Regis Prograis can’t understand why DAZN executives wouldn’t pay for his intriguing fight against Mikey Garcia, yet fully funded Garcia’s tune-up bout with an anonymous, unproven opponent.
The former WBA “super” 140-pound champion expressed frustration Thursday during an interview with BoxingScene.com, just a few hours after DAZN and Matchroom Boxing announced Garcia’s next fight. Garcia, a four-division champion, will oppose Spain’s Sandor Martin in a welterweight fight DAZN will stream October 16 from Chukchansi Park, a minor-league baseball stadium in Fresno, California.
“It is what it is,” Prograis said. “Listen, Mikey, he has a name and I guess that’s what he’s gonna do. But I would definitely like to know what the numbers are looking like for him to fight somebody like that. Sometimes, I’m not gonna lie, it just seems like it’s not fair. I had a bunch of hard fights coming up and then somebody like that could just fight a person nobody’s ever heard of.
“I mean, of course, I don’t know the numbers, but I’m pretty sure Mikey’s gonna get paid something good just to fight a nobody. To me, it’s not fair. But hey, what can you do about it? That’s why I’m out here chilling in Colombia now. I’ll be back when they update me with something.”
Prograis and his wife, Raquel, traveled recently from their home in Katy, Texas, for a vacation in Colombia. The New Orleans native needed to get away to give his mind and body a break from training.
The 32-year-old Prograis started to train late in July for what he thought would be a high-profile showdown with Garcia. Though he was never officially offered that fight, Prograis prepared as if it were scheduled because he wanted to be physically and mentally ready if the fight took place this Saturday night, which was the rumored date, or soon thereafter.
“It’s very frustrating – very with a capital ‘v,’ ” Prograis said. “When they told me I had this fight scheduled, I just wanted to win so bad. The whole Josh Taylor thing got to me. I’m not gonna lie, I never thought I could lose. Of course, I know everybody is beatable and stuff like that. Nobody is invincible, but for me, I train so much and I have so much passion for the sport to where I never thought I can lose. So, when they told me I could fight Mikey, I’m like, ‘Man, I don’t need a date. I’m gonna train. I’m gonna do what I’ve gotta do.’ Like every day, I was training because I wanna get better.
“And then, to hear that it's not gonna happen, that’s like super frustrating because, you know, that’s what I was looking forward to. … I was really anticipating this fight. I thought it was gonna be a great fight. I was really anticipating this fight. I know both of us was gonna get paid. I knew it would be a great fight not just for us, but for boxing. And then when it gets scrapped, of course it’s very, very frustrating.”
Prograis (26-1, 22 KOs) was informed by his handlers that Garcia wanted a less dangerous fight to shed some ring rust because the Oxnard, California, native hasn’t fought since he out-pointed Jessie Vargas in February 2020, just before the COVID-19 pandemic began. Money most likely was a factor as well.
Garcia (40-1, 30 KOs) reportedly was paid $7 million to face Las Vegas’ Vargas (29-3-2, 11 KOs), but DAZN is more cost-conscious, particularly in the U.S. market, than before the pandemic. BoxingScene.com has learned Garcia and Prograis would’ve been paid less than $7 million combined if their fight was made.
“With those numbers, he probably won’t fight me, to be honest,” Prograis said. “Listen, if he made $7 million to fight Jessie Vargas, he’s definitely not gonna fight me for $3 million, $2 million, $2.5 million. If it’s still that number by the time we could fight again, yeah, I don’t think it’s gonna happen. And I definitely don’t think Mikey’s scared or nothing like that. I would never say that because Mikey’s a real fighter.
“But I understand – if he got $7 million to fight Jessie Vargas, he wants the same or probably even more to fight somebody like me, because I feel like I am way more dangerous than somebody like Jessie Vargas. So, if that’s the exact number, I really don’t think it’s gonna happen.”
Garcia, 33, is unlikely to have much trouble when he meets Martin (38-2, 13 KOs) four weeks from Saturday night. The 28-year-old Martin will take a nine-fight winning streak into their bout, but he hasn’t fought anyone anywhere near the level on which the intelligent, skillful Garcia operates.
Prograis, meanwhile, wants to get a fight of his own scheduled as soon as possible. He stopped Ukraine’s Ivan Redkach (23-6-1, 18 KOs, 1 NC) in the sixth round of his most recent bout, which was part of the Jake Paul-Ben Askren pay-per-view undercard April 17 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.
“I don’t wanna just wait around and, you know, he fights and it still might be a maybe,” Prograis said. “Like, ‘Oh, you might fight him after he fights in October.’ So, it’s like, ‘Nah, I’m gonna go on with my schedule.’ Hopefully, he fights, then I fight, and then after that, maybe we can come to an agreement sometime after that. But I don’t know what’s going on with it.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.