By Keith Idec
Regis Prograis demolished Julius Indongo even faster than Terence Crawford.
The powerful southpaw from New Orleans scored the most impressive victory of his career Friday night by dropping Indongo four times on his way to a second-round knockout in Deadwood, South Dakota. Prograis floored Indongo three times in the second round and once in the first round.
Referee Ian John-Lewis waved an end to the fight once Indongo hit the canvas for the third time in the second round. The official time of the stoppage was 2:54 of the second round.
The 29-year-old Prograis (21-0, 18 KOs) won the WBC’s interim super lightweight title by stopping Indongo.
“After the first round, I felt his punches,” Prograis told Showtime’s Steve Farhood following his knockout. “He couldn’t punch. He couldn’t hurt me. I got a little reckless. But, you know, I got the job done, so I can’t complain.”
Prograis’ swift win secured him a shot at the winner of a March 17 bout that’ll match Amir Imam (21-1, 18 KOs) against Jose Ramirez (21-0, 16 KOs) for the unclaimed WBC super lightweight title. Imam, of Albany, New York, and Ramirez, of Avenal, California, will fight for the WBC title Crawford gave up when he moved up to welterweight last year.
The 34-year-old Indongo (22-2, 11 KOs) fought for the first time since Crawford knocked him out in the third round of their 140-pound title unification fight August 19. Crawford (32-0, 23 KOs) – commonly considered one of the top three boxers, pound-for-pound, in the sport – knocked down Indongo in the second round and finished him off with a vicious body shot during the third round.
Namibia’s Indongo was the IBF, IBO and WBA 140-pound champion when Crawford knocked him out in Lincoln, Nebraska. Indongo took this dangerous fight against Prograis on just three weeks’ notice, once Prograis’ original opponent, Ukraine’s Viktor Postol (29-1, 12 KOs), pulled out of it due to a fractured thumb.
Prograis fought for the first time since his second-round destruction of previously unbeaten Joel Diaz Jr. nine months ago. Prograis dropped Diaz (23-1, 19 KOs) four times in the second round of their June 9 fight in Verona, New York, before it was stopped.
In the second round, Prograis drilled Indongo with a straight left hand that sent Indongo to the canvas with 44 seconds to go in it. Indongo got up, but wasn’t on his feet long, as another Prograis left dropped him with 27 seconds remaining in the second.
A game Indongo reached his feet yet again, only to have Prograis floor the vulnerable former champion again with a left hand. That’s when John-Lewis mercifully stopped the fight.
“Really, after the second knockdown, he was done,” Prograis said. “They let him go a little longer.”
Prograis dropped Indongo with a jab just before the first round ended. A stunned Indongo got up and answered John-Lewis’ count after the bell sounded to end the round.
A right uppercut by Prograis seemed to hurt Indongo before that jab sent him to the canvas. Prograis knocked Indongo into the ropes by landing a jab with 32 seconds to go in the first round.
Despite dominating Friday night, Prograis wasn’t completely satisfied.
“I haven’t been able to show my full arsenal yet, as far as my defense, as far as my footwork,” Prograis said. “I didn’t do it yet because I haven’t had an opponent that can bring it out of me.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.