By Jason Pribila: On August 19, 2017 the eyes of the boxing world were on the junior welterweight division as Terence “Bud “ Crawford unified the division by stopping previously undefeated Julius Indongo in three one-sided rounds. Crawford vacated the division leaving three vacant belts available to any one of a dozen hungry fighters to stake their claim at taking over the division.
On Friday night, Indongo returned to the ring to face one of the men who is anxious to prove that he has the tools to not only win titles but like Crawford, clean out the division while rising up the pound for pound list. Regis Prograis put his undefeated record on the line as the two met in the main event of a Showtime televised card airing live from the Deadwood Mountain Grand in South Dakota.
Prograis entered the ring wearing a mask that resembled the “Burger King” turned werewolf. The headgear would be the only thing that remained unclear about Progais’ performance in the ring.
Indongo began the battle of southpaws by moving well and landing from the outside. His jab scored as he was finding range for a right hand that was aiming down at his target. Prograis remained patient while working his way inside.
The good news for Indongo after the first 2:30 is that Prograis had only landed two stiff jabs. The bad news for Indongo is that he was knocked off balance each time he got hit. As the two men came together, Prograis landed a body shot and a jab upstairs that sent Indongo to the canvas as the round was ending.
Indongo had a puzzled look on his face as he went back to his corner. He didn’t necessarily look hurt, but it was clear that his legs were never really under him. This reminded me of Sergio Martinez against Miguel Cotto, only Indongo did not seem to knowingly enter the ring on damaged legs. Rather, his legs abandoned him at first contact.
Round two was much like the first. Indongo remained the aggressor, and again controlled the action for the first two minutes. Suddenly Prograis landed a straight left that sent Indongo crashing into the ropes and down on the canvas.
Indongo rose only to be dropped twice more, each time by single left hands.
While this was a statement win for Prograis, Indongo’s reaction to contact leads me to wonder, in no particular order: Did Crawford finish him? Did he get old overnight? Who in the hell did he beat to win major titles in the first place?
With the loss, Indongo ‘s record fell to (22-2, 12 KO), and I for one hopes that he doesn’t pursue a 25th fight.
Prograis has now knocked out 14 of his last 15 opponents. He has the demeanor of a fighter who will dare to be great. He fights with an edge and seems determined to do his business in the right. He fits in with the Charlo Brothers and Errol Spence Jr, not to be confused with the businessmen of the sport: Thurman, Garcia, and Porter.
This was Prograis’ first fight since June, so hopefully his team will keep him busy and put him on cards where he could establish a fan base. Casinos in upstate NY and South Dakota should no longer be part of his career path.
Jason Pribila is a full voting member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. He could be reached for questions and comments at firstname.lastname@example.org He may also be followed on twitter.com @PribsBoxing.