The IBF and WBA 140-pound titles and his unblemished record won’t be the only things at stake Saturday night for Regis Prograis.
The powerful southpaw from New Orleans also thinks the winner of his 12-round fight against Josh Taylor will have earned recognition as the world’s best boxer in their division.
Jose Ramirez already owns two 140-pound crowns, but Prograis points to the strong group of fighters that entered the World Boxing Super Series as evidence that he or Taylor will have had to beat better competition than Ramirez has overcome outside the tournament.
The 27-year-old Ramirez (25-0, 17 KOs) out-pointed Amir Imam (21-2, 18 KOs) to win the then-vacant WBC super lightweight title in March 2018 in New York. The 2012 U.S. Olympian added the WBO junior welterweight belt by stopping previously undefeated Maurice Hooker (26-1-3, 17 KOs) in the sixth round of their title unification fight July 27 in Arlington, Texas.
“[Winning will] mean a great deal because I feel the winner of this tournament is basically the king of 140,” Prograis told BoxingScene.com. “You know, they’ve got Ramirez out there, but I mean, he’s not fighting the type of competition we was fighting. So, I think that most people, even before we went into this fight, will still see the winner of this tournament as the one considered the best at 140, the king of 140, the face of 140.
“So, that’s the whole thing. That’s why I got into the tournament. That’s why I got into the World Boxing Super Series, to prove it, that I am the best. And this is the last fight. This is the final, and it couldn’t have been a better person [to fight]. I always expected it was gonna be Josh Taylor, and it’s perfect. And it’s happening.”
The 30-year-old Prograis (24-0, 20 KOs) beat Belarus’ Kiryl Relikh (23-3, 19 KOs) by sixth-round technical knockout in their WBSS semifinal April 27 at Cajundome in Lafayette, Louisiana. The 28-year-old Taylor (15-0, 12 KOs) reached the WBSS 140-pound final by beating Russia’s Ivan Baranchyk (20-1, 13 KOs), who was knocked down twice in the sixth round on his way to losing a 12-round unanimous decision May 18 at SSE Hydro in Glasgow.
DAZN will stream the Prograis-Taylor show in the United States (2 p.m. EDT; 11 a.m. PDT). It’ll headline a Sky Sports Box Office pay-per-view event in the United Kingdom (7 p.m. BST).
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.