Free spirit Brinkley calls out Gilbert
Appeal Sports Writer
Not only is Yerington super middleweight Jesse Brinkley a free spirit, he’s now a free agent in the boxing world.
The 29-year-old Brinkley, who will turn 30 on Nov. 14, said Monday that he no longer has a sponsor and he’s not signed with any promoter. He also said he recently parted ways with his longtime manager and benefactor, Yerington businessman Butch Peri, who had been with him since the start of his career. Brinkley said the two parted on good terms.
“I’m a drifter,” Brinkley said of his current situation. “I’m a boat in the middle of the ocean, bro. Which way is the wind going to blow? I’m going to catch some wind and go.”
According to boxrec.com, Brinkley is due to meet Idaho’s Cleveland Corder for the third time on Dec. 14, but Brinkley said Corder, whom he’s twice knocked out, backed out of the bout after recently suffering a broken nose in sparring, leaving Brinkley in limbo.
Brinkley, 26-4 (17), is coming off an 11th-round technical knockout loss at the hands of Joey Spina, a bout which he was leading on all three official scorecards before Spina dropped him with a body shot and went on to stop him on May 10.
“It would’ve been an easier fight for me,” said Brinkley before he said wasn’t attempting to make excuses for the loss. “I give him his props. I do. He overcame everything I dished out at him. I praised him after the fight. I said, ‘Good job. You get to keep the (WBC United States super middleweight) belt.'”
Brinkley said he entered the fight injured after getting “crushed by a left to the body” in sparring before he met Spina, who is scheduled to meet Peter Manfredo Jr. on Oct. 14. Like Brinkley and Reno middleweight Joey Gilbert, Manfredo was a contestant on the NBC reality show “The Contender.”
“I couldn’t run for three weeks or do a situp for three weeks (before the fight),” Brinkley said. “I had a bruised liver. That’s why I fought with my elbow up like that. I used the jab and moved backward. If I didn’t have that (injury), it would have been a different outcome. It doesn’t matter. You lost the fight. I was 50-percent ready.”
Brinkley said “The Contender” promotional outfit, Tournament of Contenders, LLC, approached him after the Spina bout.
“They said they’d re-sign me and offered me a contract,” Brinkley said. “It’s a good feeling that they want to use me. It’s just a matter of when. Anyone, anywhere, anytime. I’ll go fight for anybody.”
Brinkley said he is working on a deal, but didn’t want to reveal with whom he’s been negotiating.
“Let’s just say it’s major – it’s as big as you can get for an athlete if it happens,” Brinkley said. “I’ve talked to one promoter. I’m not going to say who. I’d like to splat Joey before I do anything. There’s no reason he can’t do it (face Brinkley).”
The “Joey” to whom Brinkley is referring is Gilbert, not Spina.
“Where is that little (deleted), Joey Gilbert?” Brinkley asked before being told that Gilbert was due to defend his North American Boxing Organization against 39-year-old journeyman Keith Sims yesterday. “I want that (deleted) so bad, I can’t even tell you. I’ve been ripped off, played and lied to – everything. He’s done everything to me except give me the opportunity to kick his ass. I’ve been waiting three years. It feels like a lifetime. I’m tired of hearing his name in the same sentence as mine.”
Brinkley said Gilbert, who was not contacted for this interview, is making excuses not to fight him.
“I lost my last fight,” Brinkley said. “I freely admit it. I went up in weight. That’s the reason Gilbert’s giving for not fighting me. Let’s give my fans here (in Yerington) and his fans there (in Reno) a chance to see us fight.
“He wants a certain amount of money, he wants this, he wants that. I’ll fight him for $1 or $100,000. Ever since we were on “The Contender,” we were supposed to fight. I’m tire of hearing people saying, ‘When are you going to fight Joey Gilbert?’ It’s not their fault; it’s his fault.”
Brinkley, who said his weight is between 185-190, grew increasingly agitated as he spoke about Gilbert.
“He’s got his little winning streak going,” Brinkley said. “He thinks he’s smarter. I just feel violated when I think of Joey Gilbert. I’m not going to lose any sleep over the kid. Good luck with your fight. Just don’t say you’re going to do this and that.
“He has to be hearing, ‘What about Jesse Brinkley from Yerington?’ He tells the people what they want to hear, then he lies to them. He has a matchmaker. He has a promoter (Star Promotions). Make it happen. He has a good chin. He has strength, stamina and heart, but he can’t beat me. He might look all right in Tahoe against someone my grandma can beat (Jason Aaker, whom Gilbert stopped in one round Aug. 5 at MontBleu Resort and Casino). He can’t beat me. He doesn’t want to have to answer those questions on why he lost to me.”
Before excusing himself from the conversation because he had gotten so worked up over Gilbert, whom Brinkley sardonically called “Mr. Reno,” he said he’d addressed every excuse Gilbert has not to fight him and that his would-be opponent is depriving area fans of the one fight they truly want to see.
“When it comes down to it, he wants more money,” Brinkley said of Gilbert. “He says he needs more fights. Don’t go get a belt and say that. I don’t care about his belt. Keep the belt. I just want his lips on the end of my glove. I’d like it to be a 12-round non-title fight. I’m serious.
“It’s my 80 miles (to Reno) to his 80 miles (to Yerington). I’ll pick his pocket when he’s down and take his money and fill my gas tank.”
With Gilbert just coming off his fight with Sims (as of press time no result was available), there’s no telling when or if he’ll give Brinkley the fight he wants. In the meantime, Brinkley said he’ll continue to hunt and fish until a wind strong enough to carry a free spirit comes along.