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April 20, 2014

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Oscar De La Hoya talks Cosmo’s ‘chic’ boxing vibe; Skye Dee Miles soars at Planet Hollywood; and Rohit Joshi’s Niner connection

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Steve Marcus

Oscar De La Hoya, president of Golden Boy Promotions, gives a thumbs up during an official weigh-in at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada September 14, 2012.

It’s rake time for the scene. Junior, grab a couple of Glad bags:

• The first fistic foray (alliteration always agitates) into the stylish Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas by the similarly stylish Oscar De La Hoya is Saturday night. De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Productions boxing event features a promising fighter -- Frankie Gomez -- not even old enough to gamble or drink in that resort. He’s 19. But Gomez is among the rising stars De La Hoya is promoting to reach a younger generation of fight fans. Partnering with the Cosmo, too, is a way to take the fight to the demographic. The fight card will be held in the fourth-floor ballroom known as the Chelsea, more commonly used as a concert venue for such artists as Stevie Wonder, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Johnny Kats and the Funk Wonders.

“The Cosmo is a hip, trendy place, and we’re chasing that next-generation boxing fan by following these young kids,” De La Hoya said in a phone conversation Tuesday. “We’re going to bring in the future of boxing to a place a lot of future fans visit.”

Gomez has a nickname the club crowd is familiar with: “Pitbull.” He hails from East Los Angeles and puts his 14-0 (11 by way of knockout) record on the line against Lanard Lane in a 10-round welterweight bout. That fight is the main event of a card set to begin at 7 p.m. (doors at 6) and will be broadcast live beginning at 8 p.m. on Fox Sports Network and Fox Deportes.

I asked De La Hoya about using a fancy resort as a venue to cultivate young boxers. Is it possible to get the Eye of the Tiger in The Cosmopolitan in the same way young boxers once fought such legendarily cramped and pungent clubs like the old Olympic Auditorium in L.A.?

“I think, once you step into the squared circle, that’s where the fighters have to stay focused,” De La Hoya said. “If you’re talking about the Olympic Auditorium, you think of the smell, the look, the history.” The Olympic was used for some of the fight scenes in “Rocky,” and it’s smell was not at all like the fragrance at The Cosmo, which is more likely to smell like something from the Ralph Lauren cologne line than a boxing venue.

“You have to be careful not to get caught up in all that,” said De La Hoya, a 10-time former world champion in six weight classes and Olympic gold medalist whose promotional operation is partnering with Mayweather Promotions to stage Saturday’s fights. “You can’t let your guard down and let those surrounding take away that hunger that inspires a boxer to be great. This is a great opportunity in a very chic place, but when you’re in the ring, it’s a fight.”

• If you have not seen Skye Dee Miles perform, do so at once. Her Skye 5 band and she are the resident powerhouse at Tropicana Lounge, where on Sunday a varied audience that included Holly Madison, Pasquale Rotella and Josh Strickland turned up to catch the new vocal group BBR perform a set on Skye’s stage. There is a new project at Sin City Theater, with Skye at the center, which begins tonight at midnight. The title of this music showcase in the club at Planet Hollywood is, aptly, “Midnight Skye.” We will report back; if it flies, Skye might well find a new, late-night home.

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Retired tennis players and husband-and-wife Andre Agassi and Steffi Graf attend a quarterfinals match between Mikhail Youzhny of Russia and Roger Federer of Switzerland at the All England Lawn Tennis Championships at Wimbledon, England, on July 4, 2012.

• Of all the awards and Halls of Fame inductions bestowed upon Andre Agassi, one remains: His hometown Southern Nevada Sports Hall of Fame honor. The problem is not achievement -- are you kidding? -- but rather logistics. Word is bubbling up that Agassi is to be honored by that body this year, but travel plans and scheduling are still to be worked out. But it’ll happen, one day, and most likely this year.

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Ron Lurie, former Mayor of Las Vegas and current owner of Ron's Steakhouse inside Arizona Charlie's, Monday, Oct. 15, 2012.

• There are actually two restaurants named for former Las Vegas mayors. One you likely know about: Oscar’s at the Plaza. The other is not so well-known, but it’s a beautiful place named for one of the city’s distinguished former public servants: Ron’s Steakhouse at Arizona Charlie’s Decatur.

The restaurant is named for hotel GM and former Las Vegas Mayor Ron Lurie, whose years in office covered 1987-1991. The steakhouse celebrated its second anniversary this month, and you know what? There was no parade or appearances by showgirls, no bobbleheads given out to VIP diners or any other fancy recognition of that benchmark. The restaurant is pretty unassuming, like Lurie himself, and is a pretty swank date-night spot if you’re looking for something different, stylish and removed from the din. Ron’s also is noteworthy as the place where the most recent Mayors Lunch was held. This is the semi-regular summit of ex-Las Vegas mayors Lurie, Jan Laverty Jones, Oscar Goodman and Carolyn Goodman. This was held in September.

As for other celebrity sightings … there haven’t been any. Unless you consider Lurie in that category, which he doesn’t. And he’s fine with it.

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Matt Goss sings during sound check during rehearsal with Nevada Ballet Theatre at the Smith Center in Las Vegas on Wednesday, May 2, 2012.

• Caesars Palace mainstay Matt Goss is finally, almost, nearly, ready to release his long-awaited CD produced by Ron Fair. This painstaking project has been three years in the making, and expect it to be pretty slick and polished, boasting that familiar Gossy sheen.

During the fabled schmooze session that preceded the Nevada Ballet Theater’s Black & White Gala at Bellagio on Saturday, Gosstronomous mentioned it would be out in 10 days. But I expect it’ll be out, officially, by the end of February. One collaboration, “Touch the Sky,” features Goss working with electronic-music pioneer Paul Oakenfold.

A personal favorite, which Goss sang at an NBT showcase at Smith Center last summer, is “All About the Hang.” The CD’s title isn’t out yet, either, but that would be a good one.

• When you consider Las Vegas newsmakers who have connections to the San Francisco 49ers, Rohit Joshi might not spring to mind. But the Neonopolis overlord does have a connection to the team from decades ago. As his official bio on the Neonopolis website relates, Joshi met then-49ers owner Edward DeBartolo in 1973. At the time, Eddie D. was one of the most successful real-estate developers in the U.S.

DeBartolo suggested Joshi become a tenant in shopping malls with his new retail business, R.J. Music. Over the next two years, Joshi opened 11 stores in shopping malls owned by DeBartolo along the East Coast. That was the start of Joshi’s rise to prominence in commercial real estate.

As they say on the gridiron and in business: Score!

Follow John Katsilometes on Twitter at Twitter.com/JohnnyKats. Also, follow “Kats With the Dish” at Twitter.com/KatsWiththeDish.

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