Referee Russell Mora stepped in at the 0:26 mark as Elorde’s knees buckled and his legs wobbled after he took a vicious right hook to the jaw. Mora gave Elorde a mandatory eight-count late in the previous stanza when he fell from a left hook although the ropes held him up.
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Mig’s loss nothing to be ashamed of
Joaquin Henson (The Philippine Star) - September 16, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Challenger Juan Miguel Elorde fought valiantly but couldn’t hold back WBO superbantamweight champion Emanuel Navarrete who retained his title on a fourth-round stoppage at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas last Saturday night (yesterday morning, Manila time).

Referee Russell Mora stepped in at the 0:26 mark as Elorde’s knees buckled and his legs wobbled after he took a vicious right hook to the jaw. Mora gave Elorde a mandatory eight-count late in the previous stanza when he fell from a left hook although the ropes held him up.

Elorde came out firing in the first round, throwing combinations to the head and landing short hooks to the body. Navarrete found his range in the second canto and repeatedly caught Elorde coming in with left uppercuts and hooks. In the third, Navarrete drew blood from Elorde’s nose and unleashed power punches from all angles. Despite the Mexican’s furious two-fisted assault, Elorde never backed down and stood his ground. A left hook would’ve sent Elorde to the canvas on the seat of his pants but he fell onto the ropes instead with a second left in the round. Under the rules, a knockdown is counted if a fighter is held up by the ropes going down.

Before the start of the fourth, Elorde’s cornerman Marvin Somodio asked Mora to watch the action closely, meaning to stop it before something serious happens. He didn’t want Elorde to take any more unnecessary punishment. “Sabi ko kay Mig, one more round,” said Somodio. “Ayaw ni Mig sumuko, hirap na siyang huminga kasi may dugo ang kaniyang ilong. Warrior si Mig. Dugong Elorde. Walang takot, nakipagsabayan kay Navarrete. Hanga ako sa puso niya.”

Somodio said viewing Navarrete’s past fights, he saw a flaw. “Slow starter siya kaya sa first round, active at aggressive si Mig,” he said. “But Navarrete’s too strong. Sa second round, pumasok na mga counter ni Navarrete. I wanted Mig to move and box but it’s his instinct to exchange. Actually, I never expected Mig to fight like he did. I’m proud of what he showed.”

There was no protest from Elorde’s camp when Mora waved it off. “Accepted namin,” he said. “Mig was sad, disappointed. But nobody wanted him hurt. The referee stopped it at the right time.”

Elorde said he’s not done fighting. “Sana mabigyan pa ako ng pagkakataon,” he said. “Tingin ko, lumaban ako ng maganda. Navarrete is a great champion. Malakas din siya. Medyo naalangan lang din ako noong dumugo yung ilong ko kaya tinatamaan ako. Kaya ko naman ang suntok niya. Tinatamaan ko din naman siya, naramdaman ko ‘yun. Ang upper lang niya, ‘di ko masyado makita. Tinamaan ako sa second round. Bawi na lang siguro. Pahinga muna at salamat sa lahat sa suporta.”

Elorde’s father Johnny, who was in his corner with Somodio, son Bai and strength/conditioning coach Dan Rose, said: “Naunahan lang kami. Tinamaan sa ilong si Mig at medyo nahirapan huminga. Pero magandang laban. Tinatamaan din namin si Navarrete at nailang din. Importante ay OK naman si Mig at experience ‘yun. Lumaban naman ng maganda.”

Elorde’s mother Liza said: “We’re all proud of Mig. He gave a good fight. For him, I know it’s not the end of his boxing career. As a mother, it’s difficult but I’m thankful to God because he’s OK and not hurt. That is what’s important for me. You win some, you lose some. Mig lost to a great champion but he fought courageously. He never ran, never backed down. Daddy (Mig’s grandfather Flash Elorde) would’ve been proud.”

Elorde, 32, scaled 121 1/4 for the fight while Navarrete, 24, tipped in at 121 3/4. The win raised the Mexican’s record to 29-1, with 15 KOs. The loss snapped Elorde’s streak of 18 straight wins and dipped his record to 28-2, with 15 KOs.

Navarrete’s previous fight was only 28 days ago and this was his third title defense since wresting the crown from Isaac Dogboe last December. He had only a two-day rest from halting challenger Francisco De Vaca in Los Angeles last Aug. 17 but there were no signs of burn-out at all. Elorde was offered to fight Navarrete on three weeks notice and was in training to stake his WBO Asia-Pacific title against Japan’s Daisuke Sugita on Sept. 21. The Sugita bout was postponed for Elorde to seize the chance of a lifetime and achieve his dream of fighting for a world title.

JUAN MIGUEL ELORDE VS EMANUEL NAVARRETE
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