Brinkley set for two fights, calls out Gilbert
Appeal Sports Writer
There was once a time when a brash young fighter named Cassius Clay – aptly nicknamed “The Louisville Lip” – was seeking a world title shot.
He practically stalked world heavyweight champion Sonny Liston, called out the most feared fighter in the game and insulted him at every turn.
The strategy worked for Clay, who later changed his name to Muhammad Ali, and he defeated Liston for the title in 1964.
Although he made no mention of Clay-Liston in a phone call Wednesday, Yerington super middleweight Jesse Brinkley sounded like he was familiar with Clay/Ali’s tack and made clear his intention vis-à-vis a certain Northern Nevada middleweight, Reno’s Joey Gilbert.
Although he won’t be meeting Gilbert, the 30-year-old Brinkley, 26-5 with 17 knockouts, is scheduled to face an opponent to be named July 6 in the parking lot of the Eldorado Hotel and Casino. The card will be under the banner of Let’s Get It On Promotions, it’ first since 2001.
The promotional outfit’s founder, Mills Lane, suffered a stroke in 2002 and three years later his sons – 24-year-old Terry and 20-year-old Tommy – took over the company and recently signed their first fighter, McDermitt super middleweight Derek Hinkey.
It will be the brothers’ first promotion, something that excites the already excitable Brinkley, who used the announcement to take some verbal shots at the 30-year-old Gilbert, 14-1 (10).
Gilbert will stage his second promotional venture May 12 at Reno Events Center, when he defends his North American Boxing Organization belt and will compete for the vacant USNBC middleweight crown against Juan Astorga, 10-0-1 (6), in a 12-round fight.
“I have some big plans going down with the Lanes,” Brinkley said. “The kids are going to promote the show and I see this as a golden opportunity to re-mark my territory. I’m going to pee on (Reno middleweight) Joey Gilbert’s bush.”
Brinkley, an avid outdoor enthusiast, put his observations of nature to some creative use as he baited Gilbert, something he has been doing since the pair were together on the NBC reality show “The Contender,” back in 2004.
“When Gilbert smells my urine on his bush,” Brinkley said, “we’ll see if he steps up and fights me or finds a new city to pee in. When a dog marks another dog’s territory, he urinates on it. The other dog will fight for it.”
At this point Brinkley mixed his metaphor a bit, alluding to Gilbert, who has a large following in Reno, especially at the University of Nevada, where he won three national championships for its club team.
“If Gilbert smells my urine on his bush, he’s not going to fight a guy to retain his belt who’s never been in a fight scheduled for more than six rounds,” Brinkley said, referring to Astorga, of Summit, Mo. “I’m so thankful that I have a promoter in Reno to use me. I’m not going to burn them; they’re not going to burn me.
“Our one purpose is to exterminate Joey Gilbert. We’re all here to exterminate Joey Gilbert. I’ve waited three years to fight him. He’s got his own promotional company now. He’s going against the Lanes. Promoters don’t like other promoters taking away from their promoting. My goal is to win for them. They’ll do their job and I’ll do mine. We’ll shove (Gilbert) out.”
It seems as though the territory of Northern Nevada isn’t big enough for Brinkley and Gilbert – at least in Brinkley’s eyes.
“I’m tired of him,” Brinkley said. “He’s fighting this guy, he’s fighting that guy – my whole point in coming back is what was promised to me by Gilbert three years ago. It doesn’t have to be for his belts. I’ll even try to get down to 160 – or he can meet me halfway.
“He’s not going to like me up there (in Reno) fighting better fighters than he is and knocking them around. He needs to wake up. He’s fighting a guy who hasn’t been past six rounds. Yay.”
In the middle of calling out Gilbert, Brinkley also announced that he would be fighting an opponent to be named on June 14, in Coer d’Alene, Idaho, before appearing on the Lanes’ card.
He also addressed his most recent fight, an eight-round unanimous-decision loss to former WBC super middleweight titlist Robin Reid on March 30, in Newcastle, England.
“I got a (deleted) monster,” Brinkley said of Reid. “He didn’t have any power. He was very dirty. He was the dirtiest fighter I’ve ever fought. Every day I learn something new from that fight. Every day I think what I should’ve done different.
“He wasn’t interested in fighting me. He wanted to get a victory and leave – just to go the distance and let the judges give it to him. He spit in my face. He hit me in the (testicles). He hit me behind the head beat me up in the clinches. The referee didn’t say anything to him. I’m not a snot-nosed whiner, but it was the worst experience I’ve ever had. He should’ve had points taken away from him.”
Brinkley said the bout would be shown on “The Contender, Season Three,” on ESPN in two to four weeks.
“He never wobbled me,” Brinkley said of Reid. “He said he was at world-class level. He went the distance with (WBO super middleweight champion) Joe Calzaghe. I took his best punch. After I hit him back with a right hand he got dirty.”
Brinkley went so far as to use his last two fights to bait Gilbert, including an 11-round TKO to Joe Spina in 2006.
“I’ve lost two fights. I can’t win anymore,” said Brinkley, who will head to Rhode Island to train with Peter Manfredo Sr. and another former Contender, Peter Manfredo Jr. “I’m on a losing streak. I’ve never been 12 rounds. Why is he fighting a guy that hasn’t fought past six rounds? Why not fight some fighters people want to see? You have no idea of how many people come up to me and ask, ‘When are you going to fight Joey Gilbert?'”
Brinkley said Gilbert has only excuses when his name pops up as an opponent.
“He says he needs more experience,” Brinkley said. “I don’t know what his problem is. People in Reno, Silver Springs, Carson City, Dayton, Yerington, Hawthorne and Fallon – they all know. Does it make any sense not to fight me? If he’s a big promoter, why am I not on his card? After “The Contender” my former manager, (Yerington businessman) Butch Peri offered him $250,000 to fight me. Joey said, ‘Nope.’
“If he’s so big, why isn’t HBO calling him? Do you think (middleweight champion Jermain Taylor will ever fight him? No. (Reno heavyweight and former IBF cruiserweight champion) Kelvin Davis is five times the fighter Joey ever will be. That guy (Davis) fights everybody – even if he gets knocked out. Joey’s a little (expletive).”
Brinkley said he would continue to fight until “Father Time shuts him down.”
“When someone dominates me, beats me to a bloody pulp, that hurts me and lays the worst beating on me I’ve ever had, then I’m done,” he said. “That hasn’t happened yet.”
Asked what he’d like to do following his boxing career, Brinkley said he would like to get some sponsors and try out another sport.
“I want to go on the professional bass tour for two or three years,” Brinkley said. “I’d like to get on HBO and ask someone to sponsor me. I’d love to get on ESPN (on the tour).”
In the meantime, Brinkley will try to lure his biggest catch yet – Gilbert – into biting on a different kind of hook.
Note: Although the Nevada Appeal did not contact Gilbert regarding this interview, his spokesman, Chul Yim, of Washington, D.C., said Gilbert “wished Brinkley good luck in his next fight,” and that “if Brinkley wins four or five more fights and becomes a contender and gets in his (Gilbert’s) way of becoming a world champion, the pair would fight.”