|The Harder They Fall - Brinkley, Atlas, 2 Cents on Pacquiao, Mayweather, Mosley and More!
By Sunset Thomas, Doghouse Boxing (Feb 8, 2010)
It wasn’t my typical Friday night, instead of hosting some event at a Vegas hotspot or dining with friends at The Palms Restaurant in Caesars; I was at homein bed, channel surfing.
I was startled, when suddenly I found Frankie Gambino seated at the foot of my bedthe channel changer somehow now in his hands. “Friday Night Fights,” he said, “ESPN.”
Of course, I thought. It’d been so long since I was homebound on a Friday night I’d all but forgotten about my buddy Teddy Atlas and Friday Night Boxing. I sat up and eagerly awaited the card.
Dang, if it wasn’t coming from Reno and double-dang if those Lane Brothers weren’t promoting it (my last column on the 100th Anniversary of the Johnson/Jeffries fight is being co-promoted by Let’s Get It On Boxing).
The feature bout involved Jesse Brinkley and I’m all about Jesse and so is Frankie but we were both shocked that Teddy had essentially said that this Stevens character was going to knock him out within two rounds (Stevens was quoted as saying 50 seconds). Of course, when Teddy diagnosis a fight he always allows an out for the other fighter and Frankie and I were going with the out…
Anyways, Frankie is gabbing about how Jesse’s corner, his trainer, is Peter Manfredo Sr. and how Peter is a good guyfrom Providence, Rhode Island and then it hits methe Contender connection.
See Peter Manfredo Jr. and Jesse were both on The Contender and I loved that showespecially the first season. Plus, I covered Jesse when he fought and whooped Joey Gilbert (another Reno pug), so this clan was not unfamiliar to me.
When Peter Manfredo Sr. jumped into the ring at the end of the 5th round after Stevens threw punches well after the bell, why Frankie was yelling as loud as the crowd at the Grand Sierra Resort in Reno!
“That’s what a good trainer does kid,” Frankie roared. “He protects his fighter. Heck, back in his day, old man-Manfredo was one-hellava fighter himselfit’s a good thing Steven’s corner didn’t get any cockamamie ideas!”
That episode and the upset victory by Jesse intrigued me and so on Monday I got Peter Sr. on the phone…
Once I had Peter on the line I had to know all about the entering the ring episode. He was quite candid in his response.
“Steven’s hitting Jesse after the bell was culmination of week’s worth of smack talk and disrespect from his camp. They tried to intimidate Jesse at every turn. They went so far as to get a room next to one rented in Jesse’s name so they could stay up late and make lots of noise. The irony is that Jesse wasn’t in that roombut his wife was. Those kind of childish antics bother me. Hey, if the fighter wants to talk the talkand Stevens didpromising to knock out my guy in the first 50 seconds of the fightthat’s one thing but when you’ve got a posse of bully’s mouthing off at every turn, well it grates on youat least it did on me. So once Stevens started tossing punches, clearly after the bell, I went in. I went in to protect my kidnot to hurt Stevens mind you, just to back him off.”
Frankie liked how Manfredo spoke of Brinkley as one of his ownfatherly. Frankie said it was an Italian thingfamiliaand that go Peter to remark that we’d caught him at his Ma’s house. And Monday at Mama Manfredo’s is Meatball Mondays. And when Jesse is in training (and living with the Manfredo’s), each day they drive out to Mama’s house and eat and then relax for a bit before heading off to the gym.
Frankie said he was going to start calling Brinkley, Jesse Brinkilinihe liked the sound of it better. There’s nothing you can do about Frankie Gambino!
Frankie urged me to ask Peter about his own boxing background and I was surprised to find out that it wasn’t the Marquess of Queensberry who prompted Manfredo to fight, but more like the Martial of Arts. Yep, Peter Manfredo Sr. made his bones as a kick-boxer. And not any old kick boxer but a world champion!
He sort of found boxing because, believe it or not, the paydays were bigger!
“I made more money fighting an 8-round boxing match than fighting for a kick boxing world title! But I came to love the sport and I had a pretty fair amateur career and then turned profighting nine times. My record was pretty good too6 wins, 2 losses and 2 draws.”
Talk got back to family and I wanted to know about Peter’s son. I knew Manfredo Jr. had a fight the very same night as Brinkleyonly clear across the country. Why wasn’t Peter with his kid? Peter explained.
“Originally I was going to be in my son’s corner. I felt it my filial obligation. It’s not that I was abandoning Jesse, he would have been in capable handsbelieve me. But it didn’t sit right with Jesse. I think he was having some confidence issues about me not being therehey, we’ve rattled off 9 straight wins since I’ve been full-time with the kid. And he was well trained. I mean as prepared for the Stevens fight as anyone could be…”
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Frankie cut in, “You worked him hard huh Pete?”
“Hell yes. I had him sparring ten rounds with five different guysincluding my son and my other protégé Edwin Rodriguez, who, by the way, is highly touted by both Ring magazine and ESPN boxing. Anyways, Jesse was working his butt off. We watched lots of tape on Stevens and I saw something. You could throw the guy off-balance with the jab and so we worked extensively on that. But don’t let me digress too much here Frankie. Sunset asked about the issue with my kids fight…”
“Yeah, yeah ladies first,” Frankie saidFrankie calling me a lady was also a first, that’s for sure!
“Anyways,” Peter continued, “my decision to work Peter’s corner seemed to rattle Jesse and it was actually my son who came to me and said, ‘Pops, I’ll be okay. I can handle this guy. You ought to be with Jesse.’ And so that was that.”
Of course, The Pride of Providence didn’t disappoint, he took a unanimous decision over Matt Vanda at the Mohegan Sun Casino. And pop’s strategy was spot onJesse handled Stevens with a unanimous decision of his ownscoring two knockdowns in the process.
“It’s not often that a hometown favorite is the betting dog,” remarked Frankie, noting that even the betting odds were stacked against Jessein his home town!
“We were confident,” said the elder Manfredo. “We knew if we followed our game plan that we could win that fight. Jesse has become a true pro since joining the Lane stable and working with me full-time. I’m telling you, he can be a world-champ and this victory puts him in line for a shot at Lucian Bute,” (currently ranked the number 2 Super-Middleweight in the world).
I wanted to know when that fight might take place and Manfredo was quick to point out how those decisions are made by promoters not trainers but that he’d have his fighter ready in any event.
And Frankie and I both know that he will. Peter Manfredo is a passionate pugmeistera man who connects with his fighters and prepares them well. His stable is growing and with the success of both his son and Jesse and the super-hot Rodriguez (13-0 with 9 KO’s) the Manfredo Gym (and Mama Manfredo’s kitchen) may get busier than ever!
I just want to add my two-cent’s on the Mayweather/Mosley fight. I hope Sugar Shane beats the brathow cool would it be for Pac-Man to get the mega-payday fighting Mosley rather than Mayweather!
Frankie thinks Shane will win. He says Mayweather couldn’t knock a fig leaf of a naked Greek in a windstorm. I don’t know about that but he’ll sure be in for the fight of his life and at half the price of what he’d have made with Manny!
Also, loyal readers please check out my book (Anatomy of an Adult Film) and my cohorts hard-boiled murder/mystery novelDeath’s Green Eyes….
To find out more on Frankie Gambino - Please click the link: The Harder They Fall: How I meet Frankie Gambino.
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