Friday, December 9, 2011

You probably recognize the name Jessa Hinton. Just a few months ago, Hinton graced the cover of Playboy Magazine as Miss July 2011. There are also strong indications she’s the frontrunner for 2012 Playmate of the Year. An amazing feat for someone who literally just burst onto the scene.
I spoke with Jessa recently about her work as a reporter for ESPN’s Top Rank Boxing. She was more than aware of the fact that many believe she’s just a pretty face, a female that connects with male viewers simply because of her looks. But after speaking with her for quite some time, I can tell you that it couldn’t be further from the truth. Jessa truly has a passion for the sport and is more knowledgeable than even the most ardent of fans.
When I asked her about the Manny Pacquaio-Juan Manuel Márquez fight, she broke it down for me, describing nuances even I hadn’t picked up. Like many others, she believed Márquez won the fight, albeit in a close affair. I vehemently disagreed with her as I thought Pacquaio had done just enough to win by split decision and at worst, a draw.
“The judges had a different angle from us, so maybe they saw something we didn’t. Pacquaio’s hair, because it’s so long, can give the perception of a powerful punch, when in actuality he’s not being hit that hard.”
On whether the Manny Pacquaio-Floyd Mayweather fight will ever happen:
“I think it will, I think Mayweather looked at Pacquaio’s fight with Marquez and saw an opening. I think it’s going to happen next summer. It’s a fight boxing really needs because it’s struggling.”
We switched gears a little as I wanted to get her take on the treatment she receives from professional athletes, and whether there had been any instances similar to that with Rampage Jackson and some female reporters. Admittedly, she had not heard of any incidents and I didn’t have the heart to tell her that Jackson essentially dry humped Heather Nichols.
“I have to prove myself, I have to be knowledgeable so they’ll take me seriously. I’ve never had anyone be rude, I’ve had guys hit on me, I’ve had guys flirt with me. When that happens, I flip it over to them and make them feel uncomfortable and throw in a ‘what would your mother think, what would your girlfriend say.’ I put a twist on it so we can continue the interview.”
“Guys would love to have me interview them, but once they know that I know what I’m talking about, it actually turns into a professional interview and not just a cute girl talking to them.”
When I asked who specifically hit on her, she would not divulge any details but said several boxers and poker players who were married or had girlfriends “should not be doing what they do.” And, if it comes to it, she can handle herself physically. Jessa trains at Randy Couture’s gym with his best boxing instructor several times a week. So, Rampage Jackson, keep your hands to yourself if Ms. Hinton comes calling.
Here are some other random questions I asked her, including what female sideline reporter she really dislikes.
Favorite Interview: “Sugar Shane Mosley, so confident in himself”
Best Heavyweight of all-time: “Joe Frazier, doesn’t get the credit he deserves”
Favorite sideline reporter: “I have a soft spot for Erin Andrews, I’m a big fan, and obviously my dad’s a big fan.”
Least favorite sideline reporter: “If somebody kind of annoys me, or rubs me the wrong way, it’s Heidi Watney. Maybe because I’m a Yankees fan.”
On fellow Playboy Playmate Jaime Edmonson: “I love her, she’s amazing. She’s somebody I really get along with.”
Like we said earlier, Jessa is making a run at 2012 Playmate of the Year and has a number of other project she’s working on. She’s teamed with Affliction clothing and is beginning a nationwide tour for the launch of the brands’ new swimsuit line in February and their 2012 calendar (on stands in October). She’s also the brand ambassador for Milwaukee’s Best Beer campaign and can be seen as the poster girl for the PALMS Hotel & Casino national advertisements.
Goes without saying, but yes, she’s a jack of all trades.
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