The Harder They Fall: Davy's Locker - Part 1
By Sunset Thomas, Doghouse Boxing (Oct 09, 2012) Doghouse Boxing (Sunset Photo © Christopher Thompson)
Sunset at Davy`s Locker
Larry Flynt, Sunset Thomas & from the Black Eye Peas and the bevy of beauties
The Las Vegas Handball Association photo is of Davey Pearl 1964, he is upper right...The others are Gene Strohlein, Herman Panagutti, and John Romano, Handball doubles champions.
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I recently moved into the Country Club Towers on Desert Inn (Las Vegas). Of course, Frankie Gambino—being a ghost—suggested we find a new haunt.

So we strolled down D.I. and viola there was the perfect place—an Old School bar called Davy’s Locker!

Through the course of usual bar banter we found out that Davy’s was opened in the 60’s by legendary referee Davey Pearl!

Frankie was excited by this bit of boxing history and began talking about the ghosts that certainly lingered in this storied old bar. After all, back in the day, there weren’t that many joints off the Strip where celebs and wiseguys and the like could hang out—mingle—Davy’s was one.

“Pearl was Sonny Liston’s last manager,” Frankie said, sipping an amber potion from a shot glass. “He was the Third Man in the Ring for Ali/Spinks and Leonard/Hearns…” Frankie spoke with such reverence that I could almost see Sinatra and the rest of the Rat Pack raising a toast!

Needless to say, Davy’s has quickly become our regular spot and we were in there one day recently—Boston Dave working the planks—pool balls clanking—drinking—oldies on the radio, when I put in a call to Lou DiBella.

Lou, is of course, a long time acquaintance and promoter of the hottest boxer in our game right now—Sergio Martinez. And so we got to catching up on things…

Lou spoke of the almost mythic match—the Battle of the Century—Ali/Frazier 1—he was just a kid, with a transistor radio and his head under his pillow listening (as was the world).

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Of course that got Frankie Gambino to talk of the 1921 version of the “Battle of the Century”, Dempsey/Carpentier (one of the first major events aired on the radio)…

Lou spoke with great reverence of Ali, “My hero. The handsome hero.” Frankie and I had to agree…

DiBella reminisced of the Saturday ritual—Wide World of Sports and the almost weekly fights.

“I was raised watching Nino Benvenuti. I guess I’ve always been passionate about the fight game. I was a Freshman in college when Spinks beat Ali that first time, I got so caught up in it I busted my ankle!”

Frankie was quick to remind us both that Davey Pearl reffed that particular bout!

Asked about the current state of the fight game, Lou was more circumspect.

“Boxing is facing some challenges here in the States,” he cautioned. “College boxing is on the wane, young athletes are not becoming fighters because the lure of other high profile sports is more appealing. And, of course, there are the politics. Frankly, the MMA hasn’t hurt boxing, boxing has hurt itself.”

Frankie wanted to know who Lou thought were today’s top boxers and DiBella reeled off, Mayweather, Pacquiao, Ward and the top gun of his stable— Sergio Martinez.

Lou’s a busy guy and had to cut the conversation short, with a promise to pick it back up at a later date (which will be Part II of this story)…

Satisfied with our morning Frankie and I had another round when Boston Dave pointed out that the fella seated at a slot machine behind us was an ex-fighter by the name of Alonzo Brown (although the writer was unable to confirm this on Box Rec—Alonzo was, nonetheless, a colorful character).

We introduced ourselves and moved to one of the small round tables for a chat.

Alonzo spoke of being born and raised in Compton, California.

“I lived next door to Henry Armstrong on 134th Place—didn’t know who he was until my Daddy told me…”

“A guy named Jimmy Hayes had a gym and so I went there to train because I loved to fight. He’ll I’d leave a party to go to a fight!”

“But see, that gym only trained amateurs and I didn’t want to be called an amateur because I’d been fighting my whole life in the streets and so I went to a Gym in Pasadena.”

“I was a brawler and I won 11 fights (again, I could not confirm this on Box Rec), then I couldn’t get any more fights. No one wanted a piece of me. Hey, I never lost a fight except at home!”

Frankie and I liked Alonzo—his passion for pugilism, his name-dropping of old time fighters like Zora Folley, Carlos Monzon, Jose Napoles—endeared us to our new found friend.

Needless to say, Davy’s ( has become our new hang-out—old school, spackled with the spirits of a by-gone Sin City era.

(Frankie and I will be back soon with Part II of our adventures at Davy’s Locker)

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