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Legends in their own time


PhilBoxing.com



They were born 51 years apart yet the late Laura Sarreal Elorde and super WBA welterweight champion Sen. Manny Pacquiao had something in common that tied their generations together. Mommy Laura, as the former world junior lightweight titlist Gabriel (Flash) Elorde’s widow was known, and Pacquiao shared the same vision to give fighters the opportunity to live a better life through the sport that was their passion. How fitting that they were born on the same day, Dec. 17----Mommy Laura in 1927 and Pacquiao in 1978, legends in their own time.

Mommy Laura was 92 when she passed away last Sunday while Pacquiao is 41. She was a pillar of strength in the Elorde family as an inspiration to Flash, their seven children, 20 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren. Her sons Bebot, Johnny and Marty manage their own stables and the family operates over 30 fitness gyms, mainly in Metro Manila. Pacquiao’s MP Promotions boasts a global network that provides a platform for Filipino fighters to access the resources of the world market. The Elorde family’s tradition is immortalized by the enshrinement of Mommy Laura’s father Lope (Papa) Sarreal, Sr. as a promoter and Flash as a world champion for seven straight years at the International Boxing Hall of Fame in Canastota, New York. Five years after he retires, Pacquiao is guaranteed to be inducted in the Hall of Fame as the only fighter ever to capture world titles in eight different weight divisions.

Yesterday, Mommy Laura was laid to rest beside Flash at the Manila Memorial Park. Since news of her passing spread throughout the boxing world, expressions of sympathy came from all over. WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman declared a week of mourning in Mommy Laura’s memory. “The Elorde family is one of the greatest families in our sport,” he said. “I had the great honor to spend many happy moments with Mrs. Elorde, a strong, powerful woman who was the leader of the Elorde family. She kept them united, a sensational leader who believed in the power of love.”

WBA president Gilberto Jesus Mendoza said: “The entire boxing family mourns the death of Laura Elorde,” he said. “Losing our loved ones is one of the most difficult things in life and there will never be any right words for her children and grandchildren during a moment like this. With all my heart, I hope that the care and love of those around her family provide comfort, strength and peace for the days ahead.”

Pacquiao, WBO Asia Pacific chairman Leon Panoncillo, Japanese promoter Akihiko Honda, Japanese promoter Kentaro Kaneko (whose late father Shigeji beat Flash on points in four fights from 1953 to 1957), Japanese Hall of Fame journalist Joe Koizumi, ALA Boxing CEO Tony Aldeguer, West Coast Boxing Hall of Fame president Rick Farris, Top Rank Boxing chief operating officer Brad Jacobs and MP Promotions head Sean Gibbons sent messages of condolences. “I’m glad that she was with her family when she went home to God and especially, she is back with Flash and (daughter) Malou,” said Gibbons. “Mrs. Elorde lived a full life. I’m proud to be associated with the Elorde name any day of the year, it’s a great honor. My condolences to the family of the godmother of boxing in the Philippines.”

Photo (L-R): Johnny Elorde, Manny Pacquiao and the late Laura Elorde.


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


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