Serving as an untelevised undercard for the highly promoted fight between Manny Pacquiao and Antonio Margarito, the formerly undefeated grandson of boxing Hall Of Famer Gabriel "The Flash" Elorde, Juan Martin Elorde (11-0-0 3KO), received his greatest support from halfway around the world in his first fight in the United States of America against the hometown Texan fighter, Angel Rodriguez (4-4-2 4KO).
In a ballroom turned theater located behind the legendary Elorde Sports Center, members of the Elorde family, their friends and several boxing fans from around the Parañaque area gathered together to witness four of their countrymen participate in the Top Rank event.
Out of the four boxers, consisting of Elorde, Pacquiao, Dennis Laurente and Richie Mepranum, only Elorde came out with a scathed record.
Anticipation and concern filled the building as the image of Elorde entering the ring was projected three cards prior to the main event.
The estimated crowd of more than 70,000 strong in the Dallas Cowboys Stadium could not have matched up to that of The Flash Elorde Grand Ballroom, where all were on their feet to show support for the homegrown 25-year-old phenom looking to follow the footsteps of his grandfather, who is immortalized in the sport of boxing.
Confidence was high among the merry congregation as they have never seen their boy "Bai" Elorde fight unsatisfactorily.
Rodriguez began the bout with aggression, coming right into Elorde, who in turn fended him off with pushes and counter punches.
As Elorde attempted to score using his short and quick combinations, Rodriguez sabotaged his plans by holding on and entangling himself with the Filipino. Elorde seemed decided on sticking to his original game plan of smart and effective scoring, ending the round with a couple of big shots landing on his opponent. It was too close to call, earning a ten even on my scorecard.
The second round began with much of the same, Rodriguez determined to assert himself as the aggressor whilst Elorde tried to create space and come through with stiff jabs and smart counters. Both fighters got their messages in, but Elorde came out looking more dominant, thus giving him the edge at the half.
Rodriguez came back in the third round with clinches and power shots that took little toll on Elorde's composure, and the outside style Elorde was trying to apply was cheapened by unnecessary clinches coming from Rodriguez. Nevertheless, Rodriguez capped off the round with good imposition.
The fourth and final round showcased a more active Elorde, who looked as if he could really feel the urgency rushing through his body. Rodriguez's grab-and-go strategy was quelled as Elorde landed huge shots to the head and made his opponent miss wildly-thrown hook shots above his head.
Elorde put the exclamation on the round with a crowd-captivating right hook to his opponent and a better overall display of technical prowess.
In awaiting the judges scorecards, I calculated my own and ended up scoring the fight 39-38 in favor of Elorde. Commentators on the HBO PPV were debating amongst themselves as to whether it should be a draw or a slim margin of victory for Rodriguez.
Upon the arrival of the decision, the excessively hyped crowd became silent and later erupted into boos, due to the unanimous decision of all three judges proclaiming Rodriguez as the winner.
Judges Don Griffin and Arturo Velasquez had it 39-36 and Brock Groom had it 39-37.
After the fight I was able to converse with some of the other people present, whom despite the controversial decision remained optimistic about the outcome. They gave the notion that though he lost, he fought to the best of his abilities and had the knowledge that it did in fact look like a sure victory.
Though the future is still more than bright for the rising Elorde, the thought of his perfect record being tarnished by a questionable decision should serve quite frustrating to all the boxing fans that loyally surround the young up-and-comer.
Michael Konzc, Pacquiao's adviser, gave a comment a few months ago to a source about the supposed possibility of having Elorde fight six rounds in the card. Though Elorde fought only four rounds, it is apparent that the talent is ready to make the jump to the next level.
At the end of the broadcast, the crowd left the building with smiles painted on their faces in celebration of Pacquiao's unanimous decision win over Margarito, and the hope of future success in Elorde's so far bountiful career.
This article is brought to you by: The Carlo Chronicles
Carlo's scorecard: 1 2 3 4 TOTAL
Elorde: | 10 | 10 | 09 | 10 || 39
Rodriguez: | 10 | 09 | 10 | 09 || 38