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Beasts from the East

RICKY HATTON V MANNY PACQUIAO
Venue: MGM Grand, Las Vegas, USA
Date: Sunday 3 May
Start: Approx: 0400 BST Coverage: Full commentary on BBC Radio 5 Live, text commentary on BBC Sport website

By Ben Dirs

Manchester's light-welterweight king Ricky Hatton meets Filipino superstar Manny Pacquiao in Las Vegas on 2 May.

With the bout dubbed 'The Battle of East and West', BBC Sport profiles the only four men from Asia to have been inducted into the International Hall of Fame.

PANCHO VILLA - PHILIPPINES (92 wins, 8 losses, 4 draws)

Pancho Villa
Villa's is one of the most tragic stories in boxing

Born Francisco Guilledo in 1901 and, so the story goes, named after the famous Mexican bandit, Villa's coruscating rise from an obscure corner of the Philippines and his early demise is one of the most tragic stories in boxing. Given the sport's track record, that's saying something.

Villa grew up in Ilog in the province of Negros Occidental and had his first professional fight in 1919. He was taken under the wing of American promoter Frank Churchill and, in 1922, was invited to the United States by legendary promoter Tex Rickard.

In June 1923, Villa fought Welsh great and former flyweight world champion Jimmy Wilde for the vacant crown at New York's Polo Grounds. He battered his rusty opponent, dropping him in rounds four and five before knocking Wilde out in round seven.

Villa defended his title several times, both in the United States and the Philippines, before losing a non-title bout against Jimmy McLarnin on 4 July 1925.

Villa had fought McLarnin with a tooth infection and had three more teeth extracted after the fight. Against his doctor's wishes, he spent the next week partying with friends.

Ten days later, and 17 days before what would have been his 24th birthday, Villa was dead, the infection having spread to his throat. He was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1994.

GABRIEL 'FLASH' ELORDE - PHILIPPINES (88 wins, 27 losses, 2 draws)

Elorde was born and raised in the town of Bogo, Cebu, and joined the pro ranks in 1951 at the age of 15. The following year he won the national bantamweight title before claiming the Oriental bantamweight title at the age of 17.

However, it was his defeat of featherweight world champion Sandy Saddler in a non-title bout in 1955 that brought him to the world's attention.

Elorde fought superbly in the rematch with Saddler's title on the line, but was stopped on cuts in the 13th round and frozen out of the title picture for the rest of the decade.

However, in March 1960 Elorde's time did come again, and on this occasion he made no mistake, stopping American Harold Gomes in seven rounds to win the world super-featherweight crown.

Elorde defended his title 10 times over the next seven years, and twice took Carlos Ortiz to the 14th round in challenging for the Puerto Rican legend's world lightweight crown.

Japan's Yoshiaki Numata relieved Elorde of his world super-featherweight title in June 1966 and Elorde retired in 1971. A national treasure, much like Pacquiao, Elorde died of lung cancer at the age of 49 in 1985. He was the first Asian fighter to be inducted into the International Hall of Fame in 1993.

MASAHIKO 'FIGHTING' HARADA - JAPAN (55 wins, 7 losses)

Fighting Harada
Harada was the only man to beat Brazil's Eder Jofre

Harada was born in Tokyo and turned pro in 1960 at the age of 16. He won his first 25 fights before dropping a split decision to Edmundo Esparza of Mexico.

However, in October 1962 Harada got a shot at Pone Kingpetch's WBA flyweight crown and knocked out his Thai opponent in the 11th round.

Harada lost a rematch three months later, before moving up to 118lb and becoming the first man to win world titles at flyweight and bantamweight by outpointing Brazilian great Eder Jofre in May 1965. Harada, who was the only man to beat Jofre in a 78-fight career, repeated the trick the following year.

Harada defended his title four times, but lost it to Lionel Rose, the first Australian aborigine to win a world boxing title, in February 1968.

Spurred on by dreams of becoming a rare three-weight world champion, Harada then challenged Australia's Jonny Famechon for the WBC featherweight belt in July 1969, losing a controversial referee's decision. Harada was knocked out in the rematch, his last fight.

Japan's greatest boxer, Harada was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1996 and became president of the Japanese Boxing Commission in 2002.

KHAOSAI GALAXY - THAILAND (49 wins, 1 loss)

Galaxy (real name Sura Saenkham) was a relentless and hard-hitting southpaw who laid waste to the super-flyweight ranks in the 1980s and early 1990s.

'The Thai Tyson', as he would become known, started out as a kick boxer (like Pacquiao), but switched to using just his fists in 1980. Galaxy lost his seventh fight in 1981, but would never taste defeat in the ring again.

Galaxy challenged for the vacant WBA super-flyweight crown in November 1984 and knocked out Eusebio Espinal of the Dominican Republic in the sixth round.

Galaxy then embarked on a reign of terror in the 115lb ranks, defending his WBA crown 19 times, knocking out 16 of his opponents and proving himself every bit as destructive as his heavyweight namesake.

He fought just once outside South-East Asia, meaning he is unknown to most except boxing buffs, and hung his gloves up as champion in 1992. His twin brother, Kaokor, captured the WBA bantamweight title in 1988.

Galaxy, who now works in the Thai entertainment industry, was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1999.



see also
Hatton slams Pacquiao credentials
21 Apr 09 |  Boxing
Mayweather Sr to stay with Hatton
27 Mar 09 |  Boxing
Hatton relishes Pacquiao showdown
29 Jan 09 |  Boxing
Hatton's Pacquiao fight confirmed
26 Jan 09 |  Boxing
Pacquiao stops 'empty' De la Hoya
07 Dec 08 |  Boxing
Slick Hatton defeats Malignaggi
23 Nov 08 |  Boxing
Pacquiao claims lightweight title
29 Jun 08 |  Boxing


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