WBC junior welterweight champion Regis ‘Rougarou’ Prograis 29-1 (24) says boxing is about more than just the hardware you collect along the way.
The 34-year-old southpaw from New Orleans is now in his second reign as champion after previously holding the WBA belt at 140-pounds.
He will make the first defence of the WBC title he won in a fight for the vacant belt against Danielito Zorrilla 17-2 (13) in June when he battles former undisputed lightweight champion Devin ‘The Dream’ Haney 30-0 (15) at the Chase Center in San Francisco, California on Saturday night.
Haney, who hails from the city the bout will be held in, is nine years younger than Prograis and in his physical prime. If the champion retains his title, it will give many fans and pundits pause for thought when considering how good Prograis really is.
“This is the step to my legacy fight,” said Prograis in a video produced by Matchroom Boxing.
“Devin is looked at like kind of like a golden child. He turned pro when he was seventeen, I started boxing when I was seventeen. So, it’s a big difference right there, but I don’t have to be like them — I am going to be me.”
An avid reader, Prograis has a vast collection of books about the sweet science. And they aren’t just for show either.
“I was reading about boxing for so long,” he said. “You can go in my library and all these great fighters, I read about them, I know about them. I know their life story. I just want to be like that — a Hall of Famer.
“I got so much will, and I got so much fight in me. It is what separates me from everybody else.”
It is easy to forget that Prograis has lost just once in his almost 12-year pro career, dropping a majority decision to Josh ‘The Tartan Tordado’ Taylor 19-1 (13) in the final of the World Boxing Super Series that cost him his WBA belt four years ago.
He had to fight his way back into contention, scoring four straight knockouts including the scalp of the highly-regarded Jose ‘Chon’ Zepeda 37-4 (28) last year before meeting Zorrilla.
The 30-year-old Puerto Rican’s tricky style didn’t make for a visually appealing fight and Prograis had to settle for a split decision win despite dropping his opponent in the third.
Prograis says he is a much better boxer than he showed on that night and as a student of the game, he bristles when it is suggested that the Haney fight is a battle of power versus skill.
“Everyone is billing this as skills versus power,” Prograis said. “No, this is not going to be skills versus power. This is going to be skills versus skills, and of course, I can put out somebody, I have power, too, but I am [promoting this] as skills versus skills.
“So everybody saying I just have power I want to show people that is the plateau I got over.”