Boxing In Boxing

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Times have indeed changed and boxing today is driven by the interest of promoters who are basically businessmen first, before lovers of the sport and even fighters who are concerned with what a fight would bring them in financial terms apart from personal pride and glory for the country.

It was so very different then. Elorde and “Papa” Sarreal were thrilled at the thought that dzHP would broadcast Elorde’s fight on radio which began with the June 1, Oriental and Pacific Boxing Federation lightweight title in which Elorde scored a 9th round TKO over Japan’s Tsunetomi Miyamoto

Then came the back-to back knock down, drag-out brawls with the rugged Love Allotey of Ghana who, in some instances reminded us of World featherweight champion Sandy
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The Philippine Ambassador to Washington at that time was the eminent diplomat Gen. Carlos P. Romulo, Gen. Romulo told Elorde, “you may have lost the fight but you won the hearts of Americans by your gallantry.”

The remarkable lawyer-sportsman Rudy Salud who was secretary general of the Games and Amusements Board and founding secretary general of the World Boxing Council whose Constitution and By Laws were crafted by him, admired Elorde because, as he told me, ‘Elorde was the cause of the golden years of Philippine boxing he inspired other Filipino boxers to excel and that is why we produced so many world champions during his
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But he - Flash -was a good fighter and great guy. He was no showman, or braggart, he did what he had to do and that’s why I am here to pay respects to him.”

How the Gomes fight was made itself a fascinating story.

Lope “Papa” Sarreal who was an influential man in the corridors of World boxing and was as astute as ever if not a little cunning, believed that Elorde was ready for a world title after he beat Tommy Romulo on March 16, 1957 to win the Philippines lightweight title and then added the orient lightweight belt to his trophy room just one month later with arousing win over Hideto Kobayashi of Japan in Nagoya.

But he was concerned that the manager of Champion Harold Gomes would not agree to a title fight against the southpaw Elorde.

Lope Sarreal’s son, Lope “Jun” Sarreal revealed that his father took the manager of Gomes out for dinner and drink one night and when he was sufficiently intoxicated convinced him that Elorde wasn’t a tough opponent and had a mediocre fight record and then shoved a contract in front of him which he readily signed. It set the stage for one of the biggest fights in Philippine boxing history and resulted in a day of national

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