The Harder They Fall: How I meet Frankie Gambino
By Sunset Thomas, Doghouse Boxing (Sept 4, 2009)  
(It dawned on me that I’ve never really explained to the loyal readers of Dog House Boxing just how I met my ghost of a goombah—Frankie Gambino. So here goes)…

Remember the movie, Harvey? Jimmy Stewart played a nutty sort who had an imaginary friend named Harvey. The catch was, Harvey was a six-foot bunny rabbit! Well, I’ve got an imaginary friend too. Only mine is for real. That is he was a real person…

Anyways, my companion (he goes to all the fights with me) is Frankie Gambino. Frankie was a middleweight. Frankie had one fight—in 1943. He fought Norman Miller in Ocean Park, California. Miller had won three in a row—his first three—and then he faced my buddy Frankie Gambino and Frankie took him on points in four rounds!

Frankie first approached me in Reno, Nevada. He sort of snuck up while I was walking out with the birthday cake for Sam Peter—a top ranked Heavyweight.

Sam had knocked out Taurus Sykes in the second round on July 2nd, 2005 at the Reno Events Center (the Center’s first boxing match and a Showtime production).

Sam had returned to Reno to train for his title match against Wladimir Klitschko in Atlantic City for all the marbles.
So there I am at the Golden Phoenix Casino—it’s Sam’s birthday—the mayor of Reno, Bob Cashell is going to present the Nigerian Nightmare with a plaque announcing that very day as “Samuel Peter Day”…

Me, I’m channeling Marilyn Monroe. I’ve got my blonde tresses teased and I’m wearing a Marilyn-esque dress and I’m accompanying a hotel worker who is rolling out a huge cake on a cart and I’m to sing “Happy Birthday” ala Marilyn at JFK’s birthday party in Madison Square Garden (a place more associated with major boxing events than presidential birthday parties)…

So we’re coming out of the kitchen and I feel someone pinch my ass! I look around, ready to clobber the waiterperson pushing the cart with the cake—but it couldn’t have been him—impossible. And so I shake it off.

Then I hear, “I’d rather grapple with Betty Grable.”

Now, I don’t know who Betty Grable is but I can sense a slight when I hear it and again I look at the kid with the cake but I’m pretty sure he’d know Vanessa Del Rio before he’d know this Betty Grable babe and now I’m getting confused and maybe even a little bit pissed.


That’s what I said. And I said it loud and the guy in the white button up says, “Que Paso?” and I repeat, “What!?” dismissing him with a side-ways glance and a crooked curl of my lip and he freezes and that’s when I hear the voice—now very clearly…

“Hey kid, I’m Frankie Gambino,” that’s what he said.

So I start a dialogue with this voice and the sweet busboy from Juarez, Mexico (he told me so afterwards) is happy to gawk (after all, my dress is very, very low cut)…

“Sunset,” the voice continues. “The boxing Gods have brought us together.”

Me, I’m hoping the boxing Gods have a budget because, hey, I’m a professional.

This Gambino fella continues, explaining to me how he once boxed professionally. How he beat the aforementioned undefeated Norman Miller in Ocean Beach way back when and how he never fought again. And he says he loves broads and boxing and that I bring out the best of both. And he says that for whatever cockamamie reason, he was sent to me—to be in my corner. And how we’d make a great team…

That’s right about when I heard Mayor Cashell saying how it was an honor to have Samuel Peter in town on his birthday and how the city loved him and so on and so forth (which was my cue) and so Miguel (that was the cake curriers name) said, “Pronto. Pronto,” and I started singing and I’m pretty sure that dang Frankie Gambino pinched my booty for a second time!

The son-of-a-gun has been with me ever since….

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