Brinkley is ready to back up his name-calling
RENO ” For more than four years, Yerington’s Jesse Brinkley has been engaging in name-calling and provoking his former friend, Reno’s Joey Gilbert.
Now, after nearly six months of training specifically for his arch-rival, Brinkley will finally have Gilbert right where he wants him: In the ring.
Brinkley, 32-5 with 22 knockouts, will defend his WBC-affiliated United States National Boxing Championship super middleweight belt in a 12-round bout against Gilbert, 17-1 (13) with 1 no-contest, Saturday at Reno Events Center.
Doors open at 6 p.m. with the first of eight bouts to begin at 7.
Following the bout’s final press conference Wednesday in the Showroom at the Eldorado Hotel Casino, the 32-year-old Brinkley lifted his shirt to reveal a chiseled six-pack ” the result of all that training in Pawtucket, R.I.
“I’ve put in a lot of hours (in the gym) and a lot of mental preparation,” Brinkley said. “I should be ready to go. I’m taking all of my emotions out of it. I’m not going to get caught up in all the (B.S.).”
Brinkley was referring to the genesis of the hard feelings between the boxers, who both appeared on the NBC reality boxing show “The Contender,” which was filmed in 2004 and aired in 2005.
Following the series Brinkley, who lost in the semifinals to eventual champion (and subsequent WBC super welterweight titlist) Sergio Mora, had a falling out with Gilbert, who lost to Peter Manfredo Jr. in the quarterfinals.
Whatever the specific reason, Brinkley said the pair was destined to meet.
“It’s simple. It’s territorial for both of us,” Brinkley said. “Whoever wins pees on the bush first, marks his territory first. You can’t have two super middleweights live in the same area and not run into each other. It’s the nature of the beast.”
It’s also personal for Brinkley, who said, “Look at him. I just want to hit him,” as Gilbert walked past to exit the Showroom.
Brinkley has given no quarter to Gilbert, who in a revised stipulated agreement with the Nevada State Athletic Commission in August admitted that he tested positive for one metabolite of the steroid Stanazolol following his Sept. 21, 2007, fight with Charles Howe, of Grelton, Ohio.
The commission suspended Gilbert for one year, fined him $10,000 and changed the one-round technical knockout over Howe to a no-contest, but Brinkley has continued to assert that Gilbert hasn’t repented.
“He’ll be peeing neon green. His pee glows like anti-freeze,” Brinkley said. “He’s a juicehead.”
Gilbert has undergone and passed random urine tests since his reinstatement.
After several congenial quips, Brinkley began to grow more animated as he talked about his showdown with Gilbert, who is also 32.
“I’m a ball of emotion,” he said. “It’s stuck inside. I’m like a horse in a stable. Let me out. Let me go. He’s such a little (deleted). Let’s get the fight on. I want to be announced the winner. Before the bell, I’m going to be telling myself, ‘Do not (mess) this up, Brinkley. You wanted this, you got it.’ I’m stoked. Let’s do this.”
Brinkley’s trainer, Peter Manfredo Sr., said Gilbert would be in for a “beat-down.”
“You can do all the running you want,” Manfredo said of Gilbert’s well-documented conditioning, “but sparring’s where it’s at. Jesse’s had top sparring where we’re at.”
In addition to his son, Peter Jr., Manfredo said Brinkley has “seven or eight” different sparring partners, including former amateur champions and undefeated pros.
“He’s sparred runners, bangers, slick boxers, guys who hold and wrestle,” Manfredo said. “Gilbert’s not going to bring anything Jesse hasn’t seen before.”
Asked what kind of style he expected from Gilbert, Manfredo pulled no punches.
“To me, he’s a (sissy). He’ll be a runner,” Manfredo said. “He’s a pretty boy. He doesn’t like to get hit. He got beat up by my son. (The reason the bout was scored a close technical decision in favor of Manfredo was because) he was Sylvester Stallone’s boy. He’s got a nice little body, but he was pummeled. You heard him when he got into the ambulance, ‘I’m hurt all over.'”
For all of the insults, Manfredo insisted neither he nor Brinkley are underestimating Gilbert.
“He’s a phenomenal athlete,” Manfredo said of Gilbert. “But nobody’s training him now. (Gilbert’s official trainer is Richie Ortiz.) Who’s training him? He’s got some (mixed martial arts) guy. Too many chefs spoil the soup.”
Brinkley said he’s just looking forward to the sting of battle.
“He’s in for a fight. I am, too,” Brinkley said. “Let’s get deep into the fight. Let’s get into the trenches. I want to taste some blood. I want to fight. People want us to give them a fight.”
Brinkley is ranked No. 13 by the IBF and last month turned down a fight with IBF champion Lucian Bute because he was already in camp to fight Gilbert. He said he something meaningful lined up after this fight, but refused to go into detail.
“I’m going up against an in-shape guy who wants to kill me. That’s what’s next,” said Brinkley, who added he’s going to be changing his traditional ring-walk music of “Headstrong” by Trapt. “At the end of the night I want to have my hands up and leave with my belt.”