Yerington fighter to resume title-shot pursuit tonight in Reno |

Yerington fighter to resume title-shot pursuit tonight in Reno

Justin Lawson, Tribune News Service

Jesse Brinkley didn’t want Mike Paschall. Not because he was running from the Baltimore native because he could throw his championship aspirations off kilter. No, Brinkley thought his title hopes weren’t a thing of the future; he wanted his shot now.

“Maybe like two three fights ago I was (upset),” said the 32-year-old Brinkley. “But now whatever it is, is whatever it is. I’m not going to do anything about it because it’s inevitable that eventually somebody’s got to fight me, but it’s guys like this, one of these guys, that will come in a wreck a hole in my game plan. One of these young, mean guys that want you can come in a wreck the whole thing and then what was the point?”

Well, Brinkley may have a wanted a number of fights ahead of this one, but Paschall made sure everyone knew who he wanted fight.

Paschall, who at times seems more like a Brinkley fan than an opponent, will get his chance tonight in a 10-round bout at the Reno Events Center in what could be Brinkley’s final fight before getting a chance against one of the top super middleweights.

“It was never personal,” Paschall said of wanting to fight Brinkley. “It was just I admired Jesse and understand that he was doing really well in his career and just for the simple fact that when this is all over and I can’t do this anymore, I promote amateur boxing … I can say, ‘Hey, I fought some of the big names; I fought some of the tough guys; I fought some of the celebrities.”

Brinkley, a Yerington native, became a celebrity on the first season of NBC’s “The Contender.” He thought with the success of that show and his recent domination of fellow “Contender” contestant Joey Gilbert on Feb. 14, that would have given him his chance at a big-time fight. Brinkley took a unanimous decision over Gilbert and immediately turned his eyes to fighters like Kelly Pavlick and Jermain Taylor. But the early talks were just that.

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Because of what looked like what was going to be a long layoff, Brinkley was forced to take a fight now rather than hold out for a bigger fight. Taylor, the No. 5-ranked super middleweight in the world, is coming off an April loss to Carl Froch and will fight again in October. Pavlick, the WBC and WBO middleweight title holder had to postpone his scheduled June 27 fight against Sergio Mora, winner of the first season of “The Contender,” because of a staph infection. The two are also reportedly in talks with Showtime to be a part of a six-man tournament that would keep them tied up through 2011.

In the last five months since his win over Gilbert, which is considered his biggest victory to date, Brinkley has spent more time hanging out with his wife and kids than training for a fight. He trained for less than five weeks for this fight, and with Paschall being a southpaw, Brinkley’s trainer Peter Manfredo Sr. is slightly concerned about the outcome.

“(Camp) wasn’t the way I wanted it because I only got four and half weeks with him,” he said. “Toward the end, he was really starting to come around.

“When you go up against a southpaw and you’re not well-conditioned when you come into the camp, you’ve got to work on your conditioning and losing the weight, then you’ve got try to learn. So, when you’re a little bit tired, you’re not going to comprehend when you’re trying to work that punch. That’s what was happening in the beginning … Now he’s starting to move over to the left. He’s not going to stay in the way.”

But Manfredo added that he would be more concerned if Paschall was more of a power puncher. In his 22 career fights, only four have been decided by knockout.

While Brinkley isn’t in the same shape he was for the Gilbert fight, perhaps the best of his career, he is confident that Paschall won’t upset his long-term plans that he has temporarily put on hold.

“I’m not looking past today,” Brinkley said. “I’m not looking to November, October, nothing. I’ve got a guy here, who as you heard was calling out he wants to fight me. While I was home, celebrating and partying, he was actually doing jump ropes. I’ve got my hands full. I’ll show why I am where am and why I am who I am Friday night.”

Action begins at 7 p.m.