Philippines, 29 May 2024
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Inocencio Moldez: The Clever One

He had the makings of a world champion— marquee looks, and clever moves. ‘Tis why Bill Miller branded him as Clever Sencio.

Inocencio Moldez was the next in line to the world flyweight crown, the one his stablemate Francisco Guilledo left behind.

Born on January 1, 1901 in Leyte in the Visayas region of the Philippines, the humble lad joined Frank Churchill’s stable of fighters that illuminated the Olympic Stadium.

Known as "The Binang Bullet," he was renowned for his sharpshooting prowess in the ring, and his adept footwork mesmerized boxing enthusiasts who packed the stadium, witnessing flashes of sheer brilliance.

He was on a mad dash towards stardom. His debut match resulted in a decisive victory over Frisco Concepcion, who had been the first boxer to beat Francisco Guilledo.

In his seventh bout, Moldez faced off against his idol and friend, Francisco Guilledo, who was defending his newly acquired belt. The match, held at Wallace Field in Manila on May 2, 1925, was a historic event in the world of boxing. It marked the first time in the history of the sport where two Filipinos contested for the World Flyweight Championship. Tragically, it was also Pancho Villa's final triumph before his untimely demise.

The power brokers at the Olympic Stadium heard calls to fill the void Villa left behind. And so, Moldez, was fast tracked to stardom. He lost to Johnny Hill (UD 12) in his next fight, then subsequently rattled off 7 wins, punctuated by a convincing win against rising star Corporal Izzy Schwartz (W10 in Sacramento, 12/04/1925).

Moldez then faced future world champion Fidel Barba on January 20, 1926 in a no-decision contest. Newspaper reporters had the fight in Clever Sencio’s favor. In their highly anticipated rematch at the Olympic Auditorium on March 31, 1936, La Barba eked out a close decision.

The disputed loss to La Barba was a prelude to Clever Sencio’s fateful match against Bud Taylor in Wisconsin.

The Milwaukee Journal reported , “The newspaper decision went Taylor’s way. Sencio held Taylor fairly even for nine rounds, but was near collapse at the start of the tenth. A short right to the chin almost knocked him flat. By then, he (Sencio) could barely raise his hands…Clever Sencio died from injuries sustained during the bout.”

For all it is worth, here is his fight record we have verified: In 20 fights, he had 12 wins (3 KO), 4 losses (Zero by KO), 2 draws, and 2 no-decisions.

He was known as "Clever Sencio" and "The Binang Bullet" among fight fans, but to devoted boxing aficionados, he will always be remembered as Inocencio Moldez.

He stands as the third Filipino who courageously risked and tragically lost his life in pursuit of glory for the Philippines in the world of sports, particularly in the realm of boxing.

The Philippine Boxing Historical Society and Hall of Fame honor Mr. Inocencio Moldez for his tremendous contributions to Philippine boxing history.

Click here to view a list of other articles written by Emmanuel Rivera, RRT.

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