Whether Josh Taylor stays at 140 pounds or moves up to 147, Regis Prograis wants his rematch.
Prograis applauded Taylor’s performance against Jose Ramirez on Saturday night, but the former WBA super lightweight champion believes they have unfinished business to address. Taylor edged Prograis by majority decision in their 12-round fight for Taylor’s IBF belt and Prograis’ WBA championship in October 2019 at O2 Arena in London.
Beating Prograis moved Taylor into position to face Ramirez in a full 140-pound title unification fight. Scotland’s Taylor (18-0, 13 KOs) is the only opponent who has beaten Prograis (26-1, 22 KOs) and Ramirez (26-1, 17 KOs), who survived two knockdowns en route to narrowly losing a unanimous decision to Taylor.
Judge Benoit Roussel scored Prograis-Taylor a draw (114-114), but judges Matteo Montella (117-112) and Alfredo Polanco (115-113) scored Taylor the winner of the final of the World Boxing Super Series’ 140-pound tournament.
“I think the rematch has to happen,” Prograis told co-hosts Randy Gordon and Gerry Cooney during an appearance Monday on “At The Fights,” which streams weekdays on SiriusXM. “You know, for me, he just beat up Jose Ramirez, he beat up everybody. I mean, the only person that really tested him was me, you know? So, I think, you know, we have to have a rematch. And listen, for me, a lot of people keep telling me that I really won the fight.
“You know, and even if I really lost the fight, I would still be chasing the rematch. Don’t get me wrong. Even if he just really beat me clearly, I would still chase the rematch. But, you know, a lot of people keep telling me, ‘Man, you won that fight. And you this, and you that.’ So, for me, I’m a competitor and I’m prideful, and I just have to have that rematch. So, that’s why I really want it.”
Taylor edged California’s Ramirez by the same score on all three cards, 114-112. Judges Tim Cheatham, Dave Moretti and Steve Weisfeld all counted the two knockdowns Taylor recorded, one in the sixth round and another in the seventh, as the difference in their closely contested bout.
New Orleans’ Prograis thinks Taylor deserved a wider win than the official result.
“I mean, first off, you know, I was a fan,” Prograis explained. “You know, I was a fan of the fight. I felt like that was gonna happen. I always said, you know, everybody was asking me, you know, months leading up to the fight who was gonna win? And I definitely picked Josh Taylor. You know, for me, Jose Ramirez, you know, he’s very limited. You know, he just comes in, he comes forward the whole time, you know, not too much head movement and he gets caught, you know, he gets hit a lot. But, you know, of course you can’t keep taking those punches from a big puncher like somebody like Josh Taylor, or even myself.
“So, I felt like that was gonna happen and, honestly, I felt like it should’ve been a knockout. You know, because the referee, Kenny Bayless, you know, I think that second [knockdown happened], when he knocked him down with that uppercut, you know, he gave him like a 20-second count. You know, and that should’ve been a knockout.”
Approximately 22 seconds elapsed from the time Taylor dropped Ramirez with a left uppercut in the seventh round and Taylor stepped toward Ramirez when the action resumed. Ramirez blamed himself for not protecting himself out of a clinch, a mistake Taylor exploited once Bayless didn’t step in to separate them.
Regardless, Prograis expected Taylor to drop Ramirez due to Ramirez’s defensive deficiencies.
“Ramirez always does the same thing,” Prograis said. “He’ll keep coming forward and keep coming forward, but you know, when somebody keep coming forward and get hit with a lot of punches, you can’t take that from a big puncher, you know, and that’s what happened. You know, Taylor hurt him.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.