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Fight Week: Michael Coffie to face Jonathan Rice, Conor Benn in action

USA TODAY Sports Media Group
USA TODAY Sports Media Group
 2021-07-27
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Sean Michael Ham / TGB Promotions

FIGHT WEEK

HEAVYWEIGHT CONTENDER MICHAEL COFFIE WILL FACE late replacement jonathan rice, AND CONOR BENN RETURNS AGAINST ADRIAN GRANADOS ON A BUSY SATURDAY.

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MICHAEL COFFIE (12-0, 9 KOs)

VS. JONATHAN RICE (13-6-1, 9 KOs)

  • When: Saturday, July 31
  • Where: Prudential Center, Newark, N.J.
  • TV/Stream: Fox
  • Division: Heavyweight
  • At stake: No titles
  • Pound-for-pound ranking: None
  • Odds: NA
  • Also on the card: Paul Kroll vs. Justin DeLoach, welterweights; James Martin vs. Vito Mielnicki Jr., welterweight; Joey Spencer vs. Dan Karpency, junior middleweights
  • Prediction: Coffie KO 8
  • Background: Coffie, 35, got off to a late start because he spent eight years in the Marine Corps but has made an impression since turning pro in 2017. The resident of Brooklyn, who has sparred regularly with Deontay Wilder, is massive (6-foot-5, around 270 pounds) but also quick and athletic. And he’s developing into a good boxer. He’s coming off his most-important victory, a third-round knockout of previously unbeaten Darmani Rock this past January. That was his first scheduled 10-rounder. Coffie was supposed to have fought veteran Gerald Washington on Saturday but Washington had to pull out after testing positive for COVID-19. Rice, a 34-year-old journeyman from Los Angeles, is coming off back-to-back losses to Australian prospect Demsey McKean (TKO 10) and Efe Ajagba (UD) in March and September of last year. Nine of his 13 victories have come by knockout, which seems to indicate that he has power. And he is about the same size as Coffie in terms of both height and weight.

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CONOR BENN (18-0, 12 KOs)

VS. ADRIAN GRANADOS (21-8-3, 15 KOs)

  • When: Saturday, July 31
  • Where: Prudential Center, Newark, N.J.
  • TV/Stream: Fox
  • Division: Heavyweight
  • At stake: No titles
  • Pound-for-pound ranking: None
  • Odds: Benn 12-1 (average from multiple outlets)
  • Also on the card: Xu Can vs. Leigh Wood, featherweights; Tommy McCarthy vs. Chris Billam-Smith, cruiserweights; Jack Cullen vs. Avni Yildrim, super middleweights; Anthony Fowler vs. Roberto Garcia, junior middleweights
  • Prediction: Benn KO 9
  • Background: Benn, the son of former two-division champion Nigel Benn, is ranked by three of the four major sanctioning bodies and closing in on his first title shot. The 24-year-old from Essex, England, had a short amateur career (a reported 22 fights) but has developed into a good boxer-puncher. He’s coming off back-to-back victories over second-tier veterans Sebastian Formella (UD 10) and Samel Vargas (TKO 1), the latter bout having taken place in April. Granados, 31, might be a small step above those opponents. The rugged Southern Californian is only 1-2-1 in his last four fights — including a draw with Jose Luis Sanchez in May — but he’s a solid boxer who fights hard. And he has come up short primarily against elite opponents, including Adrien Broner, Shawn Porter, Danny Garcia and Robert Easter Jr. Granados would be a nice stepping stone for Benn in his pursuit of a championship.

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Also fighting this weekend: Knockout artist Eduardo Nunez (21-1, 21 KOS) takes on Jonathan Aguilar (20-10, 15 KOs) in a featherweight bout Thursday in Los Mochis, Mexico (UFC Fight Pass); and Erick Leon faces Juan Marces Rodriguez in a junior welterweight bout Friday in Mexico City (Estrella TV).

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