Regis Prograis promised that Devin Haney has made a huge matchmaking mistake in choosing the hard-hitting southpaw as his next opponent.
Prograis respects Haney’s ambition, but he doesn’t think that the undefeated, undisputed lightweight champion will have what it takes to withstand his power in what will be Haney’s 140-pound debut December 9 at Chase Center in San Francisco. Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing, which promotes Prograis (29-1, 24 KOs) and Haney (30-0, 15 KOs), officially announced Tuesday that their 12-round fight for Prograis’ WBC super lightweight title will headline a DAZN Pay-Per-View show in the United States.
“Since my last fight they mentioned Devin’s name and that’s the only person I’ve had on my mind,” Prograis stated in a press release issued by Matchroom. “I will not only beat him, but I will beat him up. I will hurt this kid. It’s nothing he can do that’s going to stop me from dominating. It’s going to be a massacre. Again, I will hurt him.”
The 34-year-old Prograis has knocked out 80 percent of his opponents since the New Orleans native made his pro debut in April 2012.
He went the distance in his last fight, though, as Puerto Rican contender Danielito Zorrilla got up from a third-round knockdown, remained reluctant to engage thereafter and took Prograis 12 rounds June 17 at Smoothie King Center in New Orleans. Prograis beat Zorrilla (17-2, 13 KOs) by wide distances according to judges Josef Mason (117-110) and Robert Tapper (118-109), but the abovementioned knockdown was the only thing that separated them on judge Craig Metcalfe’s card (114-113).
The 24-year-old Haney unanimously outpointed three-division champion Vasiliy Lomachenko (17-3, 11 KOs) in his most recent action. Their 12-round, 135-pound fight for Haney’s IBF, WBA, WBC and WBO belts was considered very competitive by fans and media, but Haney won seven rounds on the cards of judges Tim Cheatham (115-113) and David Sutherland (115-113) and eight rounds according to judge Dave Moretti (116-112) on May 20 at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
Haney, who trains in Las Vegas and resides in Henderson, Nevada, will fight in the city where he was born for the first time as a pro. He is confident that competing at a higher weight will make him a fresher fighter who will be better able to absorb punches even from an opponent who hits as hard as Prograis.
“On paper this is a tough fight because it’s my first fight at a heavier weight division,” Haney said. “I’m comfortable with the plan we have. God willing, I’m going to be stronger and faster than ever. I’m going to dominate him and the junior welterweight division is going to be put on notice.”
Despite Prograis’ prediction, Haney stressed that this isn’t anything other than business to him.
“It’s never personal,” Haney said. “This is a business at the end of the day. We’re two gentlemen … but when we get in the ring we don’t have to respect each other. I’m going to go in there and do my job.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.