Brinkley ready for Saturday’s fight
Appeal Sports Writer
Yerington super middleweight Jesse Brinkley is a colorful guy and perhaps in honor of his new opponent, Isaiah “The Prophet” Henderson, gave his divination Wednesday concerning his fight Saturday at Grande Exposition Hall in the Silver Legacy Resort Casino.
“After the fight, I guarantee my hands are going to be (expletive) up,” said Brinkley, 28-5 with 19 knockouts, who will meet Henderson, 11-6 (7) with 2 no contests, of Kansas City, Mo., in the 10-round main event of “Collision Course,” a seven-fight card presented by Let’s Get It On Promotions.
If his past fights – including his ninth-round knockout over Dallas Vargas July 6 in Reno -are any indication, Brinkley’s prophecy will likely come to pass, especially with the strategy trainer Peter Manfredo Sr. has in mind for his charge.
“He has a lot of power with both hands,” Manfredo said. “We’re trying to make him throw as many punches as he can. You saw what he did last time with Vargas. It should be the same thing this time.”
Brinkley and the hard-headed Vargas went toe-to-toe throughout their bout, especially in the second round when the pair swapped punches to the point of fatigue, backed up to punch gloves (after Brinkley pounded his own chest) and resumed their war of attrition.
Brinkley visibly hurt his right hand in the third round when he hit Vargas on top of the head, but he was never hesitant about continuing to let his hands go.
Against the 23-year-old Henderson, a replacement for Donnell “Cadillac’ Wiggins, who pulled out of the fight Monday claiming he couldn’t make the weight, the 30-year-old Brinkley will be attempting to win his third consecutive fight and set up a possible rematch with Joey “KO Kid” Spina, who rallied to score a come-from-behind 11th-round TKO over Brinkley in May 2006.
“Everything went well – it was a rough camp,” Brinkley said. “I ran a lot, trained a lot, had a ton of sparring…it was a long camp – six weeks. The last time it was 10 weeks and I had two fights (in three weeks).”
Manfredo said Brinkley had 100 rounds of sparring against seven different sparring partners, including “top professionals and top amateurs.”
“My gym sparring is like fights – it’s not easy,” Manfredo said. “We’d put two, three, four different fighters in each session and they didn’t go easy. Every round a fresh guy comes in and tries to take him out. He’s prepared.”
Brinkley downplayed any disappointment he might be feeling after training for Wiggins.
“I don’t care,” he said. “Is it hard on my mind? Yeah, I’d say it is. I looked at his picture on the poster and stared it down and said, ‘It’s on.’ Now he’s out. He said he couldn’t make the weight. If you can’t make the weight, I’m not mad at you.”
Brinkley said he didn’t know too much about Henderson, who is coming off a ninth-round TKO loss to Kevin Engel in August. Henderson has been stopped three times since turning pro with a four-round loss in November 2002.
Henderson’s best victory came two fights ago, when he stopped undefeated Jesse Shewmaker (TKO 9) in June. This will be Henderson’s fifth fight in 2007. He also avenged a fifth-round TKO (in January) by beating Shawn Hammack in an April rematch.
“I hear he’s a tall guy who can jab,” the 5-foot-10 Brinkley said. “Those big tall stringy guys are tough – 160-pound guys crumble when I hit them, but these guys at 168 don’t fall for me like the 160 pounders used to. I don’t know. I’ll take it round by round.”
Manfredo said Brinkley will be prepared for whatever Henderson brings.
“I haven’t seen him, but we’ll be ready for him,” Manfredo said. “(Brinkley) had a lot of different styles sparring: tall guys, short guys, guys who pressure or can box. I usually throw a lot of different stuff in – even southpaws. I leave no stone unturned.”
The end goal of “Collision Course” is to match Brinkley and Spina, should they both win, early next year, possibly in February. In the co-main event Spina, 19-1-1 (14), of Providence, R.I., will meet Shannon “Trouble” Miller, 23-37-8 (17) with 2 no contests, in a six-round light heavyweight bout.
“The thing with me and Spina, I don’t know if it will ever happen,” Brinkley said. “We both have to win and be successful (Saturday). Till then, I pray that it happens. I heard him say that he wanted one or two tuneups first. That’s not the deal. Let’s fight in February.
“I have nothing against Joey Spina. I like him as a person. Just give me a chance. I whipped his ass for 10 1/2 rounds.”
Manfredo said he has a rough outline of where he wants Brinkley to go with his career, but isn’t looking past Henderson.
“This fight is good for Jesse in keeping him busy,” Manfredo said. “It’s extremely important to win this. If we can’t get a contract signed to fight Joey Spina, then we’ll possibly look at Joey Gilbert if he’s back from suspension. If not Joey Gilbert, we’ll shoot for something else. We’ll take it one fight at a time. We’ll take care of (Saturday) and then look at February.”
The 31-year-old Gilbert is currently serving a temporary suspension pending a Nevada State Athletic Commission hearing after recently testing positive for six banned substances, including Stanozolol metabolite (formerly Winstrol, a steriod) and the street narcotic methamphetamine.
Also on Saturday’s card are McDermitt brothers Derek and Tyler Hinkey. The 27-year-old Derek, 3-0 (3) will face Ray Craig, 4-2 (2), of Oakland, Calif., in a four-round super middleweight bout and the 24-year-old Tyler, 1-0 (1), will take on Alvaro Morales, 0-0-1, of Las Vegas, in a four-round heavyweight bout.
Morales took two victories over Hinkey as an amateur.
Doors open at 6 p.m. The first bout is at 7.
Tickets are $150, $75 and $30 and are available at http://www.ticketmaster.com, http://www.silverlegacyreno.com, by calling (800) 687-8733 or (775) 329-4777, or by visiting the Silver Legacy box office.