Rico Hoye Interview: I Will Knock Out Dante Craig in Three Rounds!

By Robert Brizel, Head Real Combat Media Boxing Correspondent


In an exclusive interview with Real Combat Media, veteran boxer Rico Hoye Jr. (whose record is 23-3 with 15 knockouts) talked about his upcoming comeback bout in Chicago on August 26, 2013, against Dante Craig, a member of the 2000 United States Olympic Boxing Craig. Predicting he would stop Craig within three rounds, Hoye talked about his four year layoff, and his plans for the future in the cruiserweight and heavyweight divisions. At one point, Hoye was ranked first in the world at light heavyweight by the International Boxing Federation, and was also world ranked in the top five by the WBA, WBC, and WBO. During his career, Hoye, a Golden Gloves champion in several weight classes, held the regional championship belts of the IBA, NABF, WBO NABO, and WBC, and won two IBF light heavyweight world title eliminators. A documentary, ‘Rico’, was done about his life.


Rico Hoye One Minute Promo for ‘The Contender’ Television Series on YouTube


Real Combat Media: “Rico, you live out in Phoenix now. Are the people of Phoenix, Arizona, different than the people of Detroit, Michigan where you grew up?”


Rico Hoye: “Where I live today in Arizona with my wife and family, Phoenix is slower, pleasant and nice. People are pretty pleasant, easy, laid back, multicultural. I’m more mature now. The mean streets of Detroit I grew up on in the era of the mid 1980’s were drugs and crack cocaine. Detroit became a ‘little Iraq’. Drugs took over and it was kill or be killed. People wanted that money. It was isolated to the point where you knew where you could go and where you couldn’t go. If you were from the West Side of Detroit, you didn’t go to the East Side of Detroit. If you were from the East Side of Detroit, you didn’t go to the West Side of Detroit. They used to say ‘The West Side Make it, and the East side take it’, (referring to) drugs or money. I’ve seen gunfights. I was involved in a couple of gunfights.”



Real Combat Media: “Rico, how did you become interested in boxing?”


Rico Hoye: “I’m pretty old school. My father was former super middleweight fighter Bobby Hoye (1951-1996). My grandfather, who raised me, was United States Army and Golden Gloves middleweight Robert Hoye (1930-1999).”


Real Combat Media: “You fought your entire career between 173 and 199 pounds, and you were ranked as high as first in the world at light heavyweight. For your comeback after four years of inactivity, you are going to fight at heavyweight against ex-Olympian Dante Craig. Why fight at the higher weight?”



Rico Hoye: “Actually I have never been under 200. Normally I walk around at 205 to 215 pounds. Until a few weeks ago, I weighed 209 pounds. I’m able to eat. I’m looking to come in against Dante Craig at 218 to 220 pounds.”


Real Combat Media: “Rico, you fought three televised five round bouts on the television show ‘The Contender’ in 2009 against Michael Alexander, Joell Godfrey and Ehinomen Ehikamenor. You never fought on the show again. What happened?”


Rico Hoye: “I got fed up with boxing. I never got the break I deserved. I put a lot of work into boxing. A lot of promoters were taking advantage of me. My last promotional group was when I was with ‘The Contender’. I asked them for an unconditional release and they gave it to me. I’d probably still be sitting on the shelf now if I hadn’t gotten the release. At the time, the promoters of ‘The Contender’ were only interested in Troy Ross, who won ‘The Contender’ season 4 championship fight, (and) nobody else.


Real Combat Media: “Did you reach out to other promoters to see if they would sign you?”


Rico Hoye: “I didn’t feel my three losses were a big deal. I reached out to Lou DiBella, Don King, Carl King, Thompson Boxing, and Warrior Boxing. I reached out to everyone (all of the big promoters at that time), but nobody wanted to touch me because of my age, 33, for whatever reason. That was the reason I was given at the time. It would be hard to move me as a 33 year old fighter. Some promoters now regard the fighters they sign like new cars at the factory. Drop it off, works fine. If not, park it at the side of the road. I just got frustrated, and looked at life after boxing.”


Real Combat Media: “Do you think Troy Ross still has potential? He lost an IBF cruiserweight world title fight in 2010 to Steve Cunningham, and again in 2012 to Yoan Pablo Hernandez.”


Rico Hoye: “Troy was beating Cunningham (and had him down) till he got a cut in his left lower eyelid from Steve’s right thumb. Troy is someone with the goods, a two time Olympian. Given the right opportunity, he might become a world champion.”


