Rice: When I got the call, I was ready

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Photo: Frank Micelotta/FOX

Coming in with two straight losses and just 48 hours’ notice, 25:1 underdog Jonnie Rice (14-6-1, 10 KOs) was expected to be cannon fodder for unbeaten and world-rated heavyweight contender Michael Coffie (12-1, 9 KOs) in the main event of FOX PBC Fight Night. Unfortunately for Coffie, Rice didn’t read the script.

“I wasn’t a late replacement,” said Rice, who brutally stopped Coffie in five rounds. “I was waiting for an opportunity. We replaced someone, but we weren’t late. We were right on time. I was training every day. I was training with Michael Hunter. I did 20 rounds, 10 and 10 last Friday before I got the call. So when I got the call, I was ready.

“Honestly, I didn’t expect to overwhelm Coffie like that. I knew Michael Coffie from his fights, but not because he had a great record but because he was a sparring partner for Deontay Wilder. In my head, I played the little game that I was Luis Ortiz’s sparring partner for his second fight against Wilder. So technically it was Luis Ortiz’s vs. Deontay Wilder’s sparring partners. We’re going to see what happens. I was playing with that in my head. I had to fight a little bit like Deontay Wilder and then a little bit different. That’s what the game plan was.”

Rice added, “I want it all. I want what every boxer wants. I want to be world champion. I understand that my record doesn’t say that, but I want the world to watch my progress. I’m not in the right mind to be calling people out. I’m just going to be ready for the opportunity and when it comes I’m going to answer the call. I’m going to get as much money for it as I can. And you know one thing, I’m going to put on a show.”

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  • When you work hard in this nation, great things happen. Jonathan Rice came to work. He earned it. I am very happy for Mr. Rice.

    I said this in another post. Mr. Coffie (Mr. PBC Priviledge) got KTFO.

  • Great performance by Rice, he looked like he should have been the 25-1 favorite.

    • The thing is Rice isn’t in a good shape. Most of these heavyweights now are in horrible shape. Wladimir Klitschko is around 6’5 and always weighed between 220 when he turned pro to 240 when he was champion. Lennox Lewis was around 6’5 and was between 230 and 240.

      Now we have these guys weighing 270 plus. Good win for Rice but he is in horrible shape.

      • I think you are mistaking in shape for being ripped. There are guys in great shape who simply cant lose the thin layers of fat so they are never defined. Spend some time in the ring and if a guy can go 6-10-12 rounds constantly moving, hands up and throwing he is in boxing shape. If he can run 5-10 miles again he is in good boxing shape. On the other side you have guys cut and well defined that gas out. Great looks, but not in boxing shape.

    • Did not go down and took a whooping like a man,,, Coffie never quit. Great heart and entertaining fighter. No need to put a man down like that

  • What a war of heavyweights! This is not Floyd Mayweather safety first boxing!
    Coffie looked like he was going to be groomed to be a contender but was exposed. Never went down and has plenty of heart but at 35 you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. Coffie is a poor man’s Ray Mercer (also a military vet) who lost a controversial decision to the great Lennox Lewis.

    Jonnie Rice will never be top ten but he is a big strong heavyweight. Not just upper body but powerful legs for a boxer. Coffie was not moving well and eating too many big right hands. Rice got too much confidence early on and before he could run out of gas the fight was stopped.

  • Rice knew about the fight since Monday. I got a txt about it on Tuesday morning. My buddy trains Rice and told me Rice was ready to go and mentally there. My buddy anted us to sponsor Rice, but we had already sponsored Coffie and we didn’t want to sponsor both fighters at the same time. Coffie looked flat soon as he got in the ring. Good peops. If you follow boxing, than you know they were setting out to make Mike the next American great Hope to fight one of the UK champs. Mike had the US Military thing going for him as a huge selling point. Would have set up for a great UK vs USA heavyweight showdown. He needs another 10 fights to for that to happen. Also, people have to remember, the 2 UK champs been boxing their whole lives. Both would have been too much for Coffie at this stage. Needless to say, Rice did know about the fight for about 5-6 days.

    • You mentioned that Coffie needs another 10 fights before challenging one of the UK Champs, but he is 35 years old now. How old will he be 10 fights from now? If he is THAT bad defensively now, he’s not going to be Pernell Whittaker a few fights from now. Too much work needed at too advanced an age. He seems a decent guy and I hope the best for him, but somebody else pointed out that he may have already found his ceiling, and that may be pretty accurate. He can punch though, and with VERY careful matchmaking, I suppose he can stay relevant for a few more fights. He’s going to need opponents who will be right in front of him.

      • @USF Bulls-Did you catch that Rice played basketball for Winthrop University from 2005-2009? Those were Cinderella teams that made the NCAA tournament a couple of those years. A while back you mentioned heavyweight Rapheal Akpejiori, who played basketball at University of Miami; he was a guest on the Jim Rome show a couple weeks ago. Interesting guy.

    • Get your facts right mate . Joshua started boxing at 18-19 (he was into soccer),had only 35 amateur fights and 16 pro when he defeated Martin. so far he has had 25 pro fights and he is 31 years old. Fury is the one who was fighting from a young age.

  • How refreshing to see a guy score a nice upset win but not call out Fury or Joshua. Rice is completely realistic in his expectations and this win should line him up for some decent paydays. Win those and then call out the Big Boys.

  • We will see how Coffie bounces back from his hard lesson moment. Will Coffie swim, stay at idle or further sink? I hope Coffie uses this hard lesson to swim.

    Rice put in that grunt work for a well earned victory.

    • He looked confused. His switching constantly from orthodox to southpaw didn’t help. Rather, made him even more open to the overhand right.

      Washington has even more snap in his right hands. I wonder how he would have done against Coffie.

      With that said, Rice vs. Washington would be a good match

  • Coffee a world rated contender my god no wonder boxing is in the toilet. On a side not if Rice fights anyone with a pulse next time Rice gets destroyed

    • Rice is 6’5 270 lbs. if you get hit by a man that large it wont tickle no matter who you are. He will give anybody trouble in the HW division if he fought like he did last night. He had the look of confidence on his face. Im curious to see where he goes next.

  • This win will make Rice more dominant and dangerous from here on out. He knows opportunity called once and will most likely call again.

  • So freaking refreshing!

    When all is said and done in his career, I’d love to see Rice working as a commentator for a large network.

  • Well Trevor Bryan will need someone to fight next. May as well be Rice

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