AS long as there are underprivileged Filipinos, the country’s well of boxing talent will never dry up.
Laura Elorde, widow of the legendary boxer Gabriel `Flash’ Elorde, is convinced that boxing remains as the quickest way out of poverty for most of our countrymen.
Spin.ph caught up with the Elorde matriarch Monday night during the 13th Annual Gabriel `Flash’ Elorde Awards Night at the Sofitel Hotel.
“Boxing is one way for poor, unschooled boys to get out of the conditions they are in. It’s a sport accessible to poor kids. It has no equipment, no whatsoever. Just a glove and a short,” said Elorde’s widow.
The `Flash’ himself stood as a living testament to it. A native of Bogo, Cebu, Elorde was the youngest of 15 children, who was forced to drop out of school during his third grade due to extreme poverty.
But the Filipino southpaw rose to become a boxing legend and one of the greatest Filipino ring warriors of all time.
Superstar and eight-time world champion Manny Pacquiao is also another prime example of a poor kid who rose to prominence by way of boxing.
Incidentally, Pacquiao also served as guest of honor and speaker during the elaborate ceremonies that coincided with the 78th birthday of the late boxing great.
Mrs. Elorde believes that with poverty still prevalent in the country, boxing will also continue to flourish despite the tough competition being offered of late by Mixed Martial Arts.
“Oh yes, definitely,” said Elorde when asked about it. “I think right now, you see a lot of young fighters striving, working hard, and honing their talent.”
That’s precisely what Pacquiao preached during his 10-minute speech when he urged all active boxers in his audience to strive harder, more so, after coming off a loss.
The Sarangani congressman, who is coming off a sixth-round knockout loss to Mexican rival Juan Manuel Marquez, stressed that defeat should never be a stumbling block for anyone who’s trying to reach their dreams.
Pacquiao vowed to bounce back from his loss against Marquez in the same manner he did when he lost to Erik Morales, Rustico Torrecampo, among others.
“Despite that defeat, I didn’t lose heart. Instead I vaulted back, trained hard, prayed hard until I recovered and reached the place I would like to be,” Pacquiao said.
“Ako po ay naniniwala na ang pagpupunyaging ito upang umani pa ng mga tagumpay ay isa rin pong uri ng pagsisilbi at pagbibigay dangal sa ating bansa,” he added.
Reigning World Boxing Organization super-bantamweight champion Nonito Donaire Jr. led four other title holders who were recipients of the Elorde Boxer of the Year awards along with Brian Viloria, Donnie Nietes, Johnriel Casimero, and Sonny Boy Jaro.
Local champions in the different weight categories were also honored during the affair.
But Mrs. Elorde stressed the occasion is not just a fitting celebration of the achievements of his late husband, but also a tribute to the new breed of Filipino boxers.
“It’s not only for the life of my husband, this is also for the life of the new boxers. We are so happy that there are many fighters who continue to bring the Philippines into the limelight of world boxing,” explained Elorde.
“We will organize this event so long as there are proud and mighty Filipino boxers,” she added.