By: Sean Crose
He was 24-0 entering the ring that night in London. All but five of his fights had ended within the distance. What’s more, the man’s Creole tinged accent and colorful Louisiana background made for good television (part of the reason why he had been an HBO attraction). Best of all, Regis Prograis was fighting a major opponent that night – the 15-0 Josh Taylor – for the unified junior welterweight championship. Prograis held the WBC crown while Taylor held the IBF. The bout could well have been considered a toss up walking in. Needless to say, Prograis walked out of the ring after the fight that night with his first loss on his record and without possession of his WBC belt. He had fought well, but Taylor edged it.
In normal times that would have been no big deal. In 21st century boxing, however, a loss can be a death knell to one’s career. In the UFC a defeat is a defeat, in contemporary boxing it’s a blemish. Ridiculous, sure, but it is what it is. Apparently Rocky Marciano, Floyd Mayweather and a handful of others are the true greats. Names like Ali, Leonard, Pacquiao, Dempsey, Robinson, Louis and countless others need not apply. Fortunately, Prograis has chosen to ignore this absurd narrative. Naturally, the man has continued fighting since the Taylor bout, going 3-0, all by stoppage. What Prograis doesn’t appear to have done, however, is let the lone L on his resume bend his psyche.
In the leadup to his fight this weekend with Jose Zapeda, Prograis has been easy going and confident. Even a menacing smile from Zapeda during the face off of this week’s final press conference didn’t phase the man. One might think Prograis would be at least a little anxious at the moment, as his scheduled 12 rounder at the Dignity Health Sports park in Carson California this weekend is for the WBC junior welterweight belt. Here he is, with a chance to once again have a green belt around his waist, and he’s simply being chill. That, however, is just Prograis.
“I’m going to do my job on Saturday night,” he told ESNEWS after the staredown with Zapeda. “That’s when I’m going to do what I’ve got to do.” No bells. No whistles. Just boxing. “That’s not me,” he said of pre fight antics. “For the most part, I’m quiet. I don’t need to say nothing.” One thing is certain, Prograis isn’t lacking in confidence. “It’s going to be a twelve round dominant performance,” he said of this weekend’s fight.