Tuesday, June 13, 2023

Can Prograis Shine In Homecoming Title Defense?

The 140lb. Jr. Welterweight division remains in the spotlight in the month of June as two-time Jr. Welterweight world champion Regis Prograis will begin his second reign as world champion in the division when he puts his WBC world title on the line against Danielito Zorrilla on Saturday, June 17th in the champion's hometown of New Orleans, LA.

The fight, which can be seen globally on digital subscription sports streaming network DAZN from the Smoothie King Center represents not only the beginning of Prograis' second reign atop the Jr. Welterweight division after previously holding the World Boxing Association (WBA) crown, but also his first fight under his new promoter Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Boxing. Prograis became a two-time world champion in November of last year when he scored an eleventh round stoppage of Jose Zepeda to win the vacant World Boxing Council (WBC) crown. In what was an exciting back and forth fight, Prograis had his ability to take a punch tested before ultimately breaking Zepeda down and stopping him.

As Prograis' second reign begins, the Jr. Welterweight division might be heading towards a period of transition. At the time of this writing, it was only days ago when the former undisputed world champion of the division Jodh Taylor, the only man to defeat Prograis, suffered the first loss of his career in losing his WBO world championship to Teofimo Lopez. Two days after the fight however, Lopez announced his retirement from the sport. While that announcement should be taken with a grain of salt given Lopez' ongoing personal problems outside the ring as well as his well-publicized disgruntlement with his promoter Bob Arum, it has nevertheless not only kept interest in the division high, but also created a scenario where it now gives Prograis the opportunity to try and make a statement as to being the number one fighter in the division. 

What will the WBC champion be facing in his first title defense? In Danielito Zorrilla, Prograis will face a fighter who like himself, has only been defeated once in his career, and one that has scored thirteen knockouts in his seventeen career wins. Much like the champion, Zorrilla does have punching power, but perhaps a red flag that some might see is that the challenger will enter this fight rated number twenty in the world in the WBC's Jr. Welterweight ratings. While it is appropriate to ask why a fighter who is rated in the top twenty has been given thr opportunity to fight for a world championship, we obviously will not know if Zorrilla's ranking is misleading and perhaps a case of at best, questionable ranking practices by the sanctioning organization until the fight is underway.

Regis Prograis is a fighter with a Boxing style that this observer would liken to a sniper. In that he has hand speed, punching power, the ability to attack at varying angles, and finally the ability to set traps that thus far many fighters, including Josh Taylor, who got the nod over him by a razor thin decison in October 2019, have had difficulty trying to combat. The story of this fight in terms of what happens in the ring all centers on whether Zorrilla has a way to solve Prograis' puzzle. Zorrilla must find a way to cut the ring off from Prograis early to attempt to limit the champion's ability to move and set angles. He must however, be defensively aware at all times because Prograis is a precision counter puncher if given the opportunity and it is possible that Zorrilla could walk into punches he does not see if he is not strategic in applying pressure and is overly aggressive.

As for Prograis, this fight in some ways is an ideal set up for him. Defending his title in his hometown with what will likely be an enthusiastic crowd of supporters on hand. It is a scenario however, where other fighters have felt added pressure to perform above expectations as well as the added obligations that often come with fighting in your hometown. If Prograis is somehow not on his fight game with an eye towards potential bigger fights that might be ahead of him, the possibility of an upset does exist.

The bottom line is Prograis must get through this fight before any discussion xan be had regarding more lucrative paydays. If he can however, produce a solid performance and retain his world championship convincingly, he might provide a strong argument as being the top fighter the Jr. Welterweight division has to offer.

"And That's The Boxing Truth."

Prograis vs Zorrilla takes place on Saturday, June 17th at the Smoothie King Center in Nee Orleans, LA. The fight as well as it's full undercard can be seen globally on digital subscription sports streaming network DAZN beginning at 6:05PM ET/3:05PM PT with Before the Bell, which will feature preliminary bouts with the main card beginning at 8PM ET/5PM PT. ("U.S. Times Only.*)

(*Card and Start times Subject to change.*)

For more information about DAZN including schedules, list of compatible streaming devices, platforms, Smart TVs, availability around the world, local start times in your area, and to subscribe please visit: www.DAZN.com

The Boxing Truth®️ is a registered trademark of Beau Denison All Rights Reserved.

Follow Beau Denison on Twitter: www.twitter.com/Beau_Denison 

No comments:

Post a Comment