Brinkley, Gilbert are really contenders

Unlike Marlin Brando who lamented about how he "coulda been a contender" in "On the Waterfront," Yerington's Jess Brinkley and Reno's Joey Gilbert are actually contenders.

The two boxers are among 16 boxers who have been chosen to participate in the Sylvester Stallone produced reality series, "The Contender." The 16 middleweight fighters will compete for a grand prize of $1 million.

The series premiere is at 9:30 p.m. Monday on NBC. In the end, two fighters will for the $1 million in a live bout on May 24 at Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas.

The 28-year-old Brinkley is 23-1 with 16 knockouts. Brinkley's biography that was released by the show's producers states:

"Jesse is a loud and lovable country boy. He is the class clown - all about fun, all the time. He has an abudance of energy and a great sense of humor even about himself. Jess loves to have an audience laughing at his jokes.

"He learned how to fight from Rocky movies and with a heavy bag his stepfather hung in his garage. He soon developed a tough guy reputation and quickly began knocking out all the kids in small-town Yerington.

"His amateur career was very brief as he hated fighting with headgear, disliked the amateur point scoring system and just wanted the chance to knock guys out.

"Jesse's dream is to fight Oscar De La Hoya, but if that doesn't happen he would be just as happy living out in the desert, hunting, fishing and drinking beer for the rest of his life."

The 28-year-old Gilbert, who also serves as Brinkley's agent, is 8-0 with seven knockouts. Gilbert's biography as released by the show's producers states:

"Born in Chicago, Joey moved West as a young boy where he lived an ideal like childhood on a family ranch in Reno. His father is a Navy flight surgeon attached to a Marine Reconnaissance unit who has been serving in Afghanistan. His mother is a caring Italian-Catholic mother and also a nurse. His sister serves as a nutritionist, strength coach and endurance trainer and a key asset to his success. The family revolves around the men and Joey and his father are the heroes.

"Joey began his boxing training later than most typically do while attending the University of Nevada. He served as team captain and won four NCAA regional and three NCAA national championships. He had quite the college career beyond boxing - earning a bachelor's in English literature and minored in political science and Italian studies. Additionally he served in student government and was an active member of his fraternity and the community.

"Upon graduation, Joey enlisted in the Nevada Air National Guard. He was placed on individual duty reserve while he earned a law degree at Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego. He's currently applying to serve as a Judge Advocate General in either the Naval or Air Force Reserve.

"Joey won't let up until he achieves his ultimate goals - to be Junior Middleweight World Champion and to be a positive example for the sport of boxing."

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