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Prograis, Hooker Going Separate Ways; Can't Agree On Weight, Money

Promoters Lou DiBella and Dino Duva conceded Monday that they’ve stopped negotiating to make a Regis Prograis-Maurice Hooker fight at a higher weight.

The former 140-pound champions signed contracts for a 12-round fight at a contracted catch weight of 143 pounds April 17 at MGM National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Maryland. That card was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

When DiBella, Prograis’ promoter, and Duva, Hooker’s co-promoter, began talking earlier this month with DAZN about rescheduling their fight for August 22 or sometime in September, Hooker revealed that he couldn’t make 143 pounds anymore.

The onetime WBO junior welterweight champion told BoxingScene.com last week that he wouldn’t agree to oppose Prograis at a weight lower than 145 pounds. Prograis was willing to go up only one pound from what was stipulated in their original contracts, but the New Orleans native wanted more money for boxing Hooker at 144 pounds.

DAZN executives previously asked both boxers to accept lower compensation packages for a rescheduled bout than they initially agreed to take to fight April 17. Apart on money and weight, DiBella and Duva determined Monday that they should take Prograis and Hooker in different directions.

“I think it’s dead,” Duva told BoxingScene.com. “The last couple days we started going further and further apart. It wasn’t just one thing. First, it was the weight. Prograis made it clear he wasn’t going above 144. Then they started talking about taking some of Mo’s money to make Prograis happy. And at some point, it just became enough is enough, and Mo said [Sunday] night and again [Monday] morning, ‘Let’s move on.’

“It was regressing, and we were getting further apart when the money started coming into play. Prograis started saying he wanted some of Maurice’s money as a penalty. We started saying, ‘This is going nowhere.’ I didn’t wanna jerk DAZN and Matchroom around and delay them any longer, because they need to figure out what they’re doing. So, Lou and I basically said, ‘Enough is enough.’ ”

prograis-hooker (2)

Like Prograis, DiBella believes Hooker (27-1-3, 18 KOs) simply changed his mind about boxing Prograis (24-1, 20 KOs), a powerful southpaw who has lost only a majority decision to IBF/WBA champ Josh Taylor (16-0, 12 KOs).

“Team Prograis never agreed to a pay cut,” DiBella said. “But I indicated that I understood the circumstances of this time, that there wouldn’t be [ticket revenue without a crowd], and that if Hooker was gonna cut them some slack [on his financial package], then I would do the same thing. Hooker is saying he won’t take a pay cut. And we have the weight issue. Therefore, what the f--k are we talking about? And considering that when we first started talking about this, we were talking about the fight being 2½ months away, potentially, it just seems to me that Hooker doesn’t want the fight anymore. It’s pretty clear to me he doesn’t want the fight.”

Duva disagreed.

“The one thing I don’t want anybody to think is that Mo didn’t wanna fight Prograis,” Duva said. “He really wanted this fight. … We tried. We’ve been trying the last week and a half. Mo would’ve killed himself just to get to 145, but he would’ve tried. He would’ve done it if Prograis would’ve agreed to 145 and there were no issues on the money, him trying to grab some of Mo’s money.”

Regardless, Duva will pursue the best fight at the welterweight limit that he can find for Dallas’ Hooker.

“He’s just gonna use this unfortunate incident,” Duva said, “to say, ‘You know what? F--k it. I’m moving up to welterweight. I’m gonna get myself ready as a strong welterweight and I’ll fight anybody.’ He’s looking to fight as soon as possible. I’ll talk to Eddie [Hearn]. We still have a deal with Eddie. He’s still our co-promoter. Hopefully, Eddie can provide us with something. Mo will fight anybody at 147. He wants the biggest fight possible at 147. He doesn’t need a tune-up or anything.”

Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.

User Comments and Feedback
Comment by revelated on 06-16-2020

[QUOTE=Afi23;20611887]Despite the risk that Prograis represents, shouldn't a guy like Robert Easter Jr. try to jump on this fight in order to establish himself quickly at 140lbs (though I think he'd lose vs Prograis)?[/QUOTE] Bunny took a rather one-sided loss…

Comment by JRB123 on 06-16-2020

Hooker wasn't going to make 143...not when he has got up to almost 168 at this point. Let's see if he can find someone to fight at 147 but it would not be a fight he may initially like... For…

Comment by Afi23 on 06-15-2020

[QUOTE=Mammoth;20611860]Yeah nothing great coming out[/QUOTE] Despite the risk that Prograis represents, shouldn't a guy like Robert Easter Jr. try to jump on this fight in order to establish himself quickly at 140lbs (though I think he'd lose vs Prograis)?

Comment by 1hourRun on 06-15-2020

[QUOTE=Afi23;20611832]Agree (to some extent)! I know my view is heavily tainted by his last big fight at 140lbs vs Ramirez but just like you, I fail to see how Hooker could become a real player at 147lbs. Damn, Hooker and…

Comment by Mammoth on 06-15-2020

[QUOTE=Afi23;20611836]I ain't mad at this fight given the current situation.[/QUOTE] Yeah nothing great coming out

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