Ebo Elder. It's not a name you hear often but one that should be remembered easily enough. There just aren't many guys named “Ebo” around and the number of fighters with that first name would be limited to . . . one. Still, despite a sparkling 20-1-0 record, Ebo Elder is the forgotten man in boxing's Light Welterweight division and only has himself to blame.
Last week on ESPN Friday Night Fights Elder broke down and out-classed Fernando Trejo over ten heats to take a lopsided unanimous decision. Two of the three judges gave every round to Elder while the third found it is his heart to give one round to Trejo. The win marked the fourth straight win in the “comeback” of the Georgia southpaw.
At just 25 years of age a “comeback” is a bit of a strange fit but if the shoe fits, well it fits. Back in 2001 Elder was looking to add something called the NABA Light Welterweight title to his collection of non-descript belts when he took on Ubaldo Hernandez. Something went wrong. Roughly a minute later the fight was over, and Elder went AWOL.
Managed and trained by his father Greg, things had been rosy on the surface, as Ebo had run his undefeated mark to 16-0. Under the surface things were less than peachy. So bad that the day before the Hernandez bout the elder Elder told his son, “You're gonna lose tomorrow.” Not exactly the words a fighter wants to hear from the second half of his two member team.
A Showtime deal was reportedly on the line for Ebo Elder, yet weeks leading up the fight the sparring sessions were nothing compared to the in-fighting between the family members. According to Greg Elder, he and his son had more than one fistfight prior to his son getting paid to exchange blows with Hernandez.
Despite entering the ring for the tenth time that year – a rarity these days – Ebo Elder was both physically and mentally at his end. All he knew was that something had to stop it, he couldn't, and Hernandez provided the solution. The 'exit' door was lit up and Ebo Elder walked through it without looking back.
A year later time had healed the wound between boxer/manager/trainer, but the relationship between father and son was a work in progress. Eventually the past was put in the past and the two built a relationship to move forward. And boxing was just around the corner.
Despite working construction and being in a rock band to pay the bills, the true love for Ebo Elder was boxing, and a ring return was destined. The comeback fight in January of this year was just over two years since the Ubaldo implosion and Elder exploded on Tyrone Wiggins. Taking out years of frustration, Wiggins was stopped inside of three rounds. Bigger things were on the horizon and ESPN came knocking with the challenge.
Oscar Diaz was the undefeated hot prospect and for the first time Elder found himself in the unusual role of underdog. But it wasn't even close. Scoring a lopsided 98-92 decision on all three judges scorecards, the young Elder had put on a clinic on a national stage and he was now the hot prospect once again.
One step at a time is how the Elder's are now taking things, but the crowd of contenders at 140 is going to have to make some Ebo room.