"I don’t care, whatever he (Taylor) shows me I’m definitely going to be better"
Regis Prograis to Allan Cerf
They’re both ambitious, confident, undefeated, and champions. On a date and place to be determined, junior welterweights Regis Prograis and Josh Taylor will meet in the finals of the World Boxing Super Series to determine who’s the best in the division.
Allan Cerf of maxboxing.com, caught up with Prograis last week and asked him 16 questions:
AC: First of all, we want to say thank you for your time and congratulations on all your success in the World Boxing Super Series.
Regis Prograis: Thank you.
Q. The first question I want to ask is: Where will the final be? Do you know that?
Regis Prograis: Oh, no, we don’t. We don’t know yet. We don’t have a date yet and we don’t have a location.
Q. You want it to be at a neutral site – I think that Scotland would be a, you know, bad place to have it and New Orleans would be a bad place to have it. (The fighters are from Scotland and New Orleans.)
Regis Prograis: Yeah, of course…for obvious reasons. I want it to be somewhere where it’s going to get the most attention at the same time, you know? You know I was thinking if I had a choice, either New York, L.A., Vegas or maybe if it’s across the sea, make it in London. I want the fight to be as big as possible and have as much attention as possible.
Q. What do think of the boxing style and ability of your opponent in the final, Josh Taylor?
Regis Prograis: He can fight his ass off. He’s a puncher, he has knockout power, he can definitely box beautiful on the outside; he can do a lot of things. I regard him high. But, at the same time he has to fight me. I feel he’s the best in the division besides myself, I really do. This is a great fight not just for myself and not just for him and not just for the World Boxing Super Series, but for boxing, period. You’ve got the number one and number two fighters in the world – fighting each other. Two undefeated champions fighting each other right now … you don’t get that…that’s why I want it to get as much attention as possible.
Q. Regis, you’ve thrown as many as eighty-seven punches a round in the past which is well above the junior welter average. Will that be part of your strategy against Taylor?
Regis Prograis: Ah…to be honest …I never give my strategy…I always go off what my opponent does. I never have a plan going into the fight, never. Some days of course my trainer will tell me. Everything I do, I go off my rhythm, my instincts. I never have a plan, ever. My trainer will tell me certain things, I’m missing this, stay away from this, or whatever. But my mindset is: I’ll just go out there and do what I want to do. I go off my instinct and reflexes.
Q. Do you watch film or no?
Regis Prograis: I don’t watch film. Now – did I watch his fight? Of course I watched the fight because I saw the fight in person.
Q. When you were fighting Terry Flanagan – and full credit to Terry for hanging in there, but your ability to control the distance was masterful, you have a very unique style, and with your quickness (you’re obviously a counterpuncher) you can also get off first. I know you just said you don’t know what will happen on fight night, but do you think you’re going to stalk Taylor, or are you going to let him throw his shots and counter, or you just don’t know until you get in the ring?
Regis Prograis: Yeah, I don’t know until I get in the ring. You know what? The only thing I know is, if I hit him like Baranchyk did, I’m going to stop him. If I’m able to land like Baranchyk, I’ll stop him because Baranchyk caught him with a lot of big punches and I’m way faster than Baranchyk. Baranchyk is a good fighter, I take nothing away from him, but I’m just a whole different type of fight than Baranchyk. He’s way wild (Baranchyk) and I’m way sharper than that. If you get hit like that by me – like you got hit by Baranchyk, I’m gonna stop him. He had a big cut over his eye (Taylor) he got hit with a lot of big punches but you can’t take that from me. Everybody knows you cannot get hit like that by me. On top of that, Baranchyk was making him miss a little bit. There’s no way, if you’re missing him, you’re definitely not about to hit me. You’ve gotta show me a lot of things! I don’t care, whatever he shows me I’m definitely going to be better.
Q. Let’s move on to future challenges. There’re some challenges out there for you. Jose Ramirez is of course undefeated. He loves to throw hooks from both sides but the trouble is he’s right at the end of your punches. I was wondering? Is that a guy you want to fight?
Regis Prograis: I’ve been wanting to fight against Jose Ramirez. When they (the WBC) made the fight between him and (Amir) Imam…Imam was ranked number one, I was ranked number four. Number one and number three fought for the real belt, number two and number four fought for the interim belt. We fought a week before them. So of course I always had a beef with Jose Ramirez because of that whole thing. But at the same time – I’m the top dog. At the tournament I think it will be solidified. They have two champions inside the tournament, two champions outside the tournament. The competition inside the tournament is just way better than the competition outside the tournament. If you look at Jose Ramirez, look at his last opponent. Now if you look at me, look at who my last opponent was. There are levels to it. Look at Josh Taylor look at his last opponent it. We’re fighting way better competition. I’ve been ranked number one in the world for a while now. After this, I definitely think it will be solidified. Of course, I definitely want to fight him (Jose Ramirez) - it’s a big fight. If not, it goes to one forty-seven. From what I’m hearing Ramirez and Hooker are supposed to be fighting and unifying and hopefully I can fight the winner after the tournament is done. And if not, they want to call me out…and wait a while, I feel like I’m the top dog anyway so I’m not going to wait. If they’ve got an opportunity at one forty-seven, (a jump by one weight class) that’s what I’ll do. I’m not going to wait.
