Regis Prograis has issued a stern warning to Jose Zepeda.
The former junior welterweight titleholder will face Zepeda in the main event of a pay-per-view card (available on Fite TV and PPV.com) Saturday at the Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California, with the vacant WBC world title on the line.
In October 2020, Zepeda and Ivan Baranchyk engaged in a five-round war with eight evenly divided knockdowns. However, Zepeda got the last word when he countered Baranchyk with a left hook that sent him to sleep at the MGM Grand Bubble in Las Vegas.
While Prograis (27-1, 23 KOs) acknowledges it was a good win for Zepeda (36-2, 28 KOs), should his opponent choose to employ the same strategy against him, he implied that he could be the one taking a nap.
Although Zepeda is an excellent counterpuncher, Prograis believes he has the tools to swipe that weapon away.
“Zepeda can’t let me hit him too much in this fight if he’s trying to set traps,” Prograis said. “If I can find him, I don’t think it’s going to be good for him. I don’t fight to box; I fight to hurt people. In my last three fights, I didn’t get hit, and I got all three knockouts.
“This is what I really, really love [to do], to fight. [I really] love the world title and the money, but I really love getting in the ring on fight night.”
The junior welterweight division is stacked with elite talent beyond Zepeda and Prograis. However, this bout will likely give the fans the most bang for their buck. From a stylistic standpoint, this is hardcore boxing fan’s dream. Two elite fighters in their prime, both 33-year-old southpaws, vying for the coveted WBC green belt. This is a hardcore fan’s dream realized.
Should Prograis be triumphant, it will put him in position to potentially land a rematch against former undisputed 140-pound beltholder Josh Taylor, who handed Prograis the lone defeat of his career back in October 2019 in the World Boxing Super Series Final. Taylor escaped with a majority decision victory to win the Muhammad Ali Trophy.
Prograis has only fought three times since, but that was due in part to the COVID-19 pandemic, which brought travel around the world to an abrupt halt in early 2020.
He still believes he bested Taylor three years ago, but should he get a second crack at the Scotsman, it would be his second opportunity to prove he's the best in his class, if, of course, Taylor defeats Jack Catterall in their Feb. 4, 2023 rematch.
"When people introduce me, they do so as 'the former champ,' but I want to be the current champion, and not only that, I want to be known as the best in the world in my division,” Prograis, who is coming off a sixth-round TKO of Tyrone McKenna on March 19, stated.
In order to do that, Prograis must defeat Zepeda. But this isn't just any fight; this is the BATTLE OF THE BEST and hardest-punching 140-pounders in the world. The bout is scheduled for 12, but one person could very well get knocked out.