Regis Prograis aims to defend his 140-pound WBC crown Saturday in a tough tussle against Devin Haney.
The super lightweight division has a new set of titleholders after former undisputed champion Josh Taylor vacated three of his belts and lost his WBO title to Teofimo Lopez Jr. in June.
Prograis won the vacant WBC title by knocking out Jose Zepeda in Nov. 2022.
Subriel Matias scored a stoppage victory against Jeremias Nicolas Ponce in February to win the vacant IBF crown.
Rolando Romero won the vacant WBA title after a questionable stoppage win in May against the 40-year-old Ismael Barroso in the ninth round of a fight for which he was down on all three cards.
Prograis did not mince his words when assessing Romero’s performance in the Barroso fight, as well as Rolly’s future.
“He got his ass whooped by an old ass man. That man [Barroso] was 50-something [years old] for sure. He was old as sh!t,” Prograis told BoxingScene.com and other media in an interview. “Rolly got his ass whooped by an old ass man. I wouldn't want to fight Rolly, but I would now that he does have a belt. It would be an easy ass belt to pick up. But for me, I'm about the legacy, money, and big fights. If it happens, it happens.
“I laugh at Rolly. For me, Rolly is a character. I think he's sh!t [as a fighter]. I'm not going to lie. I think he's sh!t. I don't think he's that good. I think he has power, but as a fighter, he fights like a f------ martial artist or something.
“He's the least deserving champion at 140 pounds, for sure.
“I don't think he can keep the belt. I think he needs to have some easy ass fights or cash out and get a big fight. Maybe after I f------ beat Devin, I'll fight him and he can cash out, get a lot of money, and go do what he gotta do.”
Although Haney (30-0, 15 KOs) plans to disrupt the future of Prograis (29-1, 24 KOs), the 34-year-old boxer from the Bayou is promising a definitive beatdown and stoppage win of his rival.
“I'm focused on preparing for 12 rounds of a strong Haney,” said Prograis. “This fight is going to be skill versus skill. I have power in both hands but I want to show people my skill. I want to show what I've been working on. It's not going to look like the last 30 fights at all.”
The lone loss of Prograis’ career came in 2019 in a fight of the year majority decision defeat against Taylor. Prograis said he doesn’t feel that Haney will give him a tougher fight than Taylor did.
Prograis lost his WBA title at the time to Taylor but has since gained the WBC belt. He said belts matter in boxing, especially after Haney vacated all of his 135-pound titles and relinquished his undisputed crown to tussle with “Rougarou.”
“Everyone says belts don't matter but as soon as they get one they start crying on TV and sh!t like that. When they get one they say 'I wanted to be a world champion forever.' Yeah, people are full of sh!t,” said Prograis. “I stuck to my goals. I knew I was going to be a two-time world champion.”
Manouk Akopyan is a sports journalist, writer, and broadcast reporter. He’s also a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and the MMA Journalists Association. He can be reached on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and YouTube at @ManoukAkopyan, through email at manouk[dot]akopyan[at]gmail.com, or via www.ManoukAkopyan.com.