By Keith Idec
A week after its main event was canceled, Top Rank and ESPN had no such issues at its weigh-in Friday afternoon in New Orleans.
Regis Prograis and Juan Jose Velasco both made weight for their 12-round, 140-pound title fight Saturday night at Lakefront Arena. New Orleans’ Prograis, who’ll defend his WBC interim super lightweight title, officially weighed in at 139½ pounds, slightly less than Argentina’s Velasco (140).
A week earlier, WBC super lightweight champ Jose Ramirez (22-0, 16 KOs) had his first title defense canceled because Danny O’Connor (30-3, 11 KOs) had so much difficulty making weight that he wouldn’t even attempt to weigh in July 6 in Fresno, California.
The 29-year-old Prograis (21-0, 18 KOs) is a heavy favorite to defeat the 31-year-old Velasco (20-0, 12 KOs) in the main event of this ESPN broadcast.
Prograis will make the first defense of the WBC interim 140-pound championship he won thanks to a second-round stoppage of former IBF/IBO/WBA champ Julius Indongo on March 9 in Deadwood, South Dakota. The strong southpaw dropped Namibia’s Indongo (22-2, 11 KOs) four times in their brief bout.
The winner of the Prograis-Velasco fight will enter the World Boxing Super Series’ 140-pound tournament, which is scheduled to start in the fall.
Teofimo Lopez and William Silva, who’ll square off in ESPN’s opening bout Saturday night, also made weight Friday.
Lopez (9-0, 7 KOs), a highly regarded lightweight prospect from Davie, Florida, stepped on the Louisiana Boxing & Wrestling Commission’s scale at 134½ pounds for their lightweight bout. Brazil’s Silva (25-1, 14 KOs) weighed in at 134 pounds.
The scheduled 10-rounder that’ll pit Lopez, 20, against Silva, 31, will start ESPN’s telecast at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT.
The action will shift to ESPN+ at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT following ESPN’s live broadcast of the Prograis-Velasco fight.
That doubleheader will feature Filipino icon Manny Pacquiao (59-7-2, 38 KOs), who’ll challenge Argentina’s Lucas Matthysse (39-4, 36 KOs, 1 NC) for the WBA world welterweight title in the main event from Axiata Arena in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The ESPN+ stream will begin with a 12-round, 126-pound championship bout between Filipino southpaw Jhack Tepora (21-0, 16 KOs) and Mexico’s Edivaldo Ortega (26-1-1, 12 KOs) for the WBA’s interim featherweight title.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.