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Sleepless nights for Elordes


PhilBoxing.com




KUALA LUMPUR. Not too many know that Johnny and Liza Elorde were behind the logistical and physical arrangements of the weigh-in and the “Fight of Champions” here last weekend. It was no easy task and the husband-and-wife team spent sleepless nights making sure everything was done in order.

Johnny and Liza mobilized their family, relatives and staff of the Elorde Gym in Sucat to get things working. Their son Nico, a PBA player with GlobalPort, flew in from Manila the day after the Batang Pier was eliminated in the Commissioner’s Cup playoffs to lend a helping hand. Another son Bai was also in the work crew. Exempted from duty was son Mig who saw action in the undercard. Mig, 31, halted Thai Ratchanon Sowang Soda in the third round of the curtain raiser last Sunday morning. Mig, the reigning WBO Asia Pacific superbantamweight champion, raised his record to 26-1, with 14 KOs and extended his win streak to 16 bouts. His only loss was a four-round decision to Texan Jerry Guevarra in Las Vegas in 2011. Mig is now ranked No. 3 in the WBO ratings.

For the weigh-in at the Malaysian International Trade and Exhibition Center last Saturday, the Elordes put on a stage show that was like a Las Vegas production. Ted Lerner, an American who’s a long-time Angeles City resident, hosted the first part of the show until Michael Buffer took over. There were giant screens that showed clips of the “Boxing 1-on-1” program featuring Manny Pacquiao and Lucas Matthysse to settle the crowd before the fighters were called to the scales. The lights, glitz and glamor were reminiscent of how Top Rank does it in Las Vegas.

For the card at the Axiata Arena, the Elordes brought in two rings. One was a three-foot-high Everlast ring from the US and the other was specially made in China with a four-foot elevation and a 24x24 foot surface. The Chinese version had an extended ring apron to allow for TV cameramen. The roped area was the standard 20x20.

“Our Filipino engineers designed the ring and our Malaysian friend Vikram (Swapragasam), who’s now the manager of Mark Magsayo, arranged for the ring to be done in China,” said Liza. “We used the Chinese ring as a pop-up for training in the basement of Le Meridien Hotel so fighters could use it. We didn’t end up using the Everlast ring.”

Liza also recruited models from Russia, Brazil, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Malaysia to grace the stage at the weigh-in and act as round girls for the “Fight of Champions.” “From the hotel basement, we transported the ring to Axiata early morning and made sure it would be ready for the first fight at 7 a.m.,” she said. The Elordes coordinated with Axiata security and venue management in clearing dressing rooms, lounge rooms and an area for the post-fight press conference.

MP Promotions was in charge of the entire show with the Elordes on top of the physical arrangements and ALV International of Arnold Vegafria supervising the marketing and TV production. “All worth the sleepless nights, hard work and sacrifice,” said Liza. Both the weigh-in and the fights were a huge success. And Pacquiao’s seventh round stoppage of Matthysse to wrest the WBA welterweight crown was a fitting climax to the historic event.

Photo: Johnny and Liza Elorde.


Click here to view a list of other articles written by Joaquin Henson.


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