Michael Coffie has a new opponent, Jonathan Rice, but the same focus for Saturday

The gleam in Michael Coffie’s eyes is plain. Behind it lies a storage chest of issues nobody would wish to see. They arrive from being a U.S. Marine on an eight-month tour, making an attempt to navigate and keep alive within the rugged, nasty terrain of war-ravaged Afghanistan.

So, for 35-year-old Coffie to search out out final weekend that veteran Gerald Washington fell out resulting from COVID-19 for this Saturday’s FOX PBC Combat Night time foremost occasion (8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT) from the Prudential Heart in Newark, New Jersey, didn’t actually shock him.

Washington will probably be changed by 34-year-old Jonathan Rice (13-6-1, 9 knockouts) and the 6-foot-5, 260-pound Coffie (12-0, 9 KOs) is prepared.

“It occurs in life and it’s extra prone to occur on this COVID local weather,” Coffie stated. “I simply bought house from coaching once I heard the chance that there could be a brand new opponent on Saturday afternoon. My coach, Josue Aguilar, known as to let me know. The primary phrases that got here to thoughts are ‘Are you severe!’ I used to be holding out hope, and I bought the official phrase that it could be Jonathan Rice.

“I do know rather a lot about him by watching him struggle. I bought an training on YouTube. I already knew earlier than the change and I gained’t be blindsided by him and his fashion. My opinion of Rice is that he doesn’t essentially come to struggle. He’s a jumpy man. If he sees somebody as a menace to him, he’ll be jumpy. If he thinks he’s within the ring with somebody he’s not threatened by, he’ll come to struggle.

“I don’t know his opinion about me. We’ll see.”

Coffie is coming off a powerful three-round blowout of beforehand undefeated Darmani Rock on January 30.

“Watch Rice’s struggle with Efe (Ajagba) and the way jumpy he was in that struggle,” Coffie stated. “I positively see myself within the ring yet another time this 12 months, and hopefully, that would be the Gerald Washington struggle. This time subsequent 12 months, I want to be on the cusp of a world title, establishing an opportunity towards somebody like (Tyson) Fury, (Anthony) Joshua or (Deontay) Wilder.

“However I want to get to these guys who fought Gerald Washington. I’m ranked within the WBA and I must work my manner up. I’m poised and relaxed, and I’m a fighter who can change from righty to lefty. I’m a reliable change fighter.”

Coffie is. He’s a pure lefty, although containers out of the orthodox stance. However he can change through the course of a struggle.

“That’s a energy and it has thrown folks off throughout a struggle,” Coffie stated. “I see the look on my opponent’s faces once I make the change. They don’t know how one can react. They’ll see me make a step again and are available again at them as a lefty, and once they see me staying there, they’ve to regulate to that.

“With my background within the Marine Corps, with the self-discipline I realized there, I’ve carried that into the ring. I’ve maintained that mentality that no matter I get put via, I can cope with it. My physique won’t need do it, however my thoughts pulls me via. You’re not going break me.”

Joseph Santoliquito is an award-winning sportswriter who has been working for Ring Journal/RingTV.com since October 1997 and is the president of the Boxing Writers Affiliation of America. He may be adopted on twitter @JSantoliquito.

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