Sunday, February 17, 2008

Gabriel "Flash" Elorde

Gabriel "Flash" Elorde (March 25, 1935January 2, 1985) is widely considered as one of the greatest Filipino boxers of all time along with featherweight slugger Manny Pacquiao and flyweight champion in the 1920s Pancho Villa . He was born and raised in the town of Bogo, Cebu. He was much beloved in the Philippines as a sports and cultural icon, being the first Filipino international boxing champion since 1920s boxer Pancho Villa.[clarify]

Elorde was the WBC Junior lightweight (Super Featherweight) champion from March 20, 1960 until June 15, 1967 and WBA Super featherweight champion from February 16, 1963 to June 15, 1967 making him the longest reigning world junior lightweight champion ever (seven years and three months). He also outpointed all time great featherweight champion Sandy Saddler in 1955 in a non-title bout. In 1956 he was given a rematch with Saddler, this time with Saddler's featherweight title on the line, but Elorde suffered a cut eye and lost the fight on a 13th round TKO.

Elorde also challenged lightweight Carlos Ortiz for his world title on two occasions. He was stopped both times by Ortiz in the 14th round.

Elorde retired with a record of 88 wins (33 KOs), 27 losses and 2 draws and was named "the greatest world junior lightweight boxing champion in WBC history" in 1974.[weasel words]

After his retirement, Elorde remained in the Philippines within the public eye, prominent as a popular commercial endorser, especially of San Miguel Beer. In fact, his San Miguel Beer TV commercial (which he made with Bert Marcelo and Rico J. Puno) wherein he famously said the words ".... isang platitong mani (one plate of peanuts) was recently named as the No.1 Filipino advertisement of all time.

A chain smoker, Elorde died of lung cancer at the age of 49.

In 1993, he became the first Asian inducted into the New York-based International Boxing Hall of Fame. He was also enshrined into the World Boxing Hall of Fame. Elorde's father-in-law, Lope Sarreal, was one of Asia's most prominent boxing promoters who was himself later inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame.

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