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Brinkley still aiming for title shot

Story by Robert Perea
Photo courtesy of TKO Boxing

Throughout his 13 years in the ring as a professional, Jesse Brinkley believes he has been bypassed time and again for a shot at big money fights and world titles.

Now he’s determined to make sure that he’s overlooked no more.

Brinkley (33-5, 22 KOs) of Yerington, NV will face Mike “The Persecutor” Paschall (19-1-1, 4 KOs) of Baltimore, MD this Friday in the main event of the “Summer Showdown” at the Reno Events Center.  “Summer Showdown” is presented by promoters Terry and Tommy Lane of “Let’s Get It on Promotions” in association with Chet Koerner of “TKO Boxing Promotions.”

Now 32 years old, Brinkley is the tenth-ranked super middleweight by the IBF and is ranked twelfth by the WBC, and he hopes a win over the once-beaten Paschall will finally land him a big money fight.

“I was just somebody who’s always believed that I could fight or beat one of the best on a big network, and unfortunately it’s never happened on a big network or a big name yet,” Brinkley said. “I would honestly have to believe that a win against this guy gives me (Jermain) Taylor or (Kelly) Pavlik. Put me in there with one of them. Get me beat, or let me beat them. I will never know unless it happens to me. No one ever puts me in there. Are they scared to get me hurt, scared to get me beat? Are they going to make me cry?”

That’s a refrain Brinkley has been singing since before his appearance on the first season of NBC’s ‘The Contender’ in 2004, and one he came back to several times in discussing his upcoming bout against Paschall.

“These are my golden, peak years. I don’t want to be worn out keeping all these young lions off me and beating these old war heroes. I don’t want to keep doing that,” he said. “I just hope that it’s not too late. I can honestly say that it should be now. My title fight should have been one of my last three fights.”

Before being selected for ‘The Contender,’ Brinkley had spoken often of his frustration about being matched against inferior opponents. But not only did ‘The Contender’ raise his profile in the boxing world, it also afforded him the opportunity to meet and begin training with Peter Manfredo, Sr.

Since losing a unanimous decision to former super middleweight champion Robin Reid in July 2007, Brinkley has strung together seven consecutive wins, including a unanimous decision on over fellow ‘Contender’ and Reno native Joey Gilbert in February of this year.

“It just showed who’s going to pee on the bush first in this area,” Brinkley said referring to his one-sided victory over Gilbert. “It did nothing for my career.”

In Paschall, Brinkley will be facing an opponent whose only loss came to 2004 Olympic bronze medal winner and super middleweight contender Andre Dirrell last August in a bout that was stopped in the fourth round because of a cut.

“Really in his mind he might still be undefeated because it was a cut, so I know he’s a fighter with a lot of confidence,” Brinkley said. “He’s a fighter that’s probably in great shape, and a guy that’s looking forward to coming up here and just running me and beating me. It’s a big opportunity for him, but for me I should have already had a title fight, so I have to keep plugging away at these kind of guys to get where I need to be.”

Brinkley said he and Manfredo, Sr. have worked hard to prepare for Paschall’s southpaw style.

“You see what Manny Pacquiao, (Joe) Calzaghe, and Chad Dawson, all these big, bad southpaws are doing,” Brinkley said. “They’re just ruining and wrecking every righthander. It’s not the loop, it’s not the uppercut, it’s the straight left which you just don’t see. You feel it, but you don’t see it.”

Brinkley, who hails from Yerington, NV, a farming town about 80 miles southeast of Reno, will be fighting in Reno for the 17th time in his career. He has built a loud and loyal following and he’s glad to be fighting in front of them so soon after beating Gilbert.

“I just want to come here and put another show on,” he said.

Robert Perea is a freelance writer based in Reno, Nevada. He worked for 15 years for the Reno Gazette-Journal and its sister publications.

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