BEFORE "Thrilla in Manila," Joe Frazier and Muhammad Ali were tied at one match apiece in their now immortal fight trilogy.
Frazier had drawn first blood back in 1971 in an intense 15-round battle in Madison Square Garden. Among the audience were Frank Sinatra and Diana Ross.
Three years later, Ali evened up the series, setting up the deciding brutal 1975 faceoff between the two legends.
“Thrilla in Manila” promoter Don King had called it. They would fight for over 42 minutes in suffocating heat and barely-there air conditioning, beating each other to within an inch of their lives inside the Araneta Coliseum — a match that The Guardian would call, 40 years later, as “sanctioned manslaughter.”
However, beautician-turned-fortune teller Aurea Sabalboro — better known as Madam Auring — had supposedly made the prediction that Ali would win.
Just the year before, she had predicted the victory of Spain’s Amparo Muñoz in Miss Universe, which was also held in Manila.
"Ali’s Malaysian promoter heard of Auring and sought her out for a session with the boxer," said this essay archived in a 2009 post in the Hector Joaquin blog on Facebook.
According to the article, Auring went to Ali’s suite at the Manila Hilton, where the boxer showed her an article that predicted he would lose to Frazier. Auring told him, “No, you will not lose in ‘Thrilla in Manila.’ You will win.”
The essay continued: "Ali was so ecstatic of her prediction that when told that her name was Auring, he said, 'From now on I will call you Madam Auring.'”
It was by no means an assured victory. Frazier was so battered that his trainer Eddie Futch refused to let him head into the 15th round. But even then, Joe gave his flamboyant mortal enemy Ali as good as he got.
After the bloody fight, Ali supposedly talked about Auring's prediction to the press.
Following her correct prediction of Ali's win, Madam Auring “became the go-to manghuhula of entertainment scribes for many annual predictions of the fate and fortune, the rise and downfall of stars and politicians,” wrote ABS-CBN’s Mario Dumaual.
Auring passed away today at the age of 80.
"I feel sad and happy," wrote her grandson Daryl Simon Pecson in a Facebook post announcing her death. "Sad because I will never see you again, your wisdom, your corny jokes, happy bondings, and pinching my cheeks until they become red."
She outlived both Frazier and Ali by less than a decade, with the boxers passing away in 2011 and 2016, respectively.