Paschall looking to upset
Story by Robert Perea
Photo courtesy of TKO Boxing
It might be a big upset if Mike Paschall were to beat Jesse Brinkley Friday night, but upsets are nothing new to Paschall.
Just the fact that’s he’s still alive might be the biggest upset of all.
Paschall’s story is a familiar one in the world of boxing – the young troublemaker from the streets with a past of drugs, violence and crime finds his salvation in the ring.
“It’s the typical boxer story,” says Danny Kisner, who has trained Paschall since he began boxing as an amateur 15 years ago.
Paschall (19-1-1, 4 KOs), will face Brinkley Friday night in a 10-round light heavyweight bout at the Reno Events Center in the “Summer Showdown”, presented by promoters Terry and Tommy Lane of Let’s Get It On Promotions in conjunction with Chet Koerner of TKO Boxing Promotions.
Aside form his work in the ring, the 29-year-old Paschall also works as a marine pipe fitter, installing piping systems on Coast Guard ships.
Paschall is father to two sons, Mikey, 9, and Aidan, 4, and he also has two stepchildren. He and his wife Belinda were married on Valentine’s Day this year in Las Vegas
It’s heady stuff for a kid from the mean streets of Baltimore.
“I never in a million years thought I’d be where I’m at,” Paschall said. “I done been hurt before. I’ve been shot, stabbed, beat up, so ain’t nothing Jesse Brinkley is going to do to me that I ain’t never seen before.”
Paschall says his fighting career started when he was just a kid. He started boxing as an amateur at the age of 14, simply because he liked beating people up.
“Ninety percent of my fights I just came to fight,” Paschall said. “I never really trained. I’d run from bar to bar, that’s how I got my roadwork. I’d get into bar fights and that was my sparring.”
Paschall amassed an 82-15 amateur record and was ranked as high as the No. 9 amateur in the nation at 156 pounds, but not until some unpleasant events convinced him to take boxing seriously.
“He was 14, 15, 16, but then he took off a year because he got locked up for stealing cars,” Kisner said.
In 1999 he was shot in the leg, and he says a doctor told him he could have died because of blood clots.
About the same time, Paschall’s first son was born and he decided to clean up his act.
He turned professional in 2004, and his only loss came last August to 2004 Olympic bronze medal winner and super middleweight contender Andre Dirrell in a bout that was stopped in the fourth round because of a cut on Paschall’s forehead.
Paschall is No. 8 in the USBA super middleweight rankings; Brinkley is No.3 in USBA and No. 8 in the IBF and is also the current WBC-affiliated United States National Boxing Championship belt holder. Brinkley’s trainer, Peter Manfredo, Sr., said the bout is at 175 pounds because Brinkley only had four and half weeks to prepare, which was not enough time for him to get down to 168.
Paschall said he was not even aware he’s ranked until he was showed the rankings by reporters.
“When I was rated No. 9 as an amateur that was the world to me,” he said.
A southpaw, Paschall hopes beating Brinkley can earn him a fight against one of the top super middleweights.
“It was an opportunity for us,” Kisner said. “We knew we were coming to his hometown to fight him, and when you’re in the boxing world you got to do that. You got to take chances.”
Paschall and Kisner said they’ve followed Brinkley’s career since he was part of the first season of the NBS reality boxing show “The Contender” in 2004.
“I admire the guy. He’s a straight up kind of dude, he’s a very humble dude,” Paschall said.
Even though Paschall is an underdog Friday night, Kisner said that won’t bother his fighter.
“It’s up to you to make the change in your life by pulling upsets,” Kisner said. “This ain’t nothing new. He’s been the underdog his whole life.”
But for Paschall, he’s already won the only fights that matter – the ones that got him to where he is today.
“Jesse can stretch me out on the canvas Friday night, but if my kids love me, I’m still ahead in the game,” 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.