With the World Boxing Super Series in full flow, the tournament heads to ‘The Big Easy’ and the home of the Rougarou – New Orleans.
The legend of the Rougarou may just be a myth, but since Regis Prograis first stepped through the ropes the story has been very real for all 22 of his victims in the boxing ring.
Prograis 22-0(19KO’s) has not been shy to call out the very best at Super Lightweight, including goading now WBO Welterweight ruler Terence Crawford when ‘Bud’ held all four belts at 140lbs. He was then unfortunate to not receive a shot at the WBC title, which was instead won by Jose Ramirez, and a subsequent fight was never made before Prograis was offered a spot in the WBSS.
He now meets his toughest test to date, with former long-time WBO Lightweight ruler, Terry Flanagan hoping to erase the memories of his Super Lightweight debut in June.
That close defeat to Maurice Hooker (L SD 12) seems to be a large reason as to why he is such an underdog considering his experience at world level.
But there is also the case that much of the belief that Prograis wins this in impressive fashion is not only down to the hype surrounding the hard hitting American, but also the belief that even as a world champion, Flanagan never mixed with the best company in his 135lb days.
Flanagan 33-1(13KO’s) made a statement when destroying the much fancied Diego Magdaleno (W TKO 2) back in 2015, but followed that with a quartet of uninspiring wins over lesser opposition. His only stoppage win came in the second half of his clash with Orlando Cruz (W TKO 8).
There is good cause to believe that the Manchester man is being unfairly written off here, but his lack of serious world class power was a problem against the extremely long Hooker, and in a hard hitting, aggressive fighter like Prograis, he needs to be deterred from coming forward with such vigour.
Prograis may not be the finished article just yet, but his early destruction of Julius Indongo (W TKO 2) was a sign that even this improving version of Prograis is world class.
Flanagan is schooled enough to make rounds competitive, but despite winning a fair share of the early rounds with his output, he will not be able to deter the invigorated home fighter.
Prograis can tick going the 12 round distance off his list after this one, as Flanagan survives a heavy knockdown to see through to the end. Losing no more than 3 or 4 rounds, Prograis will make a strong case for being the favourite to go all the way.