|Rico Hoye: “I am definitely coming to make a big splash!”
INTERVIEW by Benny Henderson Jr - A.K.A "Big Dog" (Nov 6, 2006)
This Friday night November 10th the Quiet Cannon in Montebello, CA the former world light heavyweight title challenger Rico Hoye, 19-1 (14), returns to the ring to face tough journeyman Sam Hill, 17-6-1 (10), and the once beaten contender plans on a night full of excitement in making a strong statement in his comeback fight that declares, “I’m back!”
After compiling a stellar amateur record of 68-12 and winning numerous amateur titles the Detroit native made his pro debut the summer of ’01 defeating the then undefeated prospect Omar Pucci (3-0) via third round TKO. In his freshman year Hoye devoured his competition by knocking out seven out of his eight opponents. Hoye continued his assault on his opposition and nearly two years to the day of his debut Hoye stepped up and faced the then unbeaten ‘The Boxing Prince’ Prince Baja Ajamu, 15-0-1 (7), for the vacant IBA Continental light heavyweight title. Hoye survived a second
round knock down to comeback and rally together a unanimous decision victory earning him the strap.
Nine months after his big win over Ajamu, Hoye dismantled Donnell Wiggins in the opening round to tack on the WBC Continental Americas light heavyweight title. After earning a split decision victory over Montell Griffin in September of ’04, Hoye suffered his first and only defeat to date by being stopped by Clinton Woods in a battle for the vacant IBF light heavyweight title. After winning a unanimous decision over forty-nine fight veteran Derrick Whitley in December of ’05 Hoye had a nine month hiatus from the ring, and now the thirty-one year old power punching contender wants the fight to know that, “I’m back!”
In this exclusive interview Rico shares his thoughts on his upcoming fight as well as his future, enjoy.
Benny Henderson Jr.: How has your training camp been?
Rico Hoye: Being with Saluki has been real good, this camp has been spectacular, I have been training for about seven to eight weeks now. Strength and conditioning was fantastic, and we some really good boxers down here so I am definitely prepared for this fight.
BH: You are fighting Sam Hill, some would look at this fight and think this is just a warm up, maybe a confidence builder to get you back in the mix of things, your take on this match-up?
RH: I don’t really know much about the guy. I know he has fought a fighter that I have fought before but outside of that I go into every match thinking that anything can happen, you have guys with losing records that upset undefeated fighters and world ranked fighters all the time boxing. Anything can happen so I put in that preparation and the hard work in the gym to make sure that when I go in there that I don’t leave anything on the table, everything I do I am going to leave inside that ring. I will give a 100% no matter who it is, Sam Hill is going to bring whatever he brings but I am definitely going to bring what I bring.
BH: Looking back on the Woods fight, what do you feel you could have done differently, and although it was your first loss did you take anything positive away from the fight that could help you in the future?
RH: Definitely, I think the most positive thing that I took away from that fight was understanding that this is a business and I am the business. When things are being suited to what I need and being beneficial to what I need as a fighter than I have to move on. I went into that fight improperly trained, I trained myself for that fight but there are no excuses. Woods fought a great fight that night and he has been proving it in his past few fights. But I went into that fight without a coach, I went to the actual fight and my head trainer at that time didn’t even show up, so the one thing I did learn is that I am the primary in this business and if isn’t right for me than I have to move on. And at that time that is something that I didn’t do, I recognized that I wasn’t being the attention that I needed going into it the big fight but I strayed anyways when I should have just walked away.
BH: When you are ready to make a strong statement, to let the fans know that you’re definitely back, who would you like to make that statement against?
RH: (Without any hesitation) Clinton Woods, most definitely, I feel like Joe Louis and Schemling the first fight, Joe Louis went in that fight and ended up being stopped and he knew in his heart and mind that he should have won that fight, and when he became champion he felt that he wasn’t champion until he beat Max Schmeling. I feel the same way, in order for me to go into the fight game and be recognized as what I believe is the best fighter in the world than I have to get Clinton Woods in the ring again. Whether it is after I become champion or before, he is primary on my list.
BH: What is your take on the light heavyweight division?
RH: Right now I believe there are some good fighters out there but I believe…as little Floyd would say, I am an A-class fighter. I don’t think anybody in the division is on my level, I believe that with all of my heart and my mid, skill-wise, talent-wise and desire I think that I am the best light heavyweight in the world. I just have to go out there and show it again.
BH: What do you feel are your greatest strengths in the ring and what separates you from the other guys in your division?
RH: I try to always stay humble but I mean the reality is that I think I posses it all, I think I posses the speed, I have power in both hands and skill-wise, I come from a great back ground of fighters and I have had great schooling from my beginnings as a fighter and up until now with Saluki. I think everything has been out into place ands the chips are falling to where they need to be for me to go out there and prove that I am the nest light heavyweight and fighter in the world, bar none.
BH: So the future in your mind looks bright?
RH: Oh I definitely believe so. I believe that God willing going into next year I can definitely be recognized as pound for pound on of the best fighters in the world, I do believe that.
BH: If you could say anything to your opponent and to the ringside fans that will attend this fight, what would it be?
RH: Specifically to the fight fans that are going to be there, don’t blink. I think it is going to be an exciting fight. Like I said I put in hard weeks of training away form my family and this is my opportunity to start climbing back on to the world stage, Sam Hill is definitely going to be in for a fight come this Friday. I hope he brings his A-game because I am definitely going to go in there and do the things that I have to do to win this fight.
BH: Is there anything you want to add to or say in closing of this interview?
RH: Look for big things for me in ’07, I am trying to close out the year in a good note and hopefully I can get one more in December, but come January of next year I am definitely going to be looking to be cracking at the door of the big boys. I am ranked number six right now in the WBC so I can fight for a title right now and it would be a great fight and I know I’ll pull it out. To everybody out there that supported me that thinks I have fallen off the radar, well I am back, and I am definitely coming to make a big splash. And Clinton Woods, I’m coming baby!
I would like to thank Lee Bates for setting up this interview and a thank you goes out to Rico Hoye for his time and thoughts.
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