Q. You jumped to the question my editor wanted me to ask you and everyone in the sport has for you. Are you going to make a huge jump to welterweight and will you take your power and quickness with you up to one forty-seven if you did?
Regis Prograis: Yeah, I will! I think everything will be better at one forty-seven because when I do go up, I have a plan of how I want my body to look, of how I want my weight to be – all that stuff. So, when I go up to one forty-seven, I’ll have a lot of success up there. But of course, my thing is I want to take over one forty first. I feel like I’m number one right now. Right now, they have three belts out there and I definitely want to collect as many belts as I can before I even think of going up to one forty-seven. One day I’ll go up, but right now I want to take over one forty – even more at one forty.
Q. When you do go up to one forty-seven, do some of the dudes like Crawford and Spence, who have very long arms – would that pose a problem for you?
Regis Prograis: I don’t think so. I’ve fought people with long arms. You know at one forty right now, I think I have the shortest arms! Everybody at one forty has longer arms so I don’t think long arms will give me any trouble at all. Josh Taylor – I’m pretty sure his arms are way longer. Indongo’s arms were way longer. Everybody’s arms are longer! Now you just named Errol Spence and Terry Crawford, they can fight.
Q. I understand you’re a big fan of the World Boxing Super Series. I saw another interview with you, (in which Regis discussed the Super Series) there’s no different organizations, sanctioning bodies. If you win the Super Series, you’re pretty much the man at one forty, right?
Regis Prograis: Right. There won’t be questions about who the best person is. Because the best fighters signed up! Like I say they (fighters who chose not fight in the WBSS) didn’t sign up for a reason. And that’s because in this tournament you’ve got to fight. It’s top competition. The people going into it want to be competitive. You know if they get on top, they’re going to make a lot of money. These champions they aren’t making that kind of money outside the series. We know that. Ramirez is not making what I’m making (names another boxer, not audible) but they didn’t get in the series because it’s top competition. And it’s top rewards and it’s a lot of risk. Big risks big rewards! But at the end of the rainbow is that pot of gold.
Q. Since you’re in boxing full-time, you eat, drink, sleep it – are you a fan of the sport or do you get enough boxing just being in it yourself? Do you keep up with the other divisions and do you enjoy watching boxing?
Regis Prograis: It’s kind of “what and what.” I do it and I’m definitely a fan of boxing. As far as keeping up with the other divisions – I do. Sometimes of course it will weigh you down a little with too much of it. I have a subscription to Ring Magazine and I read it from cover to cover. Every time a new one comes in the mail, I read it cover to cover. I’m definitely up to date on boxing.
Q. Do you have a favorite fighter that you follow? Somebody out there that really impresses you?
Regis Prograis: (a pause). Ah, you know the best fighters right now are people I’ll fight! People I’ll actually have a chance to fight. You’re talking about Lomachenko. (Mentions another, not audible.) But right now, my favorite fighter, besides myself is between Canelo, and Deontay Wilder.
Q. You mentioned Lomachenko. Everybody would be unhappy if I didn’t ask you the obvious question: If Lomachenko could reach one forty, and I don’t think he could, let’s say he does – how do you think a fight between you and Lomachenko would play out? Could you hang in there with him?
Regis Prograis: I actually think I’ll hurt him. Be honest with you…I think one forty is big for him, he’s a small dude, he’s little. Of course, his skill is out of this world, but at the same time one forty is a big division right now. The champions right now are big. I’m the smallest champion at one forty. Ramirez is bigger than me, Hooker’s bigger than me. I really think I would hurt Lomachenko. Because of his size – he does have speed, but I don’t think his power goes up to one forty. Especially with the one hundred forty pounders right now. The division is definitely packed. Even people who are not champions – there are some big old dudes out there with some big power.
Q. What are your long-term goals in the sport? How long do you want to stay in this crazy game?
Regis Prograis: You know, my goal is to keep changing. Every time I go for my goal, I break it and I do way better. For me the sky’s the limit. I’m just doing so much! Just a year and half a go you pray you’re in the position I’m in now. It’s like a dream. I want to unify and get the other belt from Taylor first. Then get the Ali Trophy; get the Ring Magazine belt. Then hopefully get the belts from Ramirez, then go to one forty-seven. But I can never really put a pinpoint on my goals because they keep changing. Every time I do something it gets better and better. My main thing-I just want to keep winning and keep getting better, that’s all. Stay in the gym, win, get better, and as far as everything else, that stuff takes care of itself. I just want to keep doing me, keep winning, piling up my jewelry and my belts.
Q. My final question: I’ve been in New Orleans a couple of times do you have any restaurant recommendations?
(Please note: Regis gives a lot of great recommendations. Here’s one for our readers: Neyow’s Creole Café.)
Allan Cerf: Champ thanks for the tip, thanks for all your time, good luck in the final. I can’t thank you enough.
Regis Prograis: Cool, no problem.