Philippines, 18 Jun 2019
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Manny speaks at Elorde Awards Night

WBA welterweight champion Sen. Manny Pacquiao was the popular choice by far to be the guest of honor and speaker at the Elorde Awards Night celebrating the late Flash Elorde’s 84th birthday and recognizing the best of the best Filipino fighters at the Okada Hotel and Casino in Paranaque this Monday.

It won’t be the first time for Pacquiao to mount the podium at the annual event since the inaugurals in 2000. Awards Night head organizer Liza Elorde, whose husband Johnny is one of D’Flash’s three sons, said Pacquiao has been the guest of honor and speaker at least 10 times. “We all want the Senator back,” she said. “He’s an inspiration to everyone.” This year, he’ll be given an Award of Distinction as an Elorde Hall of Famer with Donnie Nietes and Nonito Donaire, Jr. His long-time sidekick and now head trainer Buboy Fernandez will be cited as Best Trainer.

Liza said other speakers in previous Awards Nights included former Philippine presidents Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and Fidel Ramos, WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman, Sen. Bongbong Marcos, Sen. Koko Pimentel, Sen. Mar Roxas, former world junior lightweight champion Harold Gomes (who was dethroned by Elorde at the Araneta Coliseum in 1960), Mayor Benjamin Abalos, Sen. Robert Barbers and the late Rep. Roilo Golez. Liza mentioned that Golez, a former ABAP president and US Naval Academy boxer, will be honored posthumously with former Olympic and two-time Asian Games boxer Leopoldo Cantancio.

IBF superflyweight champion Jerwin Ancajas, WBO minimumweight titlist Vic Saludar and IBO bantamweight ruler Michael Dasmarinas will be honored as Boxers of the Year. Dasmarinas will receive his award regardless of the outcome of his IBF title eliminator duel with Kenny Demecillo at the Resorts World Manila on Saturday or two days before the event.

Fist-casting will be an attraction in the program as 1996 Olympic silver medalist Onyok Velasco and 1988 Olympic bronze medalist Leopoldo Serrantes are next in line for the molding. This was started in 2016 and so far, those whose fists have been casted are Pacquiao, Rolando Navarrete, Rene Barrientos, Nietes, Erbito Salavarria, Ronnie Magramo, Gerry and Dodie Boy Penalosa, Tacy Macalos, Rolando Pascua and Bernabe Villacampo.

Among the other honorees are the reigning Philippine champions from welterweight to minimumweight and the country’s world/international/regional titlists. To be awarded Best Promoter is MP Promotions headed by Joe Ramos. Veteran Silvestre Abainza will be recognized as Best Judge while Danrex Tapdasan is Best Referee. Up-and-coming WBA Asia bantamweight champion Carl Jammes Martin, 19, will receive the Most Promising Boxer award. Martin has a 12-0 record, with 11 KOs, and is rated No. 13 by the WBA in the 118-pound division. Best Fight of the Year is WBC International lightflyweight champion Jonathan Taconing’s win over Vince Paras to retain his crown at the Elorde Sports Complex last September. In the amateur ranks, Asian Games silver medalist Rogen Ladon and Indian Open champion Nesthy Petecio will be recognized as the Best Male and Female Boxers.

Special awards will be given to WBO International vice president and WBO Asia/Pacific chairman Leon Panoncillo, former Ring Magazine editor Nigel Collins, former WBC Continental Americas superfeatherweight and WBO Asia Pacific lightweight king Bobby Pacquiao, Thai international boxing promoter and Philippine boxing patron Naris Singwancha, Rotary Club Manila Premier and Okada Manila.

Before the evening program, there will be four bouts to start at 4 p.m. The curtain raiser will feature flyweights Albert Francisco and Dave Pacunla in a four-rounder. Then, former WBO Asia Pacific superfeatherweight and WBO Oriental lightweight champion Juan Martin (Bai) Elorde will make his first appearance in over a year to face Indonesia’s Rengga Rengga in a six-rounder. In the lead aperitif, WBO Asia Pacific flyweight queen Casey Morton, known as the Lady Hawaiian Punch, stakes her crown against Japan’s Chie Higano in a tenner. In the mainer, WBO Asia Pacific superbantamweight champion and WBO No. 2 contender Juan Miguel (Mig) Elorde takes on Japanese challenger Shohei Kawashima in a 12-rounder.

D’Flash’s daughter Theresa will deliver the invocation to open the Awards Night and Banquet of Champions. Elorde’s widow Laura will give the welcome address while GAB chairman Baham Mitra will make the opening remarks. Liza, who will co-emcee the program with Ted Lerner, said boxing legends Navarrete, Barrientos, Salavarria, Magramo, Macalos, Pretty Boy Lucas, Pascua and the Penalosa brothers will attend the affair which promises to be the biggest ever in its 19-year history.

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

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