The first contender series produced two rising stars in boxing, Jesse Brinkley and Joey Gilbert.
I thought the first contender series was the best with Sugar Ray Leonard and Sylvester Stallone. It made Brinkley and Gilbert heroes in Nevada.
A lot has happened since the beginning of the series, Joey Gilbert is retired from boxing and Brinkley is entering the ring tonight for what seems like the most important fight of his life. Under the guidance of Peter Manfredo Sr., Brinkley went on a impressive winning streak which all ended in Canada against Lucian Butte, although Brinkley lasted nine rounds he was dominated by Butte throughout the fight and was very badly hurt.
Now, without Manfredo by his side, he is going against Peter (Kid Chocolate) Quillin, 23-0 with 17 KOs, who is managed by Golden Boy Production, and trains at the famous Wild Card Gym in Hollywood under Freddie Roach. Brinkley, 35-6 with 22 KOs, is trained by Manuel Arce out of Reno. Arce also trains Carlos Gaytan, a promising boxer will be on the undercard.
Quillin, 27, is the favorite going into the bout, but anyone who has followed Brinkley, 34, knows that on fight night he's always ready and brings something special. Brinkley has kept boxing alive and exciting in Nevada for years. Although he is once again the underdog and I'm sure all of Nevada is pulling for him to be victorious.
Undercard action has Lonnie Smith (12-2-2, 9 KOs) of Las Vegas facing David Rodela (15-3-3, 6 KOs) of Oxnard, Calif., in the six round co-feature which will be televised on Telefutura's solo boxeo. Jose Elizondo Jr. from Carson City will be making his pro debut and Carlos Gaytan of Reno (2-0, 1 KO) will be back in the ring. A special undercard attraction will be Thomas Gennaro, a two time collegiate champion for UNR taking on Oscar Godoy 1-1 of Watsonville, Calif.
Tickets are available on ticketmaster.com or by calling 800-745-3000 or by visiting the Silver Legacy or Reno Event Center box office during hours of operation. Prices are $33.25, $63.25, and $103.25. Doors open at 6 p.m. and first bell is at 7 p.m.
• Victor Bruno is athletic director of Bruno's Boxing Club in Carson City.