Wednesday 23rd January 2019,

On This Day in Boxing History: Flash Elorde Beat Sandy Saddler

flashOn this day in 1955, Flash Elorde upset world featherweight champion Sandy Saddler in a non-title fight. The win launched Elorde’s career on the international level.

Elorde had turned professional while still a teenager, losing two of his first 14 fights and drawing in another. But by the mid-1950s, he had developed into a tough and skilled fighter and had captured the Asian bantamweight title.

Saddler was nearing the end of his brilliant career by the time he lost to Elorde, but he was the reigning champion and an all-time, pound-for-pound great. He was most famous for his four-fight rivalry with the legendary Willie Pep.

Saddler won the 1956 rematch for the title, cutting the less experienced fighter and stopping Elorde in Round 13. But four years later, Elorde would break through as a world champion when he stopped Harold Gomes for the world title at super featherweight, in March 1960.

Elorde would hold that title for most of the decade, finally losing it after 10 defenses and over seven years on top. At the same time as he reigned at 130 pounds, he campaigned often at 135, holding the Oriental Pacific Boxing Federation title and twice losing challenges against world champion Carlos Ortiz, in 1964 and again in 1966.

At the time that Elorde came along, there had not be a world champion from his native Philippines in nearly two decades, since the middleweight reign of Flash Elorde in the 1930s. Boxrec ranks Elorde No. 3 all time among boxers from that nation, behind only Manny Pacquiao and Garcia.

Boxrec also ranks Elorde third for all-time super featherweights, behind Azumah Nelson and Alexis Arguello.

Saddler would fight just twice more after winning his rematch with Elorde, knocking out George Monroe and losing by decision in a non-title fight to Larry Boardman. He would retire as champion in 1957 and the division would lack for true stars until Sugar Rams and Vincente Saldivar emerged in the mid 1960s.

Saddler deserves to rank alongside his great rival, Pep, as the top 126-pound fighter in history.

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