//Boxing & MMA

Highlights From The First Pacquiao-Elorde Awards Night

An event named after the two greatest Filipino boxers of all time produced several memorable moments.

There was plenty of star power during the first-ever Pacquiao-Elorde Awards Night held Sunday at Okada Manila in Parañaque City. The event combined an eight-bout fight card for the Blow-By-Blow boxing TV show and a sports awards program honoring not only the top Filipino boxers but also legends and champions from other sports disciplines.

Here are the highlights:

Change of direction

This event was formerly known as the Gabriel “Flash” Elorde Boxing Awards Banquet of Champions, an annual event named after the boxing great that recognized the achievements of Filipino boxers both past and present.

This year, the Elorde family decided to team up with another boxing legend, Manny Pacquiao, to rebrand the event and rename it after arguably the two greatest Filipino boxers of all time. They also decided to expand the coverage of the event to include athletes from other sports. So aside from the usual awards such as Boxer of the Year, Trainer of the Year, and Fight of the Year, among others, Sunday’s event also honored the best contemporary Filipino athletes such as EJ Obiena, Hidilyn Diaz, and Gilas Pilipinas.

Johnny Elorde, son of Flash and president of Johnny Elorde Management International, explained the rationale behind the pivot.

“Boxing has been good to the Elordes, and for the past years we wanted to give back,” Johnny said in a statement, “We thought of giving recognition and honor to our Champion Boxers both Amateur and Professional, and all those responsible in developing the sports – through staging the Gabriel ‘Flash’ Elorde Boxing Awards Banquet of Champions. Our primary aim was to honor their achievements share in their joy and let the world know that dreams are possible if one will focus his attention in honing the craft.

“We were able to achieve our aim and more young boys became champions year in and year out. Modesty aside, we were also happy to share who our father was,  with the younger generations and most of all share what Manny Pacquiao did to have the Philippines land in the world map of sports. Manny is a true legend. A fierce fighter yet a humble person and a man for others.

“We thought it best to collaborate the Pacquiao and Elorde efforts and this inaugural staging of the Pacquiao Elorde Awards is a testament to continue honoring our Champion heroes not only in boxing but in other sports too.”

Star-studded awardees

Among the boxing personalities were Olympic medalists Eumir Marcial and Nesthy Petecio, along with retired Filipino boxing champions Rolando Navarette, Luisito Espinosa, and Rene Barrientos.

Filipino sporting legends were also recognized, and among those present to receive their awards in person included billiards great Efren “Bata” Reyes, who received the loudest applause of the night, and Asia’s first chess grandmaster Eugene Torre. Four-time world bowling champion Paeng Nepomuceno was also honored.

Pacquiao has been known to dabble in both billiards and chess, and he has played against both Reyes and Torre in the past. Reyes claimed Pacquiao beat him, while Torre said their match ended in a draw.

As for the traditional awards, former unified super-bantamweight world champion Marlon Tapales and former world mini-flyweight champion Melvin Jerusalem shared the Boxer of the Year award, while JC Manangquil of Sanman Promotions was named Promoter of the Year.

The event was also graced by World Boxing Council president Mauricio Sulaiman.

Noli James Maquilan knocked out Benny Canete in the seventh round. (Photo by Wendell Alinea)
Yes, there was some boxing

As mentioned earlier, there was also a boxing card. Manny’s MP Promotions put together an eight-bout fight card that started early in the afternoon and finished around dinner time. In the co-main event for the Philippine super flyweight championship, former world title challenger Geimel Magramo of the Johnny Elorde Boxing Stable outpointed Denmark Quibido of the Ata Boxing Stable via unanimous decision over 12 rounds to bounce back from a TKO loss in his last outing in Japan.

Meanwhile, the main event produced fireworks. In a clash for the vacant WBC Asia Continental bantamweight championship, Noli James Maquilan of the Peñalosa Boxing Stable took out Benny Canete of the Omega Boxing Stable with a vicious right to the liver in the seventh round. Canete was counted out and remained on the canvass for several minutes recovering from the blow.

Eman Bacosa celebrates his latest win. (Photo by Wendell Alinea)
A ”special attraction”

One of the fights on the card was labeled “special attraction” and it was between super lightweight newcomer Eman Bacosa of Wild Card Boxing Gym in Gen. Santos City and Jay Clyde Langahin of Blackhawk Boxing Gym in Davao City. The 20-year-old Bacosa won via TKO in the third round to up his record to 3-0-1 (3 KOs), and after the fight, he was asked where he drew his inspiration.

The soft-spoken lad, who always has a ready smile, answered, “Sa pamilya ko po, tsaka sa daddy ko po na advice niya ‘Lagi kang mag train hard. Huwag mong easy-hin ang bawat fight. Kung ano iyong training mo noong nakaraan, ganoon pa rin ang training mo. Basta keep on improving.”

When he was asked about his plans for the rest of the year, he said it depends on what his dad decides. “Hingi rin ako ng advice sa kanya, kung ano ang dapat improve. Alam ko naman na hindi ako iyong pinakamagaling sa mundo ng boxing, so gaya ng ibang boxers nagsisikap din ako para improve iyong sarili ko.”

While he didn’t specifically mention who his dad was, it’s been reported in the past that it’s Manny. The Pac-man has never publicly admitted to being the kid’s father, although in December he attended Eman’s fight and received a hug from the youngster, who posted it on his Instagram account.

Eman is still raw, but if his pedigree is true, then it’s easy to see where he got his all-out action fighting style.

Banner image from Wendell Alinea.

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