Brinkley adding spice to Gardnerville boxing event | NevadaAppeal.com
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Brinkley adding spice to Gardnerville boxing event

MIKE HOUSER

As if the return of boxing to Gardnerville wasn’t already exciting enough, a war of words between Jesse Brinkley, of Yerington, and Danny “Dynamite” Perez, of Ventura, Calif., has added some spice to an already hot event.

Brinkley, 21-1, with 15 knockouts, and Perez, 28-3 (17), meet each other Friday in a 10-round junior middleweight contest at Stodick Park in Sharkey’s Memorial Boxing Classic, which will be televised on ESPN2 Friday Night Fights.

The event, co-promoted by Top Rank, George Chung’s American Champion Sports, and Mashelle Begovich, is a resurrection of sorts of the Cow Pasture Boxing Festival, which ran from 1973 through 1991 in Gardnerville and was bankrolled by Sharkey Begovich, for whom after this event is named.

“I’ve been hearing about how I’m the underdog going in,” said the 26-year-old Brinkley, who has won 17 consecutive fights and is coming off an impressive July 11 two-round knockout of veteran Joe Garcia in Reno. “(Trainer) Richie Sandoval was reading this report to me. It favored Perez. It said I’m too inexperienced, too this, too that, I’m stepping up to a level I shouldn’t be. Perez supposedly has this huge jaw. It said the first couple of rounds would be even, but he’d dominate me after five or six rounmds. Put it this way: I’m not in the best of moods.”

Perez, who lost a 12-round unanimous decision to WBO welterweight titlist Antonio Margarito last October, had some choice words for Brinkley as well.

“He’s been talking a lot of smack,” the 26-year-old Perez said of Brinkley. “I’m supposed to be a shot fighter. I’m going to prove to him I’m not. I’m going to shut his mouth.”

Also at issue is whether the two fighters once sparred. Both Perez and his manager, Tom DiFrancesco, insist they did, but Brinkley and his trainer, Miguel Diaz, said they did not. This disagreement saved Top Rank matchmaker Bruce Trampler a lot of work.

“I didn’t have to make this match,” Trampler said with a laugh. “(DiFrancesco) saw Brinkley beat Garcia in Reno. He told Miguel the two had sparred. Miguel said they didn’t. Miguel isn’t shy and Tom is a hot-headed Italian. They wanted the match.”

Ask, and ye shall receive.

“We know who he is,” DiFrancesco said of Brinkley. “I’ve followed him the last two years. He’s in for something a little different with Danny. I know they sparred. Whatever. Miguel wasn’t even there.”

“I’ve heard I’ve sparred him, but I never did,” Brinkley said. “The kid went 12 rounds with Margarito. Margarito used him as a pinata as far as I’m concerned. The kid can take a punch and has skills. I don’t have anything bad to say about him. But I’m going to unleash hell on this kid. He’s talking smack about me. He’s going to try and knock me out in my home like I did Cleveland Corder in Idaho (Brinkley stopped Corder in one round on June 2).

“He wants to take my food, he wants to take my money away. He beats me and he’s in line for a title shot. I beat this guy, I silence every critic.”

And if Brinkley gets by Perez, who said he abandoned the welterweight division because it took too much out of him, Brinkley would be what Trampler called “a fringe contender.”

“(Brinkley’s) star would be ascending, and Perez’s would be descending,” Trampler said. “It would be time to revise the rankings. Brinkley would be a Top 15 fighter.”

Perez, who defeated 154-pound Grady Brewer his last fight in May, is currently ranked No. 10 by the WBO at welterweight, but said he feels a lot stronger at 154.

“He hasn’t been in with anybody like me,” Perez said of Brinkley. “He’s fought guys who are no good. Their records are like 5-15, or whatever. I’m a world-class fighter.”

Brinkley, who has been fighting at 160, is coming down in weight (154) for this fight, and said he’ll weigh 165 or 170 pounds come fight time.

“When I carb up and energize up, there’s no stopping me,” Brinkley said. “This is my air, not his air. I grew up smelling this air. Neither guy will dominate. And it won’t go 10 rounds. My goal is a KO. I’m not scared to hit anyone. It’ll come down to who is the better man.”

In addition to Brinkley-Perez, there will be a pair of eight-round welterweight bouts, as Anthony “The Messenger” Thompson, 11-0 (8), of Philadelphia, meets Dewey Welliver, 14-4-1 (4), Spokane, Wash., and Jose Santa Cruz, 13-0 (8), Los Angeles, faces Roy Delgado, 12-1 (9), Arvada, Col.

Also, Steven Leuvano, 19-0 (9), LaPuente, Calif., faces Miguel Escamilla, 18-4-1 (14), San Felipe, Mexico, in an eight-round super featherweight bout; and Eduardo Escobedo, 8-1 (7), Mexico City, challenges Rodrigo Facio, 9-7-1 (8), in a six-round bantamweight bout.

There will also be four exhibition bouts following the ESPN card, including one involving Garderville’s Jeff Begovich.

General admission bleacher tickets will be on sale for $10 the day of the fight and other tickets for $25, $50, $75 and $125 are available at Carson Valley Inn, Sharkey’s Casino, Scolari’s and through ticketmaster.com. You can also call Mashelle Begovich at 775-790-1867 for more information.