Yerington's Jesse Brinkley has been cleaning house outside of the boxing ring lately and it's a trend he hopes to continue when he steps into the ring Saturday against Anthony Bonsante in an ESPN-televised rematch.
The 28-year-old Brinkley, 25-3, 17 knockouts, stopped the 34-year-old Bonsante, 26-6-3 (15), in the fifth round last September when the pair met on NBC's reality show "The Contender," which has switched over to ESPN.
In a conversation Saturday, Brinkley, who dropped his final two Contender matches to eventual champ Sergio Mora and then Alfonso Gomez, said he has parted ways with longtime trainer Miguel Diaz to work with Peter Manfredo Sr., whose son Peter Manfredo Jr. will vie for The Contender belt in a rematch with Mora in the main event.
"I had to get away from all the distractions in (Las) Vegas and Yerington," Brinkley said. "My skills were diminishing. I don't know. Everything is what it is. I needed more one-on-one work. I've been working heavily without being interrupted."
Brinkley said he had nothing personal against Diaz.
"Miguel has done wonders for me," Brinkley said. "But he's busy doing his own thing. He can't stay with just one person at a time. I don't have a bad thing to say about him."
Brinkley, however, wasn't as sparing with his words when it came to Joey Gilbert, Brinkley's former partner on The Contender and his, for now, current sports publicist.
"I'm looking forward to kicking his ass," Brinkley said of Gilbert, who will fight an as yet unnamed opponent Nov. 5 at Caesars Tahoe on a Showtime-televised card featuring IBF super middleweight titlist and IBF bantamweight beltholder Rafael Marquez. "Joey Gilbert didn't do me justice (as an agent). He only played me. He just looked out for himself.
"He just used my name to boost his Web site (www.joeygilbert.com). I looked out for Joey on the show. He needs an adult spanking and I'm the man to do it."
Brinkley said he's spoken to other boxers who have made between $15,000 and $30,000 off their Web sites.
"I haven't received a $1 check, not one red cent," Brinkley said. "Joey's driving Range Rovers, doing this, doing that. He's wearing the finest of clothes. He's an attorney, but you don't see him trying one case. He's a boxer, but he hasn't fought in one year. Where's he getting all his money?
"My Web site (www.jessebrinkley.com) has been getting all these hits and I've been signing $100 gloves. We've had to re-order this and that and when I ask for a measly couple thousand dollars I can't even get a break."
Brinkley also said he didn't think he got enough attention from his publicist and Gilbert's law partner Mark Schopper, of Reno.
"I don't have anything against Mark Schopper," Brinkley said, "but Mark and Joey have probably been friends since the first grade. He's probably looking out more for Joey than he has me. It's a Joey here, a Joey there, a Joey Joey everywhere. There's going to say they've lost money on me because I haven't shown up for this or that. But why should I? They're looking out for Joey."
Schopper said Saturday that it's a case of Brinkley not understanding the business end of things.
"The reality is we've dumped a lot of our own money into Jesse's T-shirts, the Web site, software for the Web site, etc., etc.," Schopper said. "It's a very simple principle of business that you pay off costs first before you realize profits. Unfortunately, Jesse doesn't understand this simple concept.
"I set up dozens of interviews for Jesse, but he never showed up for them. I set up appearances he never attended and the ones he did, I never even took my fee."
Schopper also said that Gilbert's product line has outsold Brinkley's five to one and there is a big surplus left.
When contacted Saturday, Gilbert was taken aback.
"I'm just blown away," Gilbert said. "My God, I don't know what to say. Very seldom am I at a loss for words. Wow. That's all I can say. Yes, Jesse helped me out on the show. But the last time I checked, that's over.
"From the time I open my eyes till the time I go to bed, 24/7, yes, I try to promote myself. I can't help it if people don't buy more of his stuff. I've gone to Afghanistan, I go to schools to speak to kids. It does them good. But look how Jesse uses his interview to call out people. Look how he uses a would-be opponent to speak to the public. I'm absolutely stunned."
Gilbert also said he has been in court several times as an attorney, that he's never taken a dime from Brinkley's Web site proceeds and harbors no ill will toward him.
"I have nothing bad to say about him. He's a great guy," Gilbert said. "I will not call Jesse out. I wish Jesse the best. I hope he knocks Bonsante out cold."
Although Brinkley spent the majority of the interview talking about Gilbert, he's not taking Bonsante, of Crosby-Ironton, Minn., for granted.
"Anthony Bonsante isn't going to be an easy fight," said Brinkley, who will now campaign at 168 pounds (he will weigh 164 for Bonsante). "Yes, I've beaten him, knocked him out before. But the kid's not scared to fight. He's not like Joey, who wants every advantage and needs a 90-percent chance to win before he fights.
"But I'm not worried about Bonsante. I have bigger fish to fry. It's Anthony, Cleveland Corder (for the third time) in Idaho and then Joey. Jesse Brinkley is back on the hit parade."