Sam ‘The Vanilla Gorilla’ Crossed returns


It’s been nearly a year since cruiserweight Sam Crossed has fought and he returns this Saturday night, at the Gardens Ice House, in Laurel, Maryland.


So just why has Crossed been sidelined for so long?


He explained to, “For some reason, there haven’t been any shows put on in the area at all. There were a couple of Golden Boy shows but they pretty much only put their fighters on. The Gary Russell (featherweight title defense versus Joseph Diaz Jr.) card wasn’t too long ago. We tried to get on that but the matchmaker didn’t seem too interested in us. And then just the lack of cards in general.”


For a 31-year-old fighter who’s still still at the four and six-round level, time isn’t necessarily on his side. When asked if he had thoughts of moving on from boxing during this sabbitical, he answered, “It was frustrating but at no point was I ever thinking that but, especially at my age, the sacrifice you have to make in order to do this, like certain jobs that I don’t necessarily like but they work around my training schedule, stuff like that.


“It got to the point where I was like, ‘Well, if I’m at a job I don’t like in order to box and I’m not getting any fights – what is the point?’ It definitely crossed my mind, so it was tough but I was just trying to be patient with it and it worked out.”


A few months ago, Crossed quit his job as a bartender at Madam’s Organ and is teaching a boxing class, among other current gigs.


Crossed has been a valuable addition to local club shows with his ability to sell tickets but without a long-term promotional deal, he may find it difficult to get slots on the bigger shows in the Maryland/D.C. area from which he hails. Perhaps its time to sign on the dotted line?


“We’ve been thinking about that; it depends. Hopefully there’s not another lull in shows in this area. But if it does get to that, we’ll do what we have to do in order for my career to progress, if I want to do this. But hopefully not, not at this stage, at least.”


So should Crossed come out relatively unscathed on Saturday night, then what?


“The promoters for this fight were actually asking my manager (Mike Walters), ‘Please make sure he doesn’t take another fight right after this one because we’re going to put on more cards,’ so that’s good to know.”


The short term plan for 2018 is to make up for lost time, “I’d like to get four (fights this year), honestly, especially at my age. I need to get on the ball, especially having 11 months off, and all that, but I think it’s definitely realistic.”


Cross says that staying disciplined that past year was “not that difficult. I actually enjoy training. I like my gym; I like all my guys there. But there’s a difference between doing that and a fight camp. But I stay in shape; I actually enjoy it. So it’s not like I’m ballooning up in weight or anything like that.”


During this time, he actually was an extra in the “Creed” sequel and, most notably, he stood across the ring from Mike Tyson in this commercial that made its debut during the Super Bowl, a couple of years ago:



Now Crossed finally finds himself back in action this weekend – but there is one drawback. Crossed is an avid boxing fan, one who regularly goes to fights on the East Coast and, this Saturday, he’ll miss the Showtime broadcast featuring IBF welterweight titlist Errol Spence Jr.


“So it does bum me out,” he admitted, with a chuckle, “but, at the same time, fighting on Saturdays is so much easier and better than fighting on Fridays, especially out there because traffic is sooo bad. So Saturdays are better for us but I’m used to missing fights anyways because the weekends I was working.”





Hearing from multiple sources that the July 14 event in Malaysia featuring Lucas Matthysse vs. Manny Pacquiao is in jeopardy, as there are some financial issues related to that promotion. Funds are due on June 15 (that would be today) to several parties and, well – it doesn’t look good…Junior welterweight Luis Feliciano is developing nicely, early on, as a professional…So are stablemates Daniel Jacobs and Sergey Derevyanchenko really going to fight for the vacant IBF middleweight title?…Manuel Robles Jr. scored an eye-opening victory over Edgar Valerio, stopping him in nine on Thursday night…I can be reached at and I tweet (a lot) at I also share photos of stuff at and can also be found at




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