Gabriel “Flash” Elorde was born on March 25th, 1935 in Bogo, Cebu, Philippines. The youngest for 15 children, Elorde was born into poverty and dropped out of school to support his family. Under the guidance of his father, Elorde turned to boxing at the age of 16. According to Willie Laureano…
“(Elorde) He was a Filipino martial artist; his father was a Filipino martial artist. But they knew at the time already there was no money in stick fighting, there was much more money in boxing.”
Elorde’s background in Filipino martial arts influenced his unique boxing style. A southpaw, Elorde was known for his quick hands and elusiveness, described by Robert Lipsyte “subtle little temple-dancer moves.” Elorde’s fighting style also translated into success in the ring.
On July 7th1952, Elorde knocked out Tanny Ocampo, winning the bantamweight title of the Philippines. On July 20th 1955, Elorde upset featherweight champion Sandy Saddler in a non-title bout. On January 18th1956, Elorde and Saddler met again in an infamous rematch. A series of fouls by Saddler drew criticism from fans and experts alike, including Saddler rubbing his head and gloves into a cut above Elode’s left eye. The fight was stopped in the 13thround resulting in a controversial win for Saddler. On March 16th1960, Elorde won the super featherweight championship with a knockout victory over Harold Gomes in Araneta Coliseum. On August 17th1960, Elorde defended his championship against Gomes in Daly City, CA. Elorde made quick work of Gomes, knocking him out in the first round. Elorde’s reign as super featherweight champion lasted for seven years. In 1975, Elorde invited both Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier as special guests at the opening of “Sportsplaza” of Elorde Sports in Sucat, Paranque, Rizal. Elorde retired with a record 88W(33KO) – 27L – 2D. On January 2nd, 1985, Elorde passed away at the age of 49 due to lung cancer. Elorde was posthumously inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1993, the first Asian boxer ever inducted.
Author, AJ Ruiz