Jose Zepeda’s plan is to box against Regis Prograis on Saturday night.

Of course, Zepeda expected he would try to out-box Ivan Baranchyk two years ago in what quickly developed into an unforgettable slugfest that won every credible “Fight of the Year” award for 2020. If Prograis’ approach dictates a different course of action for Zepeda in their battle between powerful southpaws, Zepeda is more than prepared to bang it out with the knockout artist from New Orleans.

“We will have to wait for that, I guess,” Zepeda told “When I fought Baranchyk, I thought I was gonna out-box him. And then I needed to get into a brawl, a war. So, it all depends on how he comes out. My plan is always to box. Obviously, we don’t wanna get into wars, but if that’s what I feel helps me more, I can do it.”

Zepeda proved he can overcome extreme adversity versus Russia’s Baranchyk (20-3, 13 KOs), a former IBF junior welterweight champion.

The stunningly resilient junior welterweight contender somehow survived two first-round knockdowns and one knockdown apiece in the second and fifth rounds to knock an unbelievably brave Baranchyk cold toward the end of the fifth round. Each fighter produced four knockdowns during their epic encounter in October 2020 at MGM Grand Conference Center in Las Vegas.

Though his renowned war with Baranchyk would be almost impossible to replicate, Zepeda anticipates another memorable battle when he opposes Prograis in a 12-round fight for the vacant WBC super lightweight title. The number one-ranked Zepeda (36-2, 28 KOs, 2 NC), of La Puente, California, and the second-ranked Prograis (27-1, 23 KOs), of Katy, Texas, will headline a four-fight pay-per-view show from Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California (9 p.m. ET; 6 p.m. PT; $59.99).

“Maybe my power is underestimated, but I can hit, too,” Zepeda said. “And both of us, with a lot of knockouts, this fight can be ‘Fight of the Year.’ I keep saying it, that this is the fight. This is gonna be a great fight, regardless.”

Prograis, a 33-year-old former WBA super lightweight champion, has lost only a 12-round majority decision to undefeated, undisputed 140-pound champion Josh Taylor (19-0, 13 KOs). The Scottish southpaw edged Prograis in the final of the World Boxing Super Series’ 140-pound tournament in October 2019 at O2 Arena in London.

Three years later, Zepeda promised to deliver the type of action fans seek Saturday night.

“On social media, I keep seeing hardcore boxing fans saying that this is the fight,” Zepeda said. “We see other fights where there’s a lot of trash talk, and then when it comes time to get in the ring and fight it doesn’t really end up that way. But me and Prograis, we don’t really talk a lot. We don’t do a lot of trash talking. But inside the ring, everybody thinks that this is gonna be the fight, like a can’t-miss ‘Fight of the Year.’ ”

The 33-year-old Zepeda is prepared, however, for whichever plan Prograis employs.

“Definitely, he can be out-boxed,” Zepeda said. “I believe that I can out-box him or I can brawl. I mean, we all know what I could do. I’ve done it with Baranchyk, or I out-boxed [Jose] Pedraza. So, we are ready for whatever Prograis brings. And I think we’re definitely gonna win that fight.”

Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.