Regis Prograis won another world title tonight, mostly dominating Jose Zepeda en route to an 11th round stoppage win in Carson, Calif.
It wasn’t the truly exciting fight some of us expected, though it also wasn’t boring. What we really saw is just how good Prograis (28-1, 24 KO) can be when he’s fully dialed in. After feeling out Zepeda (36-3, 27 KO) in the opening round, it became pretty much all Prograis from there, as “Rougarou” settled in, found his groove, and gave Zepeda absolute fits.
After Zepeda woke up a bit and had a pretty decent 10th round, having lost everything on our card from the second through the ninth, Prograis pounced early in the 11th, hurt and dropped Zepeda, and the fight was over.
Prograis started his post-fight comments with heavy respect to Zepeda, saying, “That dude is tough, tough, tough. He came to fight, he probably gave me one of my hardest fights, I’m not even gonna lie. This dude is tough, bro. I’ve got so much respect to you. You prepared me to get this belt and hold this belt. I congratulate you. All the best to you, bro. Don’t stop, I feel like you can still be a world champion.”
“I wanted to come out and box him. But in probably the second or third round, I started catching my rhythm,” he continued. “But he caught on to that, so I boxed again. I know I trained hard. Just take him to the deep waters and drown him.”
Prograis admitted that Zepeda was, in fact, quicker and a better puncher than he expected, as Zepeda said pre-fight he would be.
Prograis said he plans to take a short break for the holidays, adding, “I’m not gonna say nobody’s name. At first nobody wanted to say my name, but now I’m a two-time world champion, now everybody’s gonna want to say my name. I’m gonna let them.”
To be clear about this, former titlist Jose Ramirez was guaranteed a shot at the winner of this fight by the WBC, and Ramirez is with Top Rank. Power promoter fighters with any name value get what is promised to them. It most likely will be Prograis vs Ramirez next, which may not be the absolute easiest thing to work out and might go to a purse bid, but that’s the most likely next fight.
Zepeda vs Prograis highlights
- Yokasta Valle MD-10 Evelyn Bermudez: Scores were 95-95, 97-93, 99-91. BLH had it 97-93 for Valle, who now has the IBF and WBO belts at 108, adding to her IBF and WBO belts at 105. So she has options! Good fight, no lulls in action, Valle (27-2, 9 KO) seemed to have the better all-around work rate for me, and often in a two-minute rounds, competitive fight like this, I wind up leaning that way over the course of the fight. That’s just a habit I acknowledge I have, but I can see how the judges were all over the place with this one. Bermudez is now 17-1-1 (6 KO), taking her first L. She’s now 0-1-1 outside of Argentina, but she absolutely can fight, this was really competitive.
- Bakhodir Jalolov TKO-4 Curtis Harper: I think I’d be about a -10000 favorite playing basketball one-on-one against an average fourth grader. Not a fourth grader who plays a ton of basketball, maybe casually plays, isn’t among the better players in their group of friends. If that does happen, and I dominate as expected, I would like Ray Flores to come call the game. Jalolov goes to 12-0 (12 KO). Harper’s (14-9, 9 KO) highlight was probably when he got docked a point in round two for a ridiculous headbutt.
- Charles Conwell MD-10 Juan Carlos Abreu: Usually when an A-side wins a majority decision and scores are 95-95, 96-94, and 98-92, you expect the 98-92 judge scored it too wide for the A-side. I do not think that was the case here, I think the other twohad it way closer than this fight really was. BLH scored the fight 99-91 for Conwell on our unofficial card. It wasn’t Conwell’s (18-0, 13 KO) best showing by any means, and it was clear he needs to get active and maybe make some changes going into 2023, but he won this fight without question, even struggling a bit with a cut that came from a clash of heads late in the first round. Abreu (25-7-1, 23 KO) landed some decent shots but it’s hard to find more than a couple rounds he should have been given. That’s my opinion, anyway, and as we always say, being fair, judges have fixed positions from which they watch a fight. I don’t know exactly how it looked to those two judges all night.
- Fernando Vargas Jr TKO-2 Alejandro Martinez: If you think, “Didn’t I just see Fernando Vargas’ son a couple weeks ago on ESPN+,” you did, but it was a younger, different son, with much more upside and potential. This one is a 26-year-old 147/154 prospect of sorts, now 7-0 (7 KO) after a two-round wipeout of Martinez (3-3-1, 2 KO), a guy Vargas towered over who probably shouldn’t have been his opponent tonight and doesn’t really belong fighting at this weight. It really wasn’t much to see, in all honesty, and hard to be impressed, but they shouted on the TV like usual. But being totally fair to Vargas, while he was excited to win, he also wasn’t suddenly calling out the world or anything; seems like a kid with a good head on his shoulders who knows there’s a lot more building to do. He has good management and his dad is also in his corner, and Fernando Sr definitely got put through the boxing wringer, so he knows the mistakes of going too fast.