As the year 2023 begins to wind down, there are only a few dates left on the Boxing schedule in the month of December that should be of interest to many Boxing fans. One of those dates will take place on December 9th in San Francisco, CA as two-time Jr. Welterweight world champion Regis Prograis, current holder of the WBC Jr. Welterweight world championship, will make the second defense of his title against undefeated former Undisputed Lightweight champion of the world Devin Haney. An intriguing encounter between two dynamic fighters, which will take place at the Chase Center and can be seen in North America on DAZN Pay-Per-View and as part of a standard subscription to DAZN’s streaming network internationally.
Ironically, this fight cones as many believe both fighters lost their respective last fights against different opposition. As most know, in his last outing in what turned out to be his final defense of the Undisputed Lightweight world championship, Devin Haney scored a controversial decision victory over former three-division world champion Vasyl Lomachenko in May of this year.
A fight that appeared to be controlled by Lomachenko from the outset, Haney was judged to be the winner of the fight by twelve round unanimous decision. Haney, who had difficulty in recent outings in making the 135lb. Lightweight limit, almost immediately after the victory over Lomachenko, controversial as it might be depending on one’s perspective, stated his intention to move up in weight to the 140lb. Jr. Welterweight division to seek an opportunity to win another world championship. Although Haney still holds three recognized world championships in the Lightweight division as of this writing, his intention of testing the waters at 140lbs. resulted in his being stripped of the WBC Lightweight world championship, which was recently won by Shakur Stevenson. Regardless of the outcome of this fight on December 9th, it is widely expected that Haney will remain in the Jr. Welterweight division moving forward.
The champion who Haney will face in San Francisco, coincidentally is also coming off of a less than stellar outing in his last title defense. This observer is referring to the defense Regis Prograis had in June of this year in his hometown of New Orleans, LA where he was pushed to the limit by a very “Game" Danielito Zorrilla. Much like Haney’s victory over Lomachenko, there were some who were of the opinion that Zorrilla had done enough to earn the decision, but ended up on the losing end of a twelve round split decision.
With both world champions coming off performances that left more questions than answers, a question that some might have is were those fights each a case of two elite fighters showing that they are human and having an off night at the office, or more a case of coming up against high level competition that each may have underestimated. We are likely to get an answer by both fighters facing each other.
This fight presents a truly unique situation for both fighters. Not only are both coming off questionable outings, but by facing each other now, it has created a true high stakes encounter where there is a lot to gain, but also a lot to lose for both Prograis and Haney. Despite being a two-time world champion, Regis Prograis has yet to score a victory that many would call a career-defining win. In some ways, it can be for lack of a better term, unfair for a fighter no matter how many world championships they might win to be defined by a fight or a few fights as opposed to the overall accomplishments achieved throughout a career. Unfortunately, Boxing is a sport where often, single fights are used as a measuring stick of defining a fighter's career. If Prograis were to lose this fight, the argument of some might be that his accomplishments could be questioned due to not being able to defeat a fighter that some consider to be an elite level boxer.
Similarly, if Haney were to lose this fight, some could say that perhaps he benefited from what was believed by many to be a bad decision in his fight against Lomachenko and who’s only two world title fights prior to that outing came against the same fighter in George Kambosos, who himself has had his legitimacy unfairly questioned both prior to and after his two fights with Haney.
For better or worse, one must also factor in the element of dislike between Prograis and Haney. Although more often than not, such boasts of animosity are nothing more than an attempt to draw interest and promote a fight, something that should be left to the promoters in the sport, there are times when the dislike is legitimate. Whether or not that might result in both fighters being more willing to engage from the outset and potentially go punch for punch remains to be seen. There is no question that both champion and challenger possess Boxing skills on the highest level in the sport, but the highest class of skill does not always translate into a memorable fight, and given the perception of at least some Boxing fans that each have had to deal with since their last outings, it will be interesting to see if this is either a high level chess match between two world-class boxers that this could be on paper or if the combination of what happened in their respective last fights and what might be legitimate dislike between the two results in a memorable battle. The type of fight that is not only the subject of both discussion and debate years after it occurs, but often those fights that are thought of as elevating Boxing to a higher level.
As one who has been looking forward to covering this fight from the moment it was announced, having covered both Prograis and Haney throughout their respective careers, this observer can not wait to find out.
“And That's The Boxing Truth."
Update: While this column was in development, it was announced on November 29th that Devin Haney had vacated the remaining world championships he held in the 135lb. Lightweight division and would be competing in the 140lb. Jr. Welterweight division going forward.
Prograis vs Haney takes place on Saturday, December 9th at the Chase Center in San Francisco, CA. In the United States and Canada the fight can be seen on DAZN Pay-Per-View for $59.99 beginning at 8PM ET/5PM PT. Outside of North America, the fight will be available as part of a standard monthly or annual DAZN subscription.
To order this pay-per-view event in North America, visit www.DAZN.com and verify that pay-per-view access is required in your region. DAZN.com also provides information on how to subscribe, availability around the world, compatible streaming devices, platforms, and Smart TVs, as well as local start times in your area.
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