Heavyweight Coffie too strong for Rock, gets stoppage on Fox undercard
Heavyweight Michael Coffie, a seemingly late bloomer at age 34, scored his most impressive victory as he destroyed former amateur standout Darmani Rock in the third round in the co-feature of the Premier Boxing Champions card on Fox on Saturday night at the spectator-free Shrine Auditorium and Expo Hall in Los Angeles.
The 6-foot-5, 270-pound Coffie (12-0, 9 KOs) of Brooklyn, New York, a former U.S. Marine who served two tours in Afghanistan, did not turn professional until he was 29. But he was coming off a second-round knockout of battle-tested journeyman Joey Abell on Nov. 7 and has shown promise.
He and Rock, who looked out of shape, took their time in the slow-paced first and second rounds before Coffie turned it up in the third round. He landed a hard counter left uppercut that knocked Rock down hard. Rock barely beat referee Jack Reiss’ count and was allowed to continue, but he lasted only a few seconds longer.
Coffie nailed the 6-foot-5, 261-pound Rock (17-1, 12 KOs), 24, of Philadelphia, with a short left hook to the temple and Rock went down again. Reiss got to seven, but it was clear Rock was not going to beat the count and he waved off the fight at 59 seconds.
“He has quick hands, we knew that from the beginning but timing beats speed and that’s what I was trying to do, gauge the timing and distance,” Coffie said after. “What (my corner) said is he shuffles his feet and when he shuffles his feet he also drops his hands. They’re not in synch, so basically it was wait for him to shuffle his feet and catch him with that short left hook.”
While Coffie is relatively new to boxing, Rock was a vastly experienced amateur and had more pro experience. But he was boxing for the first time since October 2019 and recently split from Roc Nation Sports when the company closed its boxing division.
Coffie hopes to move as quickly as possible up the ranks given his advanced age.
“I’m trying to get whoever is above Darmani Rock. I want that person,” Coffie said. “After that I want somebody else who’s above him, and above him and so on and so forth – whoever is going to get me to the world title.”
Spencer mows down Seldon
In the opening bout of the main card, junior middleweight prospect Joey Spencer blew away Isiah Seldon, knocking him down twice in a first-round knockout victory.
Spencer (12-0, 9 KOs), 20, a Linden, Michigan, native, nailed Seldon with a right hand about a minute into the fight for the first knockdown. Seldon (14-4-1, 5 KOs), 32, of Somers Point, New Jersey, the son of former heavyweight world titlist Bruce Seldon, got to one knee and then stood up. He went after Spencer and landed three blatant punches behind the head, which caused referee Jerry Cantu to call timeout and deduct two points from Seldon for the intentional fouls.
The points hardly mattered because moments later, Spencer knocked Seldon down again with another right hand and Cantu immediately waved off the fight at 2 minutes, 15 seconds. When Seldon did rise to his feet, he was wobbling before being placed on a stool.
“I just know I’m getting bigger, stronger and older,” Spencer said. “Things are changing in the gym. I’ve been in the gym doing strength training. I wasted no time. I’ve gotten man strength. People aren’t taking my punches like they used to, so I was expecting that to happen tonight.”
It was the second first-round knockout loss for Seldon in his last three fights, having been blasted out by prospect Nikita “White Chocolate” Ababiy in October 2019.
Barthelemy schools Rivera
In the final bout on the preliminary portion of the card, former junior lightweight and lightweight world titlist Rances Barthelemy cruised to a one-sided decision victory over All Rivera in a welterweight bout. Barthelemy was never troubled in winning 100-90, 99-91 and 97-93 over Rivera.
Barthelemy (28-1-1, 14 KOs), 34, a Cuban defector fighting out of Las Vegas, took control from the opening bell. He was far more active and accurate than Rivera, who suffered cuts over both eyes from accidental head butts by the end of the third round.
Barthelemy, often with his hands at his side almost daring Rivera to come to him, switched from right-handed to southpaw throughout the fight, but he seemed content to just outbox Rivera and rarely pressed the action against an obviously overmatched foe.
Barthelemy outlanded Rivera in every round and Rivera never landed double digit punches in any round, according to CompuBox. Barthelemy landed 179 of 548 punches (33 percent) and Rivera connected with only 62 of 367 (17 percent).
Rivera (21-5, 18 KOs), a 27-year-old southpaw from the Philippines, was fighting in the United States for the second time. He also lost his American debut, a decision to then-unbeaten prospect Malik Hawkins in September 2020.
For Barthelemy, who was moving up in weight, it was a much-needed victory. He had not fought since a sleep-inducing draw with former lightweight world titlist Robert Easter Jr. in an April 2019 bout for a vacant secondary lightweight belt. He came into the fight 1-1-1 in his last three fights, a decision loss in his rematch with Kiryl Relikh for a vacant junior welterweight belt, a third-round knockout of Robert Frankel and the draw with Easter.