Regis Prograis believes he is the best Light-Welterweight on the planet and the 31-year-old can prove that proclamation, in what could prove a defining 2021.
Prograis (25-1, 21 KOs) made the assertion on Twitter, before his former foe and unified WBA ‘Super’ and IBF champion, Josh Taylor replied, insisting his rival is the second best 140lbs fighter, behind him.
A rematch of their October 2019 thriller will always be welcome, although it won’t happen any time soon, with the Scot set to face WBC and WBO titlist, Jose Ramirez, to decide the undisputed king this year, but ‘Rougarou’ remains eager to lock horns in the future.
“I think we have to have a rematch, me and Josh Taylor,” Prograis told Pro Boxing Fans in October.
“It was too close, it could be controversial, it could have went either way.
“I think a lot of people thought I won, but he got the decision.
“It’s too much money that will be sitting on the table for us not to do it again, so I think it will definitely have to happen again.”
The former WBA world champion bounced back from his defeat to Taylor with a swift, third round victory over the previously undefeated Juan Heraldez, in front of a limited crowd at the Alamodome, on the undercard of Gervonta Davis’ stunning knockout of Leo Santa Cruz in October.
Prograis, who had signed a one-fight deal with PBC prior to the clash, is ranked in the top six in three of the four governing bodies and on the brink of another world title shot, as part of a chasing pack awaiting for the belts to free up following Taylor and Ramirez’s battle.
I still feel that I’m the best champ. You won the battle but I won the war. We’ll see each other again eventually #PrograisTaylor2 ❓ https://t.co/OS21fzQWUU
— Rougarou (@RPrograis) January 10, 2021
Here are a few options for ‘Rougarou’ in the meantime:
Texas has been at the forefront for reintroducing crowds during this pandemic era and it would be fitting for the state to hold an all-Texan clash between Prograis and Mario Barrios.
Barrios (26-0, 17 KOs) holds the WBA ‘Regular’ title and made a successful first defence of his crown on the same bill as Prograis, as the pre-cursor to Tank’s main event clash with Santa Cruz, with an entertaining sixth round stoppage win over Ryan Karl.
Prograis, who was born in New Orleans, re-located to Houston following the Hurricane Katrina and the pair both appeared to be keen on a showdown following their victories.
“A fight with Regis, it would be huge at 140,” Barrios said after his win over Karl.
“Especially with him being, you know, with the PBC team now. So, that’s a very likely fight to happen.”
Ain’t ever had second thoughts on a fight. Don’t enjoy the holidays too much, don’t wanna see you miss weight again 👀 https://t.co/Yb0zpaYa18
— Mario (@Boxer_Barrios) November 18, 2020
So you taking the fight or backing out? (Don’t worry my weight would be good next time.) https://t.co/omGFR5vYUY
— Rougarou (@RPrograis) November 18, 2020
Whilst Prograis explained: “We can do that, too [a fight with Barrios] and still make it probably back here in Texas because I’m out there in Katy, and he’s right here in San Antonio.
“So, that’d be perfect, too.”
The pair had an exchange on social media in November with Prograis questioning if the champion remains keen to face him, however a clash would be a big drawer especially in Texas and be an intriguing affair between two hard-hitting and dangerous 140lbs contenders.
Jose Zepeda is the number one ranked contender with the WBC, just ahead of his compatriot, as he chases a rematch with Ramirez.
The former two-time world title challenger cemented his position at the top of the ratings, with a thrilling knockout over Ivan Baranchyk, involving four knockdowns apiece in a memorable Las Vegas battle in October.
The fight was rightfully awarded the Ring Magazine fight of the year and Zepeda (33-2, 26 KOs) is now hot on the heels of his Top Rank stablemate, although the Californian maintains that he edged the bout, despite a majority decision loss and it remains to be seen if Ramirez would entertain a rematch after facing Taylor, or more likely move up to 147lbs.
Regardless, Zepeda will be awaiting some time for a shot at the unified champion, so could feasibly face Prograis, although it will all depend on if ‘Chon’ is willing to risk his position against an established contender.
If the clash was anything close to Zepeda-Baranchyk then the fight of 2021 could well be this, with Prograis rarely in a dull bout.
Adrien Broner is set to make his his long-awaited ring return after over two years out on February 13th against Pedro Campa on SHOWTIME.
Broner has been out of the ring since losing to Manny Pacquiao for the WBA Welterweight title in January 2019 and ‘The Problem’ still remains a hugely lucrative name.
If the 31-year-old can rediscover some of the form which saw him become a four-weight world champion, then a fight with Prograis would be a compelling affair.
The pair have both expressed a desire to face each other in recent years and Prograis believes it would be the biggest fight to make at Light-Welterweight.
“I think that’d be a huge fight, you know,” Prograis told the PBC Podcast.
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“I always said that if they make that fight between me and Broner, that’ll be the biggest fight they can make at 140.
“Nobody won’t even pay attention to no other fights, just because of me and him.”
Arnold Barboza Jr
Arnold Barboza Jr (25-0, 10 KOs) is rising up the Light-Welterweight ranks and an entertaining victory over Alex Saucedo has put him in world title contention.
The unbeaten Californian, who recently signed with manager Rick Mirigian and an advisory deal with MTK Global is rated #3 by the WBO and #4 by the WBC, as he chases for a world title of his own.
A meeting between the pair would be intriguing, stylistically between two classy and slick operators and could be feasibly made as an eliminator for either the WBC or WBO world title.
Prior to his win over Saucedo, the 29-year-old expressed his desire to face Prograis in the future.
Former WBC world champion, Viktor Postol would also represent a worthy challenge and proved in his last fight that at 36-years-old he still has plenty left to give in a thriving division.
‘The Iceman’ pushed Ramirez all the way in a majority decision loss in August, in only his third loss.
The Ukrainian’s only other losses are to Terence Crawford and common opponent, Josh Taylor in 2018 and a fight with Prograis would give him the opportunity to launch another world title tilt, whilst providing the latter with more experience, ahead of another shot at world honours himself.