Rising heavyweight prospect Michael Coffie is expecting a tougher night’s work when he meets late substitute Jonnie Rice at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey, on Saturday.
The Los Angeles based Rice (13-6-1, 9 KOs) steps in at four days’ notice for former WBC title challenger Gerald Washington who tested positive for Covid-19.
Rice brings some form having taken world-rated Nigerian Efe Ajagba 10 rounds in his last outing in September. He had been sparring with heavyweight contender Michael Hunter when he got the call to step into Saturday’s FOX PBC Fight Night main event.
“When I look at Jonnie Rice, I think he might be more durable than Gerald Washington,” said New Yorker Coffie (12-0, 9 KOs), a former US Marine.. “To me, that just makes this a better fight. He’s big and tall, but so am I. He’s got some good experience with some known prospects and he’s gone the distance. I think it makes for a better fight for the fans. That’s what I want to give them.”
“There’s some level of difficulty with a late opponent change. I can’t know for sure if he’s a tougher opponent until I’m in the ring with him. That’s just life though. You have to be prepared for things to go unexpectedly. I’ll be prepared for anything Saturday.
“I think there are definitely big names around the corner for me. Sooner rather than later, too. What’s worked out in my favour is the learning curve of this sport. I’ve been able to pick up intricate parts of the sport quickly.
“I already had mental toughness coming into the sport [having served in the US Marines]. I’ve just been building it in the gym and then displaying it in the ring. It’s about building up brick-by-brick.
“After my initial reaction to hearing about Gerald getting sick, I just had to change the focus to Rice. I watched some tape and we made some minor tweaks to what we’re doing. We’re ready to go now and Saturday should be a good night. We’re the big guys, so you can expect big shots, blood and fireworks.”