The Enduring Influence of Flash Elorde and Pacquiao (Part I)
By Teodoro Medina Reynoso
Wed, 27 May 2020
Part One: The Elorde Influence
Manny Pacman Pacquiao and Gabriel Flash Elorde are the two most popular champion boxers in the country not only because of their world renowned individual ring exploits but for their lasting influence to other Filipino ring campaigners of their time and succeeding generations.
The success of Gabriel Flash Elorde in the 60s as long reigning world junior lightweight champion has had the effect of inspiring and spawning other globally or at least regionally competitive Filipino fighters in and around his weight division.
They included top flight ring campaigners as Roberto Cruz, Pedro Adigue and Rene Barrientos who would become world champions themselves.
Cruz who started out as a featherweight won the vacant world junior welterweight championship by scoring a sensational first round knockout of Battling Torres of Mexico in March 1962 in Los Angeles, California. His reign was brief though losing in his first defense against American Eddie Perkins in Manila a few months later.
Adigue, the then reigning Philippine and OPBF lightweight champion who has previously outpointed and drawn against Barrientos, annexed the vacant WBC junior welterweight title via rousing 15 round unanimous decision over American Adolph Pruitt at the Araneta Colesium on December 14, 1968. His reign lasted until January 31, 1970 when he ceded the title to Italy's Bruno Arcari in Rome.
Barrientos, on the other hand finally won the WBC junior lightweight championship by 15 round unanimous decision victory over American Ruben Navarro at the Araneta Colesium in Cubao, Quezon City on February 13, 1969. He was earlier held to a 15 round draw by Hiroshi Kobayashi for the WBA and WBC titles on March 30, 1968. But he, too lost his title in his first defense against former champion Yoshiaki Numata, conqueror of Elorde, dropping a controversial 15 round split decision in Japan on April 5, 1970.
But there were other Pinoy fighters who were not as internationally successful but still left their mark in the local and even regional rings like Fulgencio Cabangon, better known for his nom de guerre as Young Terror, Carl and Ric Penalosa and Del Kid Rosario.
The Basilan born Young Terror started pro boxing in 1962 and by 1965 had become the Philippine junior lightweight champion. A feared and popular bell to bell fighter, He boasted of fine victories over many local and foreign ringsters in his prime though he has had his share of losses, too. He lost his title to Barrientos and dropped another verdict in their rematch.
Brothers Carl and Ric Penalosa were also known fixtures in the local fight scene during much of the 60s with Carl even winning the Philippine lightweight championship which he would later lose to Adigue. They are direct descendants of future world champions Dodie Boy, Sr. and Gerry Penalosa.
Del Kid Rosario did not win any local championship but made a splash by upsetting Yoshiaki Numata right after the Japanese had become world champion by beating Elorde. He would lose to Numata in their immediate rematch though with the OPBF lightweight title on the line in Japan late in 1967.
In the lighter weights, Elorde would provide inspiration and motivation to another pair of fighters namely Bernabe Villacampo and Erbito Salavarria who would salvage the Pinoy boxing pride and honor by winning world titles by or before the end of the 60s.
Villacampo would stop the Filipino losing streak against Japanese fighters by not only utterly beating but prompting the retirement of Hiroyuki Ebihara in wresting the WBC flyweight championship in 1969. He would lose the title to a Thai Bengkrek Charnvanchai though in his first defense.
Salavarria on the other hand, after finally capturing the OPBF flyweight crown by stopping long reigning Japanese defending champion Tsuyoshi Nakamura, went on to win the WBA flyweight championship by knocking out Thailand's pride Charchai Chionoi before a stunned Thai crowd, including the Thai King in Bangkok the following year. He would remain champion until stripped after a drawn defense against Betulio Gonzales in Caracas, Venezuela over the sugared water controversy. But he would win the WBC belt over a Japanese foe and remained champion till the mid 70s.
Such was the influence to Philippine boxing in the 1960s of Flash Elorde both in his victories and defeats.
The author Teodoro Medina Reynoso is a veteran boxing radio talk show host living in the Philippines. He can be reached at email@example.com and by phone 09215309477.
Click here to view a list of other articles written by Teodoro Medina Reynoso.
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