By: Bryant Romero
Undefeated Crusierweight prospect Sam “The Vanilla Gorilla” Crossed is almost three years into his professional career where he is now (7-0, 5 KOs) as he’s looking to gain more notoriety and land a TV slot on a network in the near future. The 31-year-old from Maryland is realistic about his career and is currently not thinking about world title aspirations, but taking it one fight at a time and looking to improve in each outing. Boxinginsider recently caught up with Sam to talk about his career what finally made him turn pro at the age of 28.
“My buddy of mine started taking me to the gym when I was younger and I went to the gym when I was 14, but I didn’t really do anything because I didn’t take it serious,” said Sam. I just did it just for training and stuff. I got smacked around a little bit from the older kids when I was younger, so it always kind of motivated me to want to beat their ass when I got older. So when I got the opportunity to box, I just stuck with it.”
Sam as an amateur had 25 fights which he says “should have been a lot more but I was with a guy for awhile that wasn’t really helping me out.” He basically trained himself from the amateurs up until his fourth fight as professional. It was Sam’s last amateur bout that convinced him that he will make a run in the professional ranks.
“In my last amateur fight I fought guy that was 6’5 and 230 pounds,” Sam explained to me. “It was a tough fight and it was close but I lost, he definitely beat me and I was like you know I’m not getting any younger, I might as well turn pro and try to make some money at least. We just decided to go for it.”
As a pro, Sam is just looking to set “smaller goals” and not talking to the press about being a world champion just 7 fights into his pro boxing career. He’s right now just enjoying the moment, enjoying the training and the journey while he pushes to getting significant paydays in the future.
“I do smaller goals, I only have 7 pro fights I’m not talking about how I’m going to be world champ. I set smaller goals. I’m not just doing this for money because I really don’t make shit to be honest at this point.” Sam told me.
“Absolutey I want to make money doing it and I want to make a good payday. I just feel like right now I enjoy doing it, I like it. I have a lot of people that are interested in my career and I’m just setting smaller goals at this point, plus I don’t want to regret it when I get older, not going for it,” he said.
Sam and his manager Mike Walters have been able to get by so far without the presence of a promoter. Being that Sam is a significant ticket seller to the cards he fights on, he’s been able to get away with it. But Sam admits that eventually as he gets deeper into his career and keeps winning; it will be tougher to get fights and will eventually have to sign with a promoter.
“I prefer it (without a promoter) to be honest but the only problem is that this last year it was hard for me to get a fight. I think that would be helpful if a promoter came in. Otherwise me and my manager have done a great job for my career, especially for a guy that wasn’t a decorated amateur,” Sam said.
“We sell a lot of tickets; we’ve done a lot so I’m happy with it so far. I think at some point there’s probably going to be a time I will need to sign with a promoter, but right now I think we’re doing great.”
Sam told me that about 90% of people that buy tickets to his fights are people that don’t even follow boxing and that having somebody to follow that they know, keeps them coming back.
The 31-year-old has scored some highlight reel knockouts in his career and in the amateurs he relied on his power, but now with a stronger supporting cast, he is looking to develop into a boxer/puncher.
“I think I have power and I can punch, but there was time I was relying on that,” he told me. So I think I’ve been becoming more of a boxer/puncher based off what my coaches are getting me to do.
“Up until my fourth pro fight I literally just trained myself. It was hard, I was lost and now I train with Jarrett Hurd and his coaches. I’m at the same gym with him. You wouldn’t even recognize me between now and before I started training there. I feel like I’m just getting better too and just getting more comfortable with boxing,” Sam said.
For 2018, Sam’s goals in boxing are simple, be active, get as much fights as possible and maybe even get a TV date this year.
“I want to get two or three more fights this year, possibly get a TV date and just keep moving up and see it where it takes us,” Sam said. “I just want to stay busy and get the right fights and hopefully move towards making some decent money at least. I’m enjoying the ride that’s all it matters.”