Brinkley dominates brave Gilbert in bloody victory
RENO, Nev. – The super middleweight fight between Jesse Brinkley and Joey Gilbert was billed as “The Civil War” because of their connection to Reno and the bad blood between them when they were contestants on the first season of The Contender reality TV series.
On Saturday night, at the Reno Events Center they shared that blood – most of it Gilbert’s – with a lively crowd of 7,500 that was treated to an entertaining main event despite the one-sided nature of Brinkley’s unanimous-decision victory.
Brinkley dropped Gilbert with a counter right hand off the ropes in the fifth round – severely injuring the Reno native’s nose – en route to winning the bout by scores of 120-107 (twice) and 119-108.
That Brinkley, a veteran of 37 fights coming into Saturday’s fight, out-classed Gilbert, who only had 19 bouts against mostly lesser opposition, was no surprise. However, Gilbert’s ability to survive the fifth round and last the distance was shocking considering the horrible shape his nose was in.
Gilbert’s nose was bent to the side on impact of Brinkley’s right cross, which landed early in the fifth round. Gilbert’s nose began pouring blood before he hit the canvas and the blood spewed with every breath he labored with and after every punch to that area of his face for the duration of the bout.
Gilbert’s chest and trunks were covered in blood before the end of the fifth round and most ringside observers, who thought the nose had to be broken because of the grotesque manner in which it was misshapen, believed the 32-year-old college graduate would stay on his stool between rounds.
He didn’t. Gilbert came out, round after round, and took more punishment from the more experienced fighter, spilling blood all over the canvas, referee Vic Drakulich, the judges and anyone near the ring apron. He also let his hands go in the late rounds, something he didn’t do in the early rounds, when he moved his legs far more than his fists.
Brinkley, who found a home for his jab and right hand throughout the contest, stalked forward for most of the fight and exhibited solid head and upper body movement in spots. After Gilbert boldly tried to mount a rally in rounds eight, nine and 10, Brinkley closed the show with a strong finish in rounds 11 and 12.
The 32-year-old veteran was pleased with his performance.
“I’ve wanted this fight for four years,” Brinkley (33-5, 22 knockouts) said at the post-fight press conference. “It meant a lot to me to win in front of my fans in Reno and prove that I’m the best fighter in Northern Nevada. I hope I can get a world title shot, at either middleweight or super middleweight, soon.”
Brinkley, who hails from nearby Yerington, Nev., but has fought 15 times in Reno, was surprised by the will Gilbert showed after suffering the injury to his nose.
“I never dreamed he could get up from that right hand, let alone finish the fight,” Brinkley said. “I tried to finish him, and I thought I had him going in a couple rounds, but I couldn’t get it done.”
Gilbert (17-2-1, 13 KOs) conceded that Brinkley did more than enough.
“I got beat by a better man tonight,” he said at the post-fight news conference. “I have no excuses, he busted me up. That was the first time I’ve been dropped or hurt like that. I couldn’t breath right with all the blood, couldn’t see well because I was tearing up, and every time he hit me in the nose I was seeing stars.”
In the co-featured bout of the Let’s Get it On Promotions and TKO Promotions card, junior featherweight prospect Rafael Valenzuela earned a hard-fought majority decision over Yogli Herrera in an entertaining eight-round contest.
Valenzuela (12-1, 6 KOs) was the busier and the more aggressive of the two boxers, but he got all he could handle from the heavy handed veteran from Colombia, who fought well off the ropes and landed his share of power punches. The record of Herrera, who has gone the distance with titleholder Anselmo Moreno and “interim” beltholder Ricardo Cordoba, fell to 21-7-1 (15) or 15-6 (10) according to BoxRec.com.
Middleweight prospect Derek Hinkey (7-1, seven KOs) knocked out usually durable journeyman Ariel Espinal (6-7-2, two KOs) in the first round of their scheduled six-round contest. Hinkey, who fights out of Reno, thrilled his fans after landing an overhand right that dropped Espinal and then by following up with enough power shots to convince the referee to step in and halt the contest with the tough New Yorker’s back against the ropes.
Junior lightweight prospect Stan Martyniouk (5-0, one KO) out-boxed under-sized-but-game Scott Furney (3-8-1, one KO) to a unanimous four-round decision.
Gabriel Del Real (3-0, two KOs) stopped Joel Gonzalez (2-3, one KO) in the third round of their four-round welterweight contest. Del Real, a talented 22 year old, landed a left hook to the body that 31-year-old Gonzalez could not recover from.
In the opening bout of the card, Johnny Mancilla (0-1) and Andrew Rempp (0-1-1) fought to a majority draw in their entertaining four-round lightweight contest.