Three years ago Regis Prograis engaged in a memorable battle against Josh Taylor in the Finals of the World Boxing Super Series. While he staged a late rally at the, he fell short against Taylor, who captured the Muhammad Ali Trophy, and then eventually became the undisputed junior welterweight champion by defeating Jose Ramirez in 2021.
While Taylor has engaged in some major events since their meeting, Prograis path has been....well, interesting. In October of 2020, he knocked out Juan Heraldez in three rounds in San Antonio on the Gervonta Davis-Leo Santa Cruz undercard. Then he fought Ivan Redkach in Atlanta on a show featuring Jake Paul in 2021, and then last year he stopped Tyrone McKenna in six rounds in a tennis stadium in Dubai
He truly has been a globetrotter of sorts, but one whose career path was a bit aimless. In many respects, despite his stature within the division, Prograis was on the outside looking in.
Now this Saturday night at the Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California, he is paired against Jose Zepeda for the vacant WBC 140 title in a pay-per-view card that is being promoted by an upstart organization called Marv Nation.
It's one of the last really good match-ups on the boxing calendar left in 2022. According to Ring Magazine, while Taylor remains the champion, Prograis is rated first, with Zepeda at third.
This is a fan-friendly affair featuring two southpaws with potent offensive arsenals.
The winner of this bout doesn't just become a belt-holder in the division, they become a true player. It's strewn with talent and now you have the likes of Teofimo Lopez and Ryan Garcia who have entered the fray.
“There’s a lot of big fights ahead but the first thing is Jose Zepeda," stated Prograis. "Tank (Gervonta Davis) versus Ryan is a good fight in the division, I got Tank but Ryan’s confidence is sky high. That’s a fight I hope to see in person if I’m not in camp. And of course, I want the winner.”
He added, "“I’m glad Teofimo Lopez is at 140, the division is really lit up now, that’s why I insisted on staying at 140 when I could have moved up. I’ve got a nutritionist now and don’t have to worry about making weight. I could stay at 140 for the rest of my career now if I want to.”
Lopez faces Sandor Martin on December 10, and hopes to make his move for a major title at 140 in 2023. Prograis says of this pairing: “Sandor Martin is a good test for Teofimo now, it’s a really good fight. It’s a better fight than Pedraza for Teofimo, Sandor Martin will come to win. This will prove if Teo is ready for the 140 pound division.”
And then you have the aforementioned, Taylor, who will be engaging in a rematch against Jack Catterall, who many believed deserved to have his hands raised against him when they met in February.
Prograis is the consummate fighter, one that has been yearning for the marquee bouts. There is a sense that the 33 year old from New Orleans has tread a bit of water the past few years. But starting this weekend he has a chance to make up for lost time.
“This is what I really, really love, to fight. Love the world title and the money but I really love getting in the ring on fight night.”
It's been an interesting lead-up for Zepeda, who a couple of weeks ago was cited for battery after allegedly punching a man at a gym in Baldwin Park, California. (Hey, isn't that what happens in a boxing gym?)
Then on Monday to begin fight week, he was not able to attend the media day at Churchill Gym, as the vehicle he was in, got into an accident.
Rick Mirigan Instagram
Zepeda's manager, Rick Mirigian, explained what took place on his Instagram account.
So yeah, it's been a bumpy ride recently for him.
There's another solid bout on Saturday afternoon taking place from England at the O2 Arena that will be streamed by ESPN+, that features a pair of top 10 rated Ring Magazine super middleweights. John Ryder (ranked third) takes on Zach Parker (who is rated sixth).
This is being fought for the WBO interim title.
Ryder is the most seasoned fighter, but the undefeated Parker is a big, strong guy who can whack. This figures to be an entertaining affair.
DAZN has a card from the Wembley Arena that has the return of Dillian Whyte, who faces American, Jermaine Franklin. Whyte, a long-time heavyweight contender, is coming off a fourth round KO at the hands of Tyson Fury. He is now under the direction of respected trainer, Buddy McGirt.
Ruben Torres, Charles Conwell, Bakhodir Jalolov, Fernando Jr and Amado Vargas are part of the undercard in Carson this weekend....Kazuto Ioka and Joshua Franco will engage in a super flyweight unification bout on New Years Eve in Japan...Recommended watch, 'Pepsi, Where's My Jet' on Netflix...Can't believe the college football regular season is over, already. It's like it flew by....I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org...