On Gilbert and Brinkley: Put away your party hats, boxing fans


Appeal Sports Writer

There's finally peace in the Middle East. Oil prices will go down to less than $2 a gallon and stay there. A pair of beautiful twins said they like older men and asked me out. So did Jessica Simpson.

What do all of these outrageous claims have in common?

As the old maxim goes, if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.

So, one day removed from Thursday's news that Yerington super middleweight Jesse Brinkley had accepted the challenge of Reno's Joey Gilbert, the old cynic in me boiled to the surface as surely as Old Faithful.

Just one night after pulling my best Johnny Drama and screaming, "Victory!" I finally came to my senses and called back Brinkley's promoters, Tommy and Terry Lane, of Let's Get It On Promotions.

The upside of the proposed December showdown in Reno is that the Lanes have been contacted by radio stations and fight venues, all of whom are reportedly interested in putting together the long-awaited fight.

That said, the brothers, who are all for Brinkley, 31-5 with 21 knockouts, finally fighting Gilbert, 15-1 (11) with 1 no-contest, also have some legitimate concerns.

Spurred on by the interest of full disclosure and transparency, they came up with a set of conditions that, if Gilbert agrees to them, clears the way for the fight Northern Nevada fans have been aching for since Gilbert and Brinkley appeared together on the NBC reality boxing show "The Contender."

- Since the 31-year-old Brinkley is rated No. 12 by the IBF and is the WBC-affiliated United States National Boxing Championship (USNBC) super middleweight titlist, the bout must take place at 168 pounds.

- As the beltholder, Brinkley would get the lion's share of the purse. There will be no 50-50 split. On the other hand, the Lanes said they're not going to pull an Oscar De La Hoya, who recently demanded a 70-30 split if he were to fight Manny Pacquiao.

- "Whether it's two supplements or 72," the Lanes are demanding that Gilbert " who admitted testing positive for one metabolite of the steroid Stanazolol (out of a possible three) after his Sept. 21 bout with Charles Howe " disclose all supplements he's taking before the fight ("Even if it's baby Tylenol," said Let's Get It On president Tommy Lane). The brothers also said they'd pay for both fighters to be tested for growth hormone prior to the fight.

- Brinkley's preferred brand of gloves "Reyes " shall be used in the fight. Reyes gloves are considered "puncher's" gloves.

Gilbert was not available for comment, but his attorney, Reno's Mark Schopper, said on Saturday that negotiations would begin on Monday and that any commentary should be saved until then.

"We prefer not to negotiate this matter through the media," Schopper said. "Bottom line is that we want to see Joey Gilbert and Jesse Brinkley in the ring and we will work with Let's Get It On Promotions to make it happen."

This column was originally posted as my inaugural blog on Friday, so it devolved upon me then to ask the Lanes why they came up with these particular provisions. And for the record and speaking as a boxing fan who wants more than anything to see this fight happen, I consider these proposals fair.

The issue of the fight happening at 168 was addressed first.

"Part of the puzzle is television," said Let's Get It On chief executive officer Terry Lane, who added that Brinkley's belt and the fact that Gilbert held the middleweight version of the same title would help sell the proposed fight to a network like Showtime, which would increase the revenue to both fighters. "We don't know what is scheduled for December or even if there's a date available."

Regarding the purse split, Tommy Lane said the champion and ranked fighter should be paid more.

"I think Joey heard that Jesse was going toward bigger fights and a world title," he said. "Joey wasn't hearing his name being mentioned and that he was inconsequential. So Joey called him out. I don't think he expected Jesse to reply like he did. Now I expect Joey to price himself out of the fight. Joey needs Jesse."

As far as the drug tests go, Tommy Lane said he's looking out for his boxer.

"We don't want our fighter going against a bona fide cheater," he said of Gilbert, who initially tested positive for six banned substances before his B sample later came back negative for methamphetamine. Four other substances were attributed to prescription medication and were dropped as part of the amended stipulated agreement he reached Tuesday with the Nevada State Athletic Commission and the Nevada Attorney General's Office at the Reno City Council office.

Gilbert was also fined $10,000 and had an extra 40 days tacked on to his temporary suspension (he can return on Sept. 22).

"We don't know if the (NSAC) tests for growth hormone, but it's our responsibility to Jesse to make sure the fight is on the square," Tommy Lane added. " We were so mad at Joey because of the steroid, the excuses, the lies. We're disgusted."

Keith Kizer, the commission's executive director, said Friday that it's not unprecedented that fighters or promoters would ask for additional testing, provided they incur the cost themselves and not pass the bill on to the fighters or the commission.

Kizer also said that, to the best of his knowledge, there is not yet a reliable urine test for growth hormone.

So what does it all mean?

Time to put away the party hats for a while, Northern Nevada boxing fans.

As a footnote, I was going to address a different issue in the maiden voyage of my boxing blog: that of why Gilbert experienced such a severe backlash by area fans, but his challenge of Brinkley and the Yerington boxer's acceptance on Thursday went a long way toward making that point moot.

That said, I'm of the notion that if there's too much back-and-forth bargaining and this fight " which is seemingly so close " falls out, that backlash will return and I'll end up having to write about that instead of what should be a fight for the ages.

- Contact Mike Houser at mhouser@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1214. Also see his boxing blog at http//nevadaappeal.com/boxing blog.


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