by Ronnie Nathanielsz
Juan Martin “Bai” Elorde, grandson of the late, great Gabriel “Flash” Elorde will fight for the vacant WBO Asia Pacific super featherweight title in the main event of a fight card marking the 13th Gabriel “Flash” Elorde Annual Awards at the Sofitel Philippine Plaza Hotel this evening.
The 28 year old southpaw who carries his grandfather’s nickname is trying desperately to rekindle memories of the glory days of Elorde who reigned as world junior lightweight champion for almost seven-and-a-half years but despite his 13-1, 6 knockouts record has some way to go before he can compare with his illustrious grandfather although he is a southpaw and has somewhat of a similar style.
Elorde faces Thailand’s 34 year old Maxsaisai Sithsaithong who has a record of 12-1 with 3 knockouts and has beaten several Filipino fighters but dropped a unanimous eight round decision in in last fight on October 19 last year to Jack Asis.
Guest of honor at this evening’s “Banquet of Champions” is Congressman Manny Pacquiao, the eight division world champion, national sports hero and international crossover superstar.
For the first time since the annual awards were instituted a Filipino world champion, Nonito “The Filipino Flash” Donaire, will be awarded the prestigious Gabriel “Flash” Elorde Memorial Belt.
Donaire, the reigning WBO, Ring and WBC Diamond Belt super bantamweight champion and 2012 “Fighter of the Year” will also receive a miniature WBC Diamond Belt sent to Liza Elorde, the indefatigable lady behind the annual awards and wife of Johnny Elorde, by WBC executive director Mauricio Sulaiman.
The glossy 5oth Anniversary edition of the WBC was also sent for distribution to the world champions who will be honored including WBO/WBA flyweight champion Brian Viloria, WBO light flyweight champion Donnie Nietes and IBF light flyweight champion Johnreil Casimero.