If Regis Prograis beats Josh Taylor on Saturday night, he’ll own two of boxing’s four recognized 140-pound championships.
He’d want nothing more than a shot at the other two titles. The powerful southpaw from New Orleans just won’t wait much longer to face Jose Ramirez, who holds the WBC and WBO belts.
Ramirez (25-0, 17 KOs) is recovering from surgery on his left hand, injured during his sixth-round technical knockout of former WBO champ Maurice Hooker (26-1-3, 17 KOs) on July 27 in Arlington, Texas. Once he’s healthy, Ramirez is expected to make a mandatory defense of his WBC championship against Ukraine’s Viktor Postol (31-2, 12 KOs).
Prograis (24-0, 20 KOs) would want to take no more than one fight after defeating Taylor (15-0, 12 KOs) before boxing Ramirez for complete supremacy within their division.
“That’s the one thing that I really want, so I hope it happens,” Prograis told BoxingScene.com. “Will it happen? I don’t know. In a perfect world, it would happen. But boxing’s not perfect. So, I don’t know, but that’s what I want. My goal has always been to become undisputed, to take all the belts at 140. That’s what I wanna do. But at the same time, after this tournament is over, I’m not gonna wait around for Ramirez.
“I already said it. I’m not gonna chase him and try to get him to fight me, and stuff like that. I definitely wanna fight, but I’m not gonna wait around forever. For me, if it’s not immediately, or at least maybe one fight away, I mean, I’m not just gonna wait around for Ramirez. And I feel like I would have the power. The power would be in my hands, so we’ll see.”
Prograis expressed a strong desire to battle Ramirez after Ramirez won the then-vacant WBC super lightweight title by out-pointing Amir Imam in March 2018 in New York. Bob Arum, Ramirez’s promoter, wanted to build Ramirez-Prograis into a bigger bout for ESPN, but Prograis decided to enter the World Boxing Super Series’ 140-pound tournament.
The Houston resident has won two fights in the WBSS to reach the final Saturday night against Scotland’s Taylor. They’ll fight for Prograis’ WBA belt and Taylor’s IBF crown at O2 Arena in London (DAZN; Sky Sports Box Office).
Even if the slightly favored Prograis wins, he’ll feel unfulfilled because he ultimately wants widespread recognition as the best boxer in his division before he moves up to welterweight.
“That is still my goal, to be undisputed at 140 and have all the belts,” Prograis said. “So, if [Ramirez is] the person who has the belts, and if he still has the belts when I’m done with this, then, you know, that’s who I would want. I would wanna fight Ramirez. But like I said, I’m not gonna chase him. If his manager and his promoter, if they’re trying to stall out the fight and trying to let it marinate and do this and do that, I don’t think that’ll be something I’m really interested in. I wanna do it. I’m gonna wanna do it ASAP. At least if it’s not the next fight, it would be one more fight after that.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.