Real Combat Media: “Talk about your management and training, and whether you would ever go back to fighting in the cruiserweight division.”


Rico Hoye: “As for management, Rich Spilatro and I are working off a friendship, a handshake deal. My trainers are Shadeed Sukuki and Rick Clifton. At age 37, I could go back to cruiserweight. I’m leaving the door open. I believe I could make the weight. I’m comfortable at heavyweight. I feel good at my weight. I’m looking to put on another 10-15 pounds of muscle. I’m comfortable at 225 to 230 pounds. But if the opportunity came along, I’d fight at cruiserweight.”


Reader’s Note: “Rico Hoye has served at a sparring partner for current World Heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko.


Real Combat Media: “During your four years away from boxing, how did you stay busy?”


Rico Hoye:  “I opened up the South Central Boxing Club, my own boxing and fitness gym in South Central Phoenix. Some of the professional athletes I worked with in my gym included Troy O’Leary of the Boston Red Sox (baseball) and Marcel Shipp of the Arizona Cardinals (football). I also went back to school and earned my Associate’s degree in Therapeutic Massage. I’m interested in continuing my education for a bachelor’s degree at Arizona State University.”


Real Combat Media: “When you fought and lost to Clinton Woods for the vacant IBF World Light Heavyweight title in Yorkshire, England, in March 2005, what went wrong?”


Rico Hoye: “After I turned 30, and I went fight Clinton Woods in England, that was the first time I ever had an issue making the weight limit. I had issues with the training camp, one of those training camps where everything went wrong. I didn’t have any sparring.”


Real Combat Media: “Your next fight is with Dante Craig. Is it a ‘get the rust out’ fight?”


Rico Hoye: “Yeah, pretty much.”


Real Combat Media: “Dante Craig has engaged is some heavy trash talk about you.”


Dante Craig: “Rico Hoye’s coming back party will be short lived as my right hand will put him to sleep. (When I step into the ring it will be) Nighty night, Rico.”


Rico Hoye: “He’ll (Dante Craig) find out (what I’m about) the night of the fight. When I fought Richard Hall, he jumped up at the table at the press conference screaming how he was gonna end my career, and we saw how that worked out (Hoye knocked out Hall in the fourth round of the IBF world title eliminator).”


Real Combat Media: “Dante Craig’s manager, Brian Hughes, also made some trash talk statements about you.”


Brian Hughes: “I look forward to Dante dismantling Hoye from the opening bell.”


Rico Hoye: “I don’t have to fight Mr. Hughes. I ain’t worried about what Mr. Hughes has to say.”


Real Combat Media: “Dante Craig say’s that he’ll put you to sleep. His words were ‘Nighty night, Rico! Your response to that?”


Rico Hoye: “If Dante Craig thinks he’s gonna put me to sleep, he’s got another thing coming. He better bring some sleeping pills. That’s the only shot he’s got at putting me to sleep. My bout with Craig won’t go past three rounds. I ‘m thinking about fighting Dante Craig. I have brand new dreams about becoming heavyweight champion of the world, and when I fight I am bad! At the same time I’m a realist. I make out better with my speed and skill with cruiserweights than I do with heavyweights.”


Real Combat Media: “After the Craig bout, what’s next on the horizon?”


Rico Hoye: “I have another fight date in November in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. We’re trying to get something scheduled for August or September, hopefully I can get back into the ring.”


Real Combat Media: “What do you do when you are not boxing training?”


Rico Hoye: “I still do personal training, working in some new gyms, those things are going well.”


Real Combat Media: “Rico, can you explain why do you box? Why do you do what you do? What motivates you to be a professional boxer in the world of boxing?”


Rico Hoye: “I love boxing, win, lose or draw. I just want to get in there and do what I’ve been doing since I was six years old (amateur record of 88-12), and fight! Hopefully opportunities will come and doors will open. Hopefully Cynthia and Wasfi Tolaymat and Chicago Fight Promotion will work with me and open doors for me. I just want to fight!”

Real Combat Media: “How exciting are you about returning to the ring at Cicero Stadium on July 26, 2013, on Cynthia and Wasfi Tolaymat’s boxing card?”

Rico Hoye: “I just want to fight! I’m excited about this opportunity to get back into the ring. Whether it’s cruiserweight or heavyweight, I intend to make some noise again in the boxing game!”