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Split Decision

Prizefighting judge AND immigration attorney Herb Santos BA ’58, JD ’60 divides his time between boxers and briefs.

By KIMBERLY PRYOR Photographs by KEVIN SCANLON

Step in the office of Herb Santos Sr. in Reno, Nevada, and it’s obvious he’s no ordinary attorney. One wall is covered with photos of Santos and celebrities: Bo Derek, Chevy Chase, Burt Reynolds, Bob Hope, and hey, is vada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) and attended parties hosted by boxing promoter Don King.

“It was raining cats and dogs,” Santos explains of the Douglas photo, taken at a Las Vegas fight. “So they were selling garbage bags.”

Tonight, Santos is judging a team competition, the Italians versus the Americans. Seated ringside, dressed in a pinstripe suit and red tie, he looks robust, even next to the limber young boxers. The bell rings for the final round of the first fight. “Knock the tattoos right off him!” The Italian partisans scream for their guy. Santos tunes it all out.

Tonight, Santos is judging a team competition, the Italians versus the Americans. Seated ringside, dressed in a pinstripe suit and red tie, he looks robust, even next to the limber young boxers. The bell rings for the final round of the first fight. “Knock the tattoos right off him!” The Italian partisans scream for their guy. Santos tunes it all out.

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About the author: Harry T. Author

“I’ve interviewed everyone from singers Dan Fogelberg and Kenny Rogers to a Thomas Jefferson impersonator but Herb Santos, Sr. will remain one of my most interesting interview subjects,” says Pryor. “He has held in his hands the fate of both famous boxers and many immigrants seeking refuge in America.” Pryor has written more than 600 articles for magazines and newspapers including The Huffington Post, San Jose Mercury News, Los Angeles Times, Sacramento Magazine and Alaska Airlines Magazine.
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