BY MIKE HOUSER
Appeal Sports Writer
It looks as though Northern Nevada fight fans can finally rejoice. Two days after he reached an amended stipulated agreement with the Nevada State Athletic Commission and the Nevada Attorney General's Office, temporarily suspended Reno middleweight Joey Gilbert called out local rival Jesse Brinkley " and the Yerington bad boy wasted no time in accepting the challenge.
"In the last 48 hours, I have received hundreds of text messages, phone calls, and e-mails from people asking me when Joey Gilbert and Jesse Brinkley are finally going to fight," the 32-year-old Gilbert said in a prepared statement Thursday. "Everywhere I go in Reno, people stop me and ask the same question: 'When are you fighting Jesse?' Northern Nevada wants to see this fight and I don't think anyone wants it more than I do. I know Jesse feels the same way. With that said, I cordially invite Mr. Jesse Brinkley to meet me in Reno before the end of 2008, and fight to the finish."
Gilbert, 15-1 with 11 knockouts and 1 no-contest, was fined $10,000 and had another 40 days tacked on to what will ultimately be a one-year suspension by the NSAC at an in-person disciplinary hearing Tuesday at the Reno City Council Chamber office.
Gilbert, who has been stripped of his WBO-affiliated North American Boxing Organization (NABO) and WBC-affiliated Unites States National Boxing Championship (USNBC) middleweight belts, can get back in the ring as early as Sept. 22 if he provides a clean drug and steroid test to the commission, who said they could also randomly test him at any time in the future.
As part of the agreement Gilbert, who had initially tested positive for six banned substances, accepted responsibility for having one metabolite of the steroid Stanazolol in his system following a fight with Charles Howe, of Grelton, Ohio, Sept. 21, 2007, at the Grand Sierra Resort, in Reno. The bout, a one-round technical knockout in favor of Gilbert, was changed to a no-decision by the commission.
The 31-year-old Brinkley, 31-1 (21), who is coming off a 12-round unanimous decision victory over Canadian light heavyweight champion Jason Naugler on June 13, said he looks forward to finally getting in the ring with Gilbert after the pair had a falling out following filming of the NBC reality boxing show "The Contender," in 2004.
"I accept any offer that is given to me with open arms." Brinkley said Thursday. "The best man wins. Let's fight. I'm ready. I'm done with the B.S. Set the date, set the price, let's fight. Let's just do it."
According to Brinkley, who is ranked No. 12 by the WBO, on a five-fight winning streak and owns the USNBC super middleweight belt, the fight will occur in Reno between Dec. 6 and Dec. 12.
Let's Get It On Promotions chief executive officer Terry Lane, who along with his brother Tommy Lane promotes Brinkley, said some details have yet to be worked out, but he is amenable to the proposed matchup.
"We haven't straightened it out yet, but we're going to try and get television involved," Terry Lane said. "They want to fight each other; we want to make it happen."
Brinkley said he would remain inactive until the fight, while Gilbert would fight in late-September.
After trying to goad his rival into fighting him for several years now, Brinkley said an extended bout of texting between him and Gilbert was responsible for Gilbert's public challenge.
"I told him, 'You can't beat me; I have more knockouts than you have fights. At the end of the night I'm going to be standing with both hands raised in victory and smiling at you,'" said Brinkley, who has accused Gilbert of not paying him the money he said the licensed attorney had allegedly previously earned from the sales of Jesse Brinkley T-shirts when the two were friends. "He can't beat me. I've talked enough (deleted), said enough bad things " and he deserved every insult and they've always been true.
"He's never been a good man to me. I've been evil, rude, and now I've got to back it up. He needs to back it up. True story."
If the much-anticipated bout comes off, it could be the biggest fight ever between two boxers who hail from Northern Nevada.
- Contact Mike Houser at email@example.com and beginning today, check out his blog at http//nevadaappeal.com/boxingblog