Brinkley wants to end the Jesse-Joey thing
Appeal Sports Writer
(This is the first of a two-part story on Yerington super middleweight Jesse Brinkley, who will defend his WBC-affiliated United States National Boxing Championship (USNBC) super middleweight belt in a 12-round bout against Reno’s Joey Gilbert at a site to be determined in Reno on January 30.)
Jesse Brinkley was through training for the day. As he spoke on the phone Tuesday from his training camp in Providence, R.I., he sounded like he had a bad cold and was ready to turn in for the night.
But it doesn’t matter if he’s at home in Yerington, visiting Reno or tucked away in bed in Providence, the 31-year-old Brinkley, 31-5 with 21 knockouts, still can’t seem to get away from people who want to talk about his upcoming bout against Joey Gilbert, his former friend and fellow contestant on the NBC reality boxing show “The Contender.”
“On January 30, I’m going to end this whole book on the Jesse-Joey thing,” said Brinkley, sounding like someone was pinching his nose shut as he spoke. “This whole Jesse-Joey thing has been going on for three or four years. I’m done with it. Chapter over. It’s like starting a book on my run to the world title and I don’t want him in it. Close it, turn the page, read it, throw it away.
“I’m tired of it. That’s why I’m in camp already. The fight of this magnitude in that area (Northern Nevada) is a fight any fighter can lose, and neither fighter wants to lose. Neither fighter can live in that area knowing he lost in that area.”
While there’s no doubt Brinkley is training for Gilbert, he’s expressly in camp so he can prepare to first fight an eight-round bout against an opponent to be named on Dec. 13 in Las Vegas. While in Providence, Brinkley lives with his trainer, Peter Manfredo Sr., whose son Peter Manfredo Jr. beat Gilbert on “The Contender.”
“The Manfredos take me into their home like I’m one of their own,” said Brinkley, who arrived in camp nearly two weeks ago weighing 194 pounds. “It’s been that way for the last five fights. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
“I’m training my ass off. I’m training for (Gilbert) like it’s a megafight. It’s not a megafight as far as the world is concerned, but in that area it is. That’s my area.”
As has been evident in his last four fights, including a 12-round unanimous decision over Canadian light heavyweight champion Jason Naugler on June 13, Brinkley proved he could put some rear ends in the seats in Reno.
“You haven’t seen the best of me,” Brinkley said. “You’ll see the best of me that’s ever been in Reno (on Jan. 30). I’m an old dog, but I have one good fight left in me.”
For Brinkley’s sake, it had better be at least two, since he has elected to stay busy while waiting to finally meet Gilbert, 15-1 (11) with 1 no-contest.
“I’m still excited for a quick tuneup fight,” said Brinkley, who is ranked No. 13 by the IBF. “If it blows up in my face and I break my hand, I’ll puke, vomit and regret doing that. It won’t be televised or aired. For me, it’s like going to the shooting range and getting your eye form. All I’m going to do is take a knife and put it on a stone and sharpen it up.”
Following that fight and assuming he doesn’t come out if it injured, Brinkley said he would have little off-time as his focus then fully shifts to Gilbert.
“I’ll probably be with my family after the fight, but I’ll probably spend Christmas back in Providence,” he said.
In the boxing world there are generally no secrets and whispers about Gilbert have reached Brinkley in Providence.
“The rumor has it that Joey is in his little camp doing his pushups,” Brinkley said with a touch of derision before he turned candid. “To be the honest with you, he’s in great shape. He’s a freak of nature. When he takes his shirt off, he looks like a gladiator from the Roman days.
“I already know he can take a punch. If I take him lightly, he will outwork me ” he’ll beat me down the stretch on points. I’m not going to allow that. He may as well enjoy his last comments on me and his last smiles on Channel 8. On January 30th, you can’t beat me, you won’t beat me ” you’re not going to do it. We’ll see who is the true champion out there.”
(In Friday’s Nevada Appeal, Brinkley says what’s really on his mind as he riffs on Gilbert and analyzes their Jan. 30 fight in Reno.)