Sunset Thomas Writes: The Harder They Fall: Crown Boxing

from – Sunset Thomas writes: When Crown Boxing puts on an event in the Mardi Gras Ballroom at the Orleans Casino here in Vegas, the press is seated around the ring (though there are no bad seats in the house, ringside is a step up for the press compared to the other larger Las Vegas venues).

So I let Frankie Gambino select our seats. And of course he chose a neutral corner (there are two of those, if you don’t know). Of course, Frankie the freakazoid selected the one next to the spot the ring-girls (a couple of very fine filly’s from the Bada-Bing strip club) climbed through the ropes and then returned between rounds!

Actually, that was okay by me. I like a tanned and toned tart as much as the next person.

I love going to the Orleans and watching Crown Boxing events. I love going to small venues. I like watching hungry young pros with nothing to lose and only experience to gain. Frankie does too, he says back in the day they called ‘em “smokers” because you could hardly see the ropes through the wafts of cigar and cigarette smoke that filled the tiny auditoriums that hosted round after round of competitive, boxing matches by guys hoping to make a name for themselves (not that you can smoke inside the Mardi Gras Ballroom).

Of course, we were at the event for the expressed purpose of watching young Rocco Santomauro’s pro debut (I wrote about the young’en in my last article) and he didn’t disappoint.

Frank Lucca, who promotes Rocco as well as the Orleans cards, could well have stuck the kid in with a fighter who either hadn’t yet fought (just as Rocco) or who had a losing record. Let’s be honest, the commission—even the grand Nevada State Boxing Commission—would have sanctioned almost anyone for a debut fighter. But no, Lucca and trainer Pops Anderson and conditioning coach Bobby Chiodini wanted to test the kid right out of the gate. And so they paired him with a pretty fair pug by way of Tucson by the name of Jose Fernandez—a kid with only one previous pro fight—but a win at that. Another hungry, young stallion making his Vegas debut after winning his opener in Arizona.

Frankie took his ogling eyes off the Bada Bing girls long enough to enunciate a sentence when in the first round Rocco knocked Fernandez to the canvas! “See that! The kids first fight. The first round. And shebang, he gets a knockdown. That’s an omen, that’s portentous, that’s a fine way for the young Rocco to start his pro career,” Gambino roared in my ear.

And although he never landed the “big one” Rocco did fight a spirited four-rounder against an equally spirited opponent, taking a unanimous decision. Chiodini was thrilled and couldn’t wait to tell us that the young buck would fight again on a Crown card on January 22nd—again at the Orleans.

Each of the five fights on the card that night provided excellent entertainment and the finale—the main event—was an eight rounder between Cruiserweights Harley Kilfian and Patrick “100%” Liles (a local favorite). Kilfian was probably the toughest opponent Liles had faced—8 wins, 7 by KO with only 2 losses (both coming by decision).

Liles, who is something of a KO specialist himself, had however, lost his previous two outings and so this was something of a make or break bout. Liles didn’t disappoint. After losing the first round to the slugging Kilfian, Liles closed out the second with a blast that sent Harley sprawling to the canvas—unable to rise to the count, referee Jay Nady waved it off—A knockout to end an evening of boxing!

Frankie Gambino is a big fan of Frank Lucca and Crown Boxing and for good reason. See Frankie is old school—in fact, I told him he was “Ancient school,” as he continually passed smiles to the green eyed, tanned, perky ring girl. He’s such a hound!

Frankie is proud of quoting the late, great Howard Cosell who said of Luca, “The man of the hour who brings his fighters to win.” And Cus D’amato: “Frank is the man who makes things happen.”

“Kid,” he told me, “Luca promoted Earnie Shavers and you know what? He was one hellava fighter hisself—undefeated as a pro, until an eye injury put him out of the game.”

See, what Frankie Gambino and I both love about Crown Boxing bouts are that fighters are paired evenly. You get battles. You get hungry pugs. Unlike, so many undercard bouts at the bigger venues, where promoters pit rising hopefuls against fighters that will do little to threaten their ascension, Luca puts two combatants together, who are trying to make their mark. Trying to earn respect and learn the ropes with hopes of rising in class and caliber. And baby, that’s what an entertaining evening of boxing should be all about!

Las Vegas is known as “The Fight Capital of the World,” and for damn good reason. We have Top Rank, with Bob Arum, we have Golden Boy Promotions with Oscar De La Hoya, we have the occasional Duva Boxing event as well as others, but what we have on a monthly basis is Friday Night Fights at the Orleans Casino!

To loyal readers of Dog House Boxing, I hope you’ll all go to and search for Anatomy of an Adult Film, that’s my book—it’s doing well. Anatomy of an Adult Film is a fast-paced read and a sexy romp—I’m sure you’ll love it!

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