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By Dong Secuya

The 6th Elorde Awards: Ushering In a New Golden Era of Philippine Boxing
Mon, 27 Mar 2006

MAKATI -- The mood of the 6th Elorde Awards Night dubbed as "The Banquet of Champions" was happy and expectant. Happy because of the recent positive development of professional boxing in the country and expectant because of the great promise the Philippines' up and coming boxers provide. There was a general feeling that the dawn of a new golden era of Philippine boxing has arrived.

Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita, the event's guest speaker, predicted that a second golden era of Philippine boxing is at hand. Manny Pacquiao, this year's boxer of the year and undoubtedly the single most dominant force who awakened Philippine boxing from its hibernation in recent times, said during his speech that he was happy to see so many up and coming Filipino boxers who are making waves here and abroad, drawing inspiration from himself and from the late Gabriel "Flash" Elorde.

Manny "The Pacman" Pacquiao (second from left) raises the trophy he won as "Boxer of the Year" given to him by event organizer Johnny Elorde (left), GAB Commissioner Eric R. Buhain and Flash Elorde's widow Laura Elorde.

As the recipient of the "Boxer of the Year Award" was announced, the chilling and breath-taking dying moment of the10th round of the Pacquiao-Morales rematch last January was replayed on screen. When the images of the great Mexican fighter Erik Morales, who had never been knocked out in his entire career before this fight, was flashed, down on his knees a couple of times and totally vanquished by the indomitable Filipino, one cannot help but get awe-strucked by the magnitude of the Filipino fighter's accomplishment. Manny Pacquiao could have been awarded the boxer of the year honor many times over by this feat alone.

WBC light flyweight champion Brian Viloria delivered an emotional speech.

The other major awardee of the night was Filipino-American Brian Viloria, the WBC light flyweight champion who successfully defended his belt against Jose Antonio Aguirre last February 18 in Las Vegas. Viloria held the crowd to full attention during his emotional speech when he narrated the ups and downs of his career and thanked the people closest to him who supported him through and through, his father Ben and his manager, Gary Gittelsohn, who purposely flew to the country for this event alone.

With Pacquiao and Viloria in the house, one could have already been satisfied, but the night was something special because it was graced by the country's budding boxing superstars and other boxing luminaries.

Rey "Boom Boom" Bautista, recipient of 2005 regional champion award, easily stood out as well as Rodel Mayol, also a recipient of 2005 regional champion award, who will try to capture his first world title this coming May 6 in Japan against the Japan-based Thai Eagle Kyowa..

American trainer Freddie Roach gets his well-deserved special award.

But the darling of the crowd was easily American trainer Freddie Roach, the 2004 U.S. Sportwriters Trainer of the Year awardee, who undoubtedly captured the hearts of the grateful Filipino nation by successully guiding the career of Manny Pacquiao as well as training other up and coming Filipino boxers.

Other major honorees were Cebu's Sammy Gello-ani, who, together ALA chief architect Antonio L. Aldeguer, inked a historic promotional contract with De La Hoya's Golden Boy Promotions two weeks ago, was named promoter of the year. Pacquiao's chief confidant Wakee Salud, was named manager of the year. Buboy Fernandez bagged the trainer of the year award. Adjudged best fight of the year was the battle between Alex Escaner and Bernabe Concepcion which was held in Cainta, Rizal on Dec. 10, 2005.

The best referee award went to Silvestre Abainza while Ferdinand Estrella bagged the best judge award.

Other awardees who gave a peek at the illustrious career of Flash Elorde and the past glorious years were 76-years old Tanny Campo, who lost to Elorde twice as a bantamweight, and lightweight Tommy Romulo, who fought Elorde three times, losing twice and drawing one. Former world champions "Bad Boy From Dadiangas" Rolando Navarette, Rene Barrientos and Gerry Penalosa were also honored.

A slew of Cebu-based boxers were also given awards headed Czar Amonsot, regional champion and most promising boxer. Other Cebu-based international champion and national champion awardees were former world champion Noel Tunacao, Randy Suico, Dondon Sultan, Bert Batawang, Rev Santillan, Dindo Castanares, Jimrex Jaca, Michael Domingo, Elmer Gejon and Bart Abapo.

Perhaps as a fitting tribute to Cebu's contribution to Philippine boxing, the organizers of the Elorde Awards, headed by Flash Elorde's son Johnny, and widow Laura, announced that next year's awarding will most likely be held in Cebu. A fitting tribute indeed because the great Flash Elorde himself was born, raised, and started his boxing career in Cebu.

Incidentally,, which bagged a citation from the Elorde Awards, and, the de facto website of Filipino ring icon Manny Pacquiao, are also based in Cebu.

Other luminaries who made their presence felt in the eventful evening were GAB Chairman Eric R. Buhain, who delivered an inspirational message; Philippine-resident New Zealand referee Bruce McTavish, who delivered a message to the Elorde family from OPBF Executive Frank Quill; GAB Commissioner Alex Paglumotan; Ted Lerner and Liza Elorde, who acted as the show's hosts; Congressman Butch Pichay; and Paranaque Mayor Florencio Bernabe, Jr.

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