He may not be one of those desperate fighters ready to literally put their lives on the line just to earn a living, but Juan Miguel Elorde has enough reasons to give his all for a shot at the world title.
Elorde, 32, known as Mig to his family and friends, will be vying for the World Boxing Organization superbantamweight crown against emerging Mexican star Emmanuel Navarette Saturday night (Sunday morning, Manila time) in Las Vegas.
Elorde, who has an impressive 28-1 win-loss record with 15 knockouts, grew up in a privileged boxing family and had the opportunity to earn a degree at College of Saint Benilde.
Elorde’s father, Johnny, is the second eldest son of the late world champion Gabriel “Flash” Elorde.
“Sa akin kasi bata pa lang ako pangarap ko na talaga na balang araw maging katulad ko ’yung lolo ko. Ito na po, malapit na kaya sana makuha namin. Gusto ko din maging proud sa akin ang magulang ko,” said Elorde.
The bout against Navarette gives the Elorde grandson a chance to be part of Philippine boxing history as he aims to become the first-ever descendant of a Filipino boxing world champion to win a world crown.
“Bukod po sa graduate ako ng pag-aaral, ito po talaga ’yung sariling pangarap ko. Proud naman po ang parents ko sa akin pero itong pagiging world champion, sariling pangarap ko talaga,” said Elorde, who holds a Hotel and Restaurant Management degree.
It won’t be easy, though, for Elorde as he will be facing an opponent touted as a potential pound-for-pound entrant.
Navarette, 24, (28-1, 24 KOs) stunned the boxing world when he defeated the fearsome Isaac Dogboe of Ghana by 12-round decision to claim the WBO belt in December 2018 in Las Vegas.
Navarette proved that his win over Dogboe was no fluke when he scored a 12th-round TKO win against the Ghanaian boxer in their rematch just in May in Tucson, Arizona.
Navarette seems to be a young man in a hurry as he is coming off a third-round TKO win over compatriot and previously unbeaten Francisco De Vaca just last August 17.
Still, the Mexican fighter reiterates he is not taking Elorde lightly come fight night.
“This opponent is very difficult, a Filipino of high level, but I come psyched, highly trained and motivated to defend my championship in Las Vegas on this special date,” said Navarette during their final presser. “Fans will see a great fight and we will take back the title to Mexico and show Mexican pride, Mexican style and contribute to the celebration of the independence of our beloved Mexico.”
The Navarette-Elorde 12-round title fight to be held at the T-Mobile Arena serves as the co-feature of the heavyweight clash between the unbeaten and returning former champion Tyson Fury and fellow unbeaten boxer Otto Wallin of Sweden.