It will have been more than a year since his last fight by the time Regis Prograis makes his way back to the ring. That means 371 days of having to sit on the lone loss of his career, one with which he still hasn’t come to grips.
“I still feel like I’m the best in the world at 140 pounds,” Prograis insisted during a virtual press conference to discuss his upcoming clash versus Juan Heraldez, which takes place October 31 on Showtime Pay-Per-View from The Alamodome in San Antonio. “In the Josh Taylor fight, I went over there to England, fought in front of over 20,000 people. I still feel like I won the fight. I definitely won’t say they robbed me because that’s not what happened, but I still feel like I won the fight.
“I feel like I’m the best in the division and I need to keep proving it. This is another step for me.”
Prograis (24-1, 20KOs) came up just short, dropping a tightly contested 12-round majority decision to Scotland’s Taylor in their World Boxing Super Series tournament final last October in London. The heartbreaking defeat ended his brief title reign, along with any such recognition as the best junior welterweight in the world.
“I was number one at 140 for a long, long time,” notes Prograis. “I would open up Ring magazine (ratings) and my name was number one. I miss those days, you know. Basically, I feel like. I have to get it back.
“I’ve always prided myself being number one and I have to get back to that.”
Step one comes versus Heraldez (16-0-1, 10KOs), an unbeaten rising prospect from North Las Vegas who believes he’s ready to contend with the best. Even in a stacked 140-pound division, Prograis is as good as they come among any junior welterweight without a major belt these days.
That status continues to eat away at him, to where the sense is that he has to make a statement. The first such opportunity comes in supporting capacity to a two-belt title fight between Gervonta Davis and Leo Santa Cruz. Prograis hasn’t vowed to steal the show, rather simply to allow his in-ring performance to speak for itself—and to remind the world that he never left the scene.
“I got to give an outstanding performance, whether I go out there and stop him or if I just basically give a good boxing lesson,” notes Prograis. “I just got to be outstanding. I know he’s coming to fight toe to toe. I just have to beat outstanding. That’s it.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox