Philippines All Time Best Boxers
By Teodoro Medina Reynoso
Sun, 06 Oct 2019
Pancho Villa (L) and Flash Elorde.'
With the year 2020 just a few days away, the Ring Magazine through Michael Rosenthal has come up with a series titled Vision 20-20 featuring the greatest fighters produced by 20 countries with strong tradition in professional boxing.
Coming in alphabetical order, the series has already featured Argentina starring Carlos Monzon and Australia (Jeff Fenech) as of this writing with Canada next in line.
Most likely, the Philippines after Panama (Roberto Duran) would also be featured and it will be most interesting to find out who else aside from Gabriel Flash Elorde would be named as the country has produced many more world champions since his time, i.e. the 50s and the 60s.
It has to be made clear that the series is exclusive to the featuring of already retired world champions or world beaters from an also exclusive list of twenty choice countries as pre-identified by the Ring Magazine.
As current Pambansang Kamao Manny Pacquiao is still fighting, therefore do not expect his name to be up there in the Philippines list of greatest fighters ever. For sure, his time to head the honor roll of greatest Pinoy fighters will come in due time.
Do not look also for the names of Nonito Donaire and Donnie Ahas Nietes there for both are still very much active though they have been around this long like Manny.
The Ring Magazine had first come up with an exclusive feature on the greatest Filipino fighters back in 1938 with a summary on the ring exploits of the country's trailblazing world boxing champions Francisco Gilledo AKA Pancho Villa, Cipriano (AKA Ceferino) Garcia and Benjamin Gan AKA Small Montana and a few other pioneering prewar fighters that included the hardluck Dencio Cabanela who died at a tender age in foreign ring.
I recall that sometime in the mid 1990s, the KO Magazine came up with the Best All Time Fighters per country series that likewise featured the Philippines in one issue with Flash Elorde on top of a list that included Villa, Garcia, Montana, Little Dado, Ben Villaflor, Erbito Salavarria, Pedro Adigue, Bernabe Villacampo and Rolando Navarette who were all former world champions and accomplished fighters.
At around that time, the country had produced other world titlists the likes of Dodie Boy Penalosa, Frank Cedeno, Rolando Bohol, Tacy Macalos and a few others while Luisito Espinosa and Gerry Penalosa were already holding or on the way to winning world championships.
As mentioned earlier, it will be interesting to find out if Flash Elorde will still be named as the greatest Filipino fighter and who will comprise the list of honorable mentions apart from the pioneers Villa and Garcia.
Louie Espinosa, Dodie Boy and Gerry Penalosa are all already long retired from boxing and they have won not just one but two world championships and in different weight divisions at that.
Lindol Espinosa in fact even established a record of sorts by being the first Filipino fighter to win world championships in the bantamweight and the featherweight classes, the erstwhile waterloo divisions for many a great Pinoy campaigners that included Elorde himself.
Gerry Penalosa later on also won a world title at bantamweight (WBO) after reigning with distinction as WBC superflyweight titlist.
Dodie Boy was the first to win world titles in two weight classes, accomplishing the feat at light flyweight and flyweight under the then fledling IBF in the mid to late 80s.
Personally, my current all time best list includes the following:
1. Flash Elorde
2. Pancho Villa
3. Ceferino Garcia
4. Luisito Espinosa
5. Gerry Penalosa
6. Small Montana- named by the Time Magazine as the best flyweight of the last century.
7. Erbito Salavarria
8. Ben Villaflor
9. Dodie Boy Penalosa
10. Pedro Adigue
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