Cinderella Men

by Malou Liwanag-Aguilar/AJPress

LOS ANGELES – Pacman. The Flash. Villa. Three men who pushed their limits, and raised the level of the Filipino fighter in the world of boxing.

It’s amazing how determination coupled with discipline can change not only one’s life, but history. In the case of these three men, it is so true. These legends not only share a common factor of being champions, as the similarities go outside the ropes. Their fighting styles, techniques and the intensity of their jabs may be differ from each other, but their passion to pursue greatness links them together as one.

They have overcome the odds – poverty, the matches they lost and the bruises left by their opponents. However, they all continued to perform what they do best, and that is to fight.

Pancho Villa’s brief but brilliant career has gained the respect of his foreign counterparts. He is, after all, touted as the ‘Greatest Asian Fighter.’

Gabriel “Flash” Elorde was the longest reigning world junior lightweight champion – seven years and three months. He also became the first Asian inducted in the New York-based International Boxing Hall of Fame.

Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao is the first Filipino to win three world titles in three different weight divisions (Pacman is a former WBC Flyweight Champion, IBF Super bantamweight and now WBC Super featherweight). On Saturday, he is scheduled to fight David Diaz in Las Vegas. Whatever the outcome may be, win or lose, there is no doubt that Filipinos will always see Pacman as a champion.

Some people may label the sport as “evil” misguided and pious. Others may see it as a cruel and unusual sport. Yes, there is much about boxing that is ugly – the exploitation, the corrupt characters who leach on to the fighters for their own personal gain and the punch-drunk boxers. However, every sport, every game has its dark side. We must always sift through the mud to find gold.

Champion boxer Muhammad Ali once said, “I hated every minute of training, but I said, ‘Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.’” For Pac-Man, Flash and Villa, they also probably did – but they already have carved their respective places in history.


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