Regis Prograis corrected Eddie Hearn during an outdoor press conference late Tuesday morning in San Francisco.
Prograis’ promoter referred to the strong southpaw’s fight against Devin Haney as a classic case of “skill [versus] power.” The taller, right-handed Haney is commonly considered one of the most skillful fighters in boxing, whereas Prograis’ power is generally regarded as the most impactful component of his game.
The 34-year-old Prograis promised, though, that Haney and everyone who watches will be surprised by his skill in their 12-round fight for Prograis’ WBC super lightweight title December 9 at Chase Center in San Francisco. Prograis predicted he will knock out Haney in the undisputed, undefeated lightweight champion’s 140-pound debut, but not before the gritty two-time champion displays skills Haney won’t be able to handle, either.
“I believe I have the power to take anybody out,” Prograis said. “But I feel like, you know, I think – I don’t wanna say too much, but I think like he gonna be surprised at the skill. Like I been working my ass off, bruh. Like I been in LA training, sparring, doing all that sh*t in Texas, sparring, all that sh*t a long time ago. So, it’s not gonna be no skill versus power. It’s gonna skill versus skill.
“And then I still have power, too, but it’s not gonna be oh, just skill versus power. No, it’s gonna be skill versus skill, and I wanna show people the skill. That’s what I wanna show this fight, the skill. And I got power. I obviously got power, too, but it’s not gonna be no skill versus power. It’s gonna be skill versus skill.”
Prograis (29-1, 24 KOs) has won 80 percent of his bouts by knockout or technical knockout since the New Orleans native made his pro debut in April 2012. Four of Prograis’ five fights have resulted in knockout victories since he suffered his only loss – a 12-round, majority-decision defeat to then-unbeaten Scottish southpaw Josh Taylor in October 2019 at O2 Arena in London.
The 24-year-old Haney has won just 50 percent of his professional fights inside the distance (30-0, 15 KOs). Each of Haney’s seven fights have gone all 12 rounds since the Oakland native stopped Russia’s Zaur Abdullaev after the fourth round in September 2019 at Madison Square Garden’s Hulu Theater in New York.
Oddsmakers clearly believe Haney’s boxing ability and youth will help separate him from Prograis in their DAZN Pay-Per-View main event. DraftKings sportsbook has installed the IBF, WBA, WBC and WBO 135-pound champion as more than a 3-1 favorite to top Prograis.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.