Today in Sports History: ‘Flash’ Elorde and the unveiling of ‘The Big Dome’
Milan Ordoñez on Mar 16, 2015 11:41 AM
Photo credit: Elorde Gilmore Boxing Gym Facebook page
March 16, 1960 marked two iconic moments in Philippine sports memoirs.
This day saw the groundbreaking of the Araneta Coliseum, one of the country’s prime venues for notable sporting events. And very fittingly, it chose to hold what turned out to be one of the biggest upsets in boxing, the match between the late great Gabriel “Flash” Elorde and Harold Gomes.
Then embarking on both his maiden super featherweight title defense and international fight, Gomes was a huge favorite coming into the fight. Elorde, meanwhile, was already nine years into his professional career, gunning for his first shot at 130-pound gold.
Elorde’s relentless attacks were the key to his success. From the bout’s opening stanza, the Filipino southpaw smothered his opponent with combinations, dropping him a total of five times. The final blow came in the seventh round, where referee Barney Ross stopped the fight at the 1:50 mark, when Gomes was unable to answer the ten count.
Elorde then went on to hold the world title for seven straight years, and the Araneta Coliseum held more noteworthy events such as the third fight between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier, a.k.a the “Thrilla in Manila” in 1975, the 1978 FIBA World Championships, and the 2006 battle between Manny Pacquiao and Oscar Larios, among others.
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