In what was a commanding performance, Regis Prograis became a two-time junior welterweight champion as he stopped Jose Zepeda in 11 rounds at the Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California. He did more than just win the WBC belt, Prograis made a loud statement about his standing in the division.
'Rougarou' is as tough an out as anyone in the division.
Yeah, that means recognized champion, Josh Taylor, who defeated him in one of the best fights of 2019, Jack Catterall, Teofimo Lopez, Subriel Matias, Jose Ramirez or Ryan Garcia. Anyone at 140 can get it.
What was thought to be an evenly matched bout between the highly regarded Zepeda, turned into an exhibition of aggressive boxing, paired with elusiveness, that allowed him to dictate the action throughout. While Zepeda was certainly dangerous with his left hand, it was Prograis who controlled the action with his steady work.
Prograis is a well-rounded offensive fighter but it was his upper body movement that really proved to be the difference between he and Zepeda. While both have potent offensive arsenals, it was Prograis fluidity that allowed him to be both slippery, and free flowing in his attack. While Zepeda was dangerous, he was oftentimes stiff and rigid in his movements, leaving him a much more stationary target. There was a certain rhythm to Prograis that never allowed Ramirez to get comfortable.
While Zepeda landed the occasional left, it was Prograis who was consistently chipping away with his two-fisted attack. After a relatively close first round, 'Rougarou' just kept winning round after round, and he cut Ramirez over the right eye in round four. Going into the late rounds he built a significant lead on the cards, while Zepeda had a weathered look from the work put on him by Prograis.
Zepeda rallied in the 10th with a series of hard shots, the reality is that when he touched him, Prograis chin was stout. Unlike other fights in the past that could be turned around with one shot, Zepeda, really seemed to only sound the alarm for Prograis, who proceeded to come out the next round with a renewed sense of urgency.
After striking Zepeda with a chopping left hand that buzzed the Mexican, Prograis pounced on him and proceeded to hit him with a barrage of punches that forced referee Ray Corona to call off the fight at 59 seconds of the 11th.
For the past few years Prograis has been a bit hidden, traveling the back roads of boxing. After his performance on Saturday night, all roads at 140 may not go through him, but he's no longer a guy that the rest of the division can ignore.
Meanwhile at the Wembley Arena in England, Dillian Whtye was able to retain his relevance in the heavyweight division with a majority decision over Jermaine Franklin. After 12 rounds, Whyte won by the scores of 114-114, 116-112 and 116-112.
Truth be told, an argument could be made that Franklin should have been the winner. He set the tone early on with his quick combinations, as he consistently beat Whyte to the punch. While Whyte closed well, for much of this fight he looked like an aged fighter. But the reality is that it was going to be very difficult for Franklin to win a close decision on foreign soil.
HEAVYWEIGHT SLUGFEST | Dillian Whyte vs. Jermaine Franklin Fight Highlights
Despite losing, Franklin sees his stock rise. Based on this effort, he should be able to parlay this into a few more paydays.
As for the 35-year old Whyte, who was knocked out by Tyson Fury back in April, he looked so vulnerable and aged that he secured a shot at Anthony Joshua in 2023.
A rather dubious ending in the super middleweight contest between John Ryder and Zach Parker. After round four, Parker would pull himself out of the fight citing an injured hand. With that win, Ryder may have earned a shot at Canelo Alvarez....Former unified 140 pound champion, Jose Ramirez, could be next for Ramirez....Right now, Caleb Williams of USC is my Heisman Trophy winner....How 'bout dem Michigan Wolverines?....I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org....