Sam "The Vanilla Gorilla" Crossed is an undefeated cruiserweight professional boxer from Greenbelt, MD.
In November 2015, Crossed was featured in an Under Armour boxing commercial about the late Muhammad Ali. Crossed is shown hitting a heavy bag during the video. Also featured in the commercial is Mexican superstar Saul "Canelo" Alvarez.
During Super Bowl 50, Crossed was featured in a regional commercial starring former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson for a DMV plumbing and heating company called Michael and Son Services. In the commercial, Crossed is shown showboating after landing a combination that stunned Tyson's son Amir, when Tyson enters the ring and proceeds to knock Crossed out.
The day of his fight in July 2017, a feature on Crossed was on the front page of The Washington Post sports page. The publication receives more than 90 million views per month.
Famous actor and television host Mario Lopez is a proud supporter of the "Vanilla Gorilla".
Crossed is outfitted by Everlast and sponsored by Jersey Mike's Subs.
Crossed hones his craft at Hillcrest Boxing Gym under the tutelage of Ernesto Rodriguez, who also trains undefeated IBF/WBA Junior Middleweight World Champion “Swift” Jarrett Hurd.
Crossed has been in the boxing gym training and fighting since his teen years. He was a standout linebacker at Eleanor Roosevelt High School playing alongside future NFL players Jared Gaither, Derrick Harvey, Will Davis and Derrick Williams. After high school, he put boxing on the backburner to accept a football scholarship to play and study at Duquesne University. Due to a stomach issue, ulcerative colitis, and having to have a large amount of his small intestine removed, he was not able to continue with football and had to leave the university.
Crossed is a veteran of over 30 amateur fights, which includes a bout against world-rated light heavyweight contender Thomas Williams Jr. "I have had a lot of amateur and pro fights and don’t remember a lot about them, but I do remember that Sam hits hard," Williams Jr. said.
"I have trained in a bunch of gyms in the D.C. and Baltimore area," Crossed said. "I started back in the day at Round One, there were a ton of world champions, pro's and great amateurs working out there at the time." In addition to training at Round One, he has trained with fighters at Sugar Ray Leonard Boxing Gym, Tom Yankello's World Class Boxing in Pittsburgh, Baltimore Boxing Club, Steel City Boxing and Old School Boxing in Fort Washington, MD.
"I am pretty sure Sam broke my nose in sparring," said world-rated undefeated welterweight prospect, Dusty Hernandez-Harrison. "I swear I never had a nose bleed in my life before that from boxing and now every time I spar it seems like I get one thanks to him."
In August 2013, the heavy-handed Crossed scored one of the most impressive knockouts in USA Boxing history when he obliterated Washington, D.C.'s Adrien Bean just four seconds into the bout with a vicious left, right combo.
Crossed had hoped to compete in the Olympic Qualifier's last year but an injury to his foot cost him an opportunity at a chance to represent his country in 2016. "I figure that I am 28 years old so it's now or never for me," Crossed said. "I would have loved to have had a chance to represent the Red, White and Blue, but things happen and now it’s time for me to take the next step in my boxing career."
Former amateur standout and current cruiserweight contender Nick Kisner has sparred many rounds with Crossed and seems to think he's better suited for the pro game. "He's a good guy; very patient and agile for a big guy," said Kisner. "He sits back and sets up his shots with good accuracy and power."
"I like to think of myself as blue collar guy in and out of the ring," Crossed said. "I am just going to work my ass off to be the best I can be."
On December 4, 2015 at Rosecroft Raceway in Fort Washington, MD, Crossed made a successful pro debut as he stopped John Felty of Columbus, OH at 1:14 of the first round. Crossed dropped Felty with a counter left hand early in the round. Felty beat the count but Crossed pressured Felty into a neutral corner and landed punches that forced the referee to stop the bout.
On February 27, 2016 in front of a sellout crowd at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, Crossed won his second professional bout by four-round unanimous decision over crafty veteran Martez Williamson of Akron, OH by scores of 40–36 and 39–37 (twice).
On the Sunday before his fight, Crossed was hospitalized with a stomach virus that landed him in the ICU for two days. Against the advice of his doctors and management he went through with the scheduled match up. "I sold a ton of tickets, not including all the people I knew would buy them at the door, so I didn’t want to let my fans down," Crossed said. "I felt terrible in the ring that night, I just had to gut it out."
On May 13 at the D.C. Armory, Crossed won a four-round majority decision over tall, rangy southpaw Damion Reed of Danville, VA. Crossed was tested early in the fight, but he adjusted well and was able to land hard shots in the second half of the bout to win by scores of 40–36, 39–37, and 38–38. Crossed sold $10,000 worth of tickets for his fight.
On August 19 at the Hilton Crystal City in Arlington, VA, Crossed scored a devastating one punch knockout of Iowa native Mike Estus at 2:03 of the first round. Estus spent most of the fight showboating, and Crossed made him pay for it. He connected with a flush left hook that sent Estus flat on his back, his head bouncing off the canvas. The knockout was voted the 2016 Knockout of the Year by world-renowned blog Boxing Along The Beltway.
On October 19 at the Grady Cole Center in Charlotte, NC, Crossed stopped Michael Tillery of Wilson, NC at 1:22 of the second round. This was Crossed first fight outside of the DMV and the card was the first promoted by former female world champion boxer Christy Martin.
Crossed showcased his grit and toughness on the road, by being able to get the knockout despite suffering a broken right hand during the opening round. I knew I had broken my hand about a minute or so into the fight,” Crossed said. "So I just went out in the second looking for the knockout and I got him out of there."
On July 15, 2017 at the Sphinx Club in Northwest D.C., Crossed scored a fourth-round knockout of 14-fight veteran of James Jones of Nashville, TN. It was a triumphant return to the ring for Crossed in his first fight back since suffering a broken bone in his right hand in his last fight. Coming off a nine-month layoff, Crossed scored three knockdowns in route to his win, which put a halt to Jones’ two-fight win streak.
"I felt very relaxed in there and the hand felt great," Crossed said. "I have been training with Ernesto for the last year and I have learned more in that time than I have learned since I started boxing."
In his most recent fight on June 16, 2018, Crossed won in spectacular fashion, knocking out his previously undefeated opponent, Josh Jones, just 23 seconds into the first round with a brutal overhand right. Coming off an 11-month hiatus, the longest of his career, Crossed delivered his best performance to date since turning professional. With the win, Crossed improved his perfect record to 7-0, with 5 knockouts.
It was a shot my trainer and I had been working on in the gym,” Crossed said. “This was the best camp I have had in my career and I felt more relaxed than ever before.”
Crossed will be looking to make up for lost time with a quick ring return later this summer.
It looks like we could have Sam back in the ring and possibly in a televised fight next time out if everything falls into place,” Crossed’s manager Mike Walters said. “He had a huge crowd for this fight and put on a hell of a performance for as long as it lasted.”
“I just want to get back in the ring as soon as possible,” Crossed said. “I feel like I have improved leaps and bounds since I made my debut and I am looking to step up in my next fight.”
“I want to fight as often as possible against better opposition every time out.”