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List of Articles by Ronnie Nathanielsz


 

FAMILY & FRIENDS MARK ELORDE DEATH ANNIVERSARY

By Ronnie Nathanielsz
PhilBoxing.com
04 Jan 2007

The family and a few close friends of the late world junior lightweight champion Gabriel ”Flash” Elorde took time out Tuesday to mark the 22nd death anniversary of the man who rose from the depths of poverty to become a world champion and held the 130 pound title for almost seven-and-a-half years.

Elorde who was the second Filipino to be enshrined in the Boxing Hall of Fame, the other being Pancho Villa, is regarded by most as the greatest Filipino fighter of all-time not merely because of his achievements in the ring but more so because of the remarkable human qualities and the decency he demonstrated outside the ring.

The former championâ's widow Laura Elorde and sons Gabriel "Bebot" Elorde Jr and Johnny Elorde along with their wives were among those who attended a mass at the Elorde tomb at Manila Memorial Park along Sucat Road, Paranaque.

The mass was officiated by Msgr. Melchor David and the choir was composed of sisters from the Saint Rita Chapel which was built by Elorde. During his fights the sisters at Saint Rita used to pray the rosary while listening to the fight coverages on dzHP Radio which covered Elorde's fights including his historic battles with Teruo Kosaka, Ismael Laguna, Love Allotey, Suh Kang Il and his two fights with Carlos Ortiz, among others.

Several grandchildren as well as boxers from the Elorde Gym were present including former champion Pretty Boy Lucas.

Elorde who won the title in a spectacular seventh round knockout of American Harold Gomes before some 30,000 wildly cheering fans at the inauguration of the Araneta Coliseum on March 30, 1960 eventually lost the crown to young Japanese Yoshiaki Numata some seven years later in Tokyo.

Elorde was the son of a poor farmer in Bogo, Cebu but battled his way to the world title and into the hearts and homes of millions of Filipinos. He was managed by the Grand Old Man of Philippine boxing Lope “Papa” Sarreal who was later to become Elorde’s father-in-law when Elorde married Sarreal’s daughter Laura.

Elorde had several memorable ring battles and it was indeed a tribute to him that the men he fought such as Harold Gomes, Carlos Ortiz and Shigeki Kaneko have been special guests at the Annual Awards titled "Banquet of Champions" which highlight his March 25 birthday celebration each year and praised Elorde for his skill and sportsmanship in the ring and his extraordinary human qualities outside.


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