RENO -- In the final minutes of Friday night's fight, Derek Hinkey wanted the fight to go on as he motioned Paul Mendez to come forward. But when Mendez answered the call, laying on a flurry of hits to the McDermitt, Nev., native, Hinkey's hands couldn't do the same.
"He didn't hurt me at all, not even once and I felt like I hurt him more than once, but I couldn't finish," Hinkey said. "It feels like I want to pull the trigger, you want to pull the trigger. But you go to pull the trigger and you can't, your hands go out the window."
Hinkey fell to Mendez in a six-round split decision to fall to 8-2 with 7 KOs. The loss marked the second time in as many fights that Hinkey's hands failed him and likely the last time they will do so. In his last fight in July he won a controversial decision over Loren Myers, but felt sharp pains in his hands every time he tried to throw a punch.
Over the last five months, Hinkey admitted to using extra padding during training which included wearing MMA gloves under 20-ounce boxing gloves in order to preserve his hands.
"If you're wearing extra padding under your gloves then your hands aren't meant for it," Hinkey said. "You want to fight; that's what I do. If I'm wearing MMA gloves underneath my 20-ounce gloves and sparring and I'm worried, there's something there that's telling me (to stop) ...
"The fighter in me wants to fight, (but) it feels like needles are touching me every time I touch him with both hands."
Hinkey declared that this was likely his last fight.
"If I can't hit him and I'm afraid to pull the trigger then there's something telling me, 'Hey man, you're not supposed to be doing this. You better do something else, you're hands aren't working no more,'" said Hinkey, who added that some aspects of the business had also gotten to him but didn't say specifically what those were. "What I do is I hit people, that's what I do for a living. But it feels like I'm afraid to pull the trigger because it will hurt my hand."
If the words following the loss remain true, it marks the end of what looked like a promising career that began in 2007 when he made his professional debut in South Lake Tahoe. He scored a first-round knockout over Patrick Sierra and went on to knockout out his next three opponents before suffering his first loss in February 2008.
Aside from boxing, he has recently worked as striking coach for Striking Unlimited in Las Vegas, where he has lived for the last 2 1/2 years. He has also dabbled in modeling, but he said he's not sure what he will do in the future.
"Maybe I'll get a different career and go into acting or something," he said. "You never know. Everything happens for a reason."