But he has power in both hands. He’s very dedicated. He’s inspired by his grandfather and Manny Pacquiao. With God’s help, I think he can become a world champion someday.”

Former world titlists Rene Barrientos and Rolando Navarrete, watching at ringside, gave their thumbs-up to Bai. Barrientos advised Bai to learn how to bob and weave while Navarrete told Liza to make sure he’s not overmatched.

“When Bai was knocked down, I prayed to God and asked if boxing is meant for him, to help him get up but if not, to keep him down,” said Liza. “My prayer was answered.”

For Bai, there are disadvantages and advantages to being an Elorde. “Fans expect a lot more from you if you’re an Elorde,” he said. “Opponents prepare more to beat me because I’m an Elorde. I can feel the pressure but I’m not afraid. When I’m in the ring and I get hit, I forget about the pressure. I just go out and do my best.”

Bai was paid P6,000 for his fight against Mondol and after receiving the cash, went shopping at the Mall of Asia. He loves pizza, empanada and cakes from Conti’s and enjoys going to movies with his girlfriend Jamie, a St. Benilde student. But Bai isn’t an average young adult. He’s a gifted fighter whose fate could lie in the birthmark on his left fist.

More on Gabriel Flash Elorde

  • WBA Super Featherweight Champion, Feb 16, 1963 - Jun 15, 1967
  • WBC Super Featherweight Champion, Mar 16, 1960 - Jun 15, 1967

  • In 1974, the World Boxing Council named Gabriel "Flash" Elorde as "the greatest world junior lightweight boxing champion in WBC history" for winning 79 bouts in his professional boxing career. In 1993, Gabriel Elorde became the first Asian inducted into the New York-based International Boxing Hall of Fame. Flash was also enshrined into the World Boxing Hall of Fame. Elorde became a world champion in the 130-pound division on March 16, 1960 when he knocked out American Harold Gomes in the 7th round at the inauguration of the Araneta Coliseum in Cubao, Quezon City. On August 17 of the same year, Flash Elorde knocked out Gomes in the first round in a rematch in San Francisco, USA. Since then, he has defended his title in 10 bouts for seven years, making him the longest reigning world junior lightweight champion ever (seven years and three months). Gabriel Flash Elorde was born in Bogo, Cebu in 1935. The greatest Filipino boxer of all time died in 1985.

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    Anonymous said...

    Flash was only 50 when he died!? Wow!, never knew that...
    Manny P better be careful fighting with Lightweights, he might be following in the footsteps of Flash when he was battered by Carlos Ortiz. Manny P has nothing to prove, and if he is very smart, he would just stay in his division and rule over it. And retire a very rich man with his unbruised ego still intact. But not too many pugilists think that way, they're just as greedy as most of our politicians are. Cheers!

    THE ANiTOKiD said...


    I guess the search for fame and glory never ends. When does have one enough fame and money, particularly in the world of the pugilists? A lot of careers end up on the brink because of a fighter's inability to quit while he is still ahead.

    Quitting while one is ahead is not the same as quitting. And I kid you not!


    kegler747 said...

    It's time that another Elorde will rule the boxing ring.

    THE ANiTOKiD said...


    Let's keep our fingers crossed, bro!


    It's always a runout at The Runout TV!