MANILA, Philippines - Manny Pacquiao leads a slew of 2009 champions which include six world titleholders, 44 international champions and 15 Philippine tilists in the biggest ever gathering of Filipino professional boxers during the 10th Gabriel “Flash” Elorde Memorial Boxing Awards Thursday night at the Harbor Garden Tent of the Sofitel Hotel.
Pacquiao will be honored as the only boxer to win seven championship belts in seven different divisions in ceremonies also commemorating the 25th death and 75th birth anniversary of Flash Elorde, the undisputed world junior lightweight champion from 1960-67.
He will also be in attendance as guest of honor and speaker during the two-hour rites also dubbed the Flash Elorde “Banquet of Champions,” an exclusive gathering of world, international and Philippine champions in 2009.
The Gabriel “Flash” Elorde Awards is hosted by the Elorde Sports Foundation and sponsored by the Johnny Elorde Management International with Cobra Energy Drink as co-presentor.
The awards will be presented by the Elorde family led by the boxing legend’s wife, Laura. Liza Elorde and Ted Lerner are the masters of ceremonies.
The awards night, presented for the 10th straight year to honor boxing greats and all those who contributed to the development of pro boxing, is supported by Smart Communications, Cobra Energy Drink, the PCSO, Pagcor and Sofitel Hotel, Elorde Gyms, Southpaw Bar & Grill and Bai & Mig Party Favors.
To receive honors as Boxers of the Year are Nonito Donaire (IBF flyweight), Brian Viloria (IBF jr flyweight), Donnie Nietes (WBO strawweight), Gerry Peñalosa ((WBO bantamweight), Marvin Sonsona (WBO flyweight) and Rodel Mayol (WBC light flyweight).
Boxing bouts start at 5 p.m. while the awarding ceremonies start at 6:30 p.m.
The recipients of Top Honorees awards are Michael Aldeguer (best promoter), Vice Gov. Emmanuel Pinol (best manager) Buboy Fernandez (best trainer), Silvestre Abainza (best referee) and Mark Jason Melligen (most promising boxer).
The best-fight-of-the-year award will be presented to Michael Landero and Rolen del Castillo who fought for the RP minimumweight championship on Nov. 21, 2009.
Special Awards will be conferred on Naris Singwacha, boxing promoter from Thailand, Parañaque Mayor Florencio Bernabe and Pasay Mayor Wenceslao Trinidad.
Three former amateur champions who will be on the Honor Roll are former Olympic medalists Leopoldo Serrantes (bronze, 1988 Seoul Olympics) and Roel Velasco (bronze, 1992 Barcelona Olympics) and Ricardo Fortaleza (gold, 1970 Bangkok Asian Games)
Also to be given recognition are Amateur Female Boxer of the Year Annie Albania and Amateur male boxer of the year Charly Suarez.
The posthumous award will be conferred on the late Rod Nazario, long-time promoter and manager.
To spice up the evening, WIBA World champion Gretchen Abaniel will defend her crown against Fahpratan Looksaikongoin of Thailand in the main event which will also have the 2 grandsons of Flash Elorde appearing in the card. Both undefeated, Juan Miguel “Mig” Elorde will face Anthony Balubar in 6 rds. while Juan Martin “Bai” Elorde will battle Kan Hamongkol of Thailand for 8 rds. RP featherweight champion Vinvin Rufino will also face Adonis Aguello of Cebu in the third defense of his crown.