Regis Prograis doesn’t buy Jose Ramirez’s various alibis for not fighting.

Prograis, the WBC 140-pound champion from New Orleans, and Ramirez, a former unified titlist, were projected to fight each other, but the fight fell through after Ramirez declined to move forward with the purse bid. Ramirez’s main issue was with the split, which was 65-35 in favor of Prograis, the champion. That split, in fact, was originally supposed to be 70-30, in line with the WBC’s title mandates, but Ramirez’s promoter, Top Rank, was able to to improve it in favor of their client. Still, that was not enough Ramirez, who also insisted that, as the bigger proven draw, the split should have been closer to 60-40.

Backlash has been swift, with many claiming Ramirez “ducked” Prograis. Ramirez’s manager, Rick Mirigian, has gone on social media to vigorously defend his charge. 

Prograis, who is promoted by Probellum, will now likely face an opponent of his choosing. The WBC recently ruled that Prograis could have a voluntary defense against a fighter that is ranked within their organization. 

In a recent interview, Prograis said if his position had been flipped with Ramirez’s, he would have been more than willing to take the fight, even if he were to get burned on the split. Prograis pointed out that Ramirez is only in this position because he declined to be involved in a WBC eliminator for the 140-pound belt, which paved the way for Prograis to take his place. Prograis wound up stopping Zepeda in the 11th round in November. If that had been Ramirez who won, Prograis contended, Ramirez would not be in his position of having to turn down a title shot.

“Like I said, I think it’s bullsh!t,” Prograis said of Ramirez in an interview with iD Boxing. “If you just think about it, if it had been [the shoe on] the other foot … I would have took that 65-35, for sure. I would have did what I had to do, I would have taken my 65-35 and that’s it. It would have been the end of the story. I wouldn’t have said, 'oh I’m no taking 65-35.' I would have took 70-30.

“But knowing them (Top Rank, Team Ramirez), their side, they’d probably offer me like a 15-85 percent split, knowing them. Guess what? If they would have done that, I know what I can do, I would have still took that because I want to be a champion. So with them I just think, to me, I think it’s all bullsh-t.”

Split aside, a Prograis-Ramirez fight was probably never realistic because Top Rank refuses to do any business with Probellum, Prograis’ promoter. Top Rank boss Bob Arum stated earlier this year that his company would not work with any entity that had ties with alleged Irish drug cartel kingpin Daniel Kinahan, of which Probellum, Arum said, was one. Probellum--which does not have a partnership with a major US broadcaster or streaming platform comparable to the one that Top Rank has with ESPN--has vigorously denied that claim.

“Top Rank, they don’t believe that he (Ramirez) can win,” Prograis added. “That’s why. They don’t believe he can beat me.”