WBC junior welterweight champion Regis Prograis 29-1 (24) is continuing to antagonise former undisputed lightweight champion Devin Haney 30-0 (15) in the lead up to their fight at the Chase Center in San Francisco, California on Saturday night.
The bout is billed as a homecoming for the 25-year-old Haney, who Prograis has labelled “privileged”.
“It’s not his hometown, he was born there but he is from Henderson, Nevada,” the 34-year-old Prograis said to Fightnews.
“I’m not worried about his hometown. His daddy is from there. He never made it out of there, his daddy made it out of there. He grew up privileged and there is nothing wrong with that.”
Prograis is undoubtedly one of the best 140-pound boxers in the world but he believes he has been overlooked. Despite losing just once, a majority decision to Josh Taylor 19-1 (13) in the final of the World Boxing Super Series four years ago, he has been battling ever since to get a big name opponent in the ring with him.
All that will change on Saturday night.
“This is it. I am ready. This fight will put me on the map, I am on the verge of superstardom,” Prograis said.
He added: “My road has never been easy. It’s always been bumpy. This is the big fight, this is my opportunity to show who I am, and I am super ready for it.”
Haney will be having his first bout as a fully-fledged junior welterweight after previously owning the WBC, WBA, WBO, IBF and Ring Magazine lightweight belts. He voluntarily relinquished his sanctioning body titles in the weeks leading up to the Prograis bout, indicating he has no intention of returning to the lighter weight class.
“He was the best 135-pound fighter, undisputed, he is a great fighter, very skilled but he hasn’t been in there with someone like me,” Prograis said.
“He gets hit and he is going to get hit. If he gets hit by the same things, he got hit by the little guys, [but] by me he’s in trouble.
“I am going to beat him. I am a better fighter.”
Prograis is looking to gatecrash the pound-for-pound rankings with a win and parlay the victory into other big fights. The Ring rates Haney as the seventh-best pound-for-pound-boxer in the world.
“I came to this sport to become a champion and I still want to be champion,” he said. “A win here definitely catapults me to the top ten pound-for-pound. That’s what I deserve and now it’s the perfect opportunity to show that.
“It’s a big fight and it’s been a long time coming. I’m a two-time world champion and don’t get recognition. I don’t feel like I get the respect but Saturday night, I will earn that respect.”