Regis Prograis is willing to take what could be a more difficult fight than Maurice Hooker might’ve given him.
Promoters for Prograis and Shohjahon Ergashev have informed BoxingScene.com that they’re discussing what would be an intriguing junior welterweight fight that would match a former champion who has lost only once against an unbeaten, powerful prospect who wants to prove himself against an elite opponent. Lou DiBella, Prograis’ promoter, and Dmitriy Salita, Ergashev’s promoter, hope to find a broadcast or streaming partner to finance that fight now that Prograis-Hooker has fallen apart over weight and money.
“It’s one of the best fights that can be made in the division,” Salita told BoxingScene.com. “It’s one of the best fights that can be made in boxing, in terms of two guys who are young, hungry and both at their peak. Both of them want to prove that they’re the best. It’s one of the most competitive, even matchups there is in boxing. With both guys wanting to do it, I feel that it’s one of the great, early post-pandemic fights we can do to get people excited about boxing again.”
Showtime’s Stephen Espinoza expressed interest in his network airing Prograis-Ergashev in preliminary discussions with DiBella and Salita. Showtime has showcased Uzbekistan’s Ergashev (18-0, 16 KOs) through its “ShoBox: The New Generation” series,” and aired several Prograis bouts before the former WBA super lightweight champion committed to participating in the World Boxing Super Series’ 140-pound tournament, which DAZN streamed in the United States.
Neither fighter is contractually tied to a network or a streaming service, however, which means DAZN could stream it or another network could televise it.
Eddie Hearn, whose company co-promotes Hooker, also has offered Prograis (24-1, 20 KOs) a fight against Mexico’s Pablo Cesar Cano (33-7-1, 23 KOs, 1 NC). DAZN would stream Prograis-Cano if they can come to an agreement.
Cano knocked out former WBA/WBC lightweight champ Jorge Linares (47-5, 29 KOs) in the first round of their January 2019 fight in New York. Prograis and his handlers are considering Cano as his next opponent, but they would welcome a fight against Ergashev if the money is right.
“We certainly want the fight,” DiBella said regarding Prograis-Ergashev. “Regis is presently training and needs to fight as soon as he can. We have had some discussions with Stephen Espinoza and Dmitriy about that fight. Right now, we don’t have [a firm financial offer] on the table. We’d also be extremely happy to fight on DAZN if we can get a confirmation on a date and an opponent. Pablo Cesar Cano on DAZN is another option.”
Prograis was supposed to fight Hooker (27-1-3, 18 KOs) in a 12-round, 143-pound bout April 17 at MGM National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Maryland. That card was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Their promoters attempted to reschedule Prograis-Hooker for August 22, but Dallas’ Hooker was unwilling to fight at a weight lower than 145 pounds. Prograis, a New Orleans native, wouldn’t go above 144 pounds for their rescheduled bout and understandably sought more money if he were to fight the former WBO junior welterweight champ at a weight higher than what was agreed upon in their contracts.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.