Regis Prograis recognizes that he has a difficult fight ahead of him Saturday night.
Jose Zepeda is a strong southpaw as well and is inspired to win the vacant WBC super lightweight title he felt he earned when he lost a controversial majority decision to then-champion Jose Ramirez in February 2019. If Progais gets past Zepeda, though, Teofimo Lopez is the opponent other than rival Josh Taylor that Prograis would most want to face in 2023.
Prograis predicted that Lopez would fight him if the former lightweight champion is offered enough money. The New Orleans native also promised it would be a matchmaking mistake by Las Vegas’ Lopez.
“Everybody has a price, so if the money’s right, I think so,” Prograis told BoxingScene.com. “But I really think I’ll hurt him. I really think I can hurt him, stop him. Listen, Teofimo, I thought he had the goods at 135. Of course, with the Kambosos thing we can say Kambosos had the best night of his life and Teofimo had the worst night of his life. We can always say that, but as far 140 goes, his last fight he fought somebody that wasn’t too much and he got hit with a lot of punches. Now, I just don’t see it.
“Of course, I could be wrong about things, but as far as him fighting big 140-pounders, I don’t know. You know, fighting me or Josh Taylor, even [Jack] Catterall or Jose Ramirez, they got the dude [Subriel] Matias out there – I just can’t see him beating any of the big guys. Don’t get me wrong, he has skills. But as far as those guys landing the punches the last dude landed on him, I just don’t see him taking those punches.”
Lopez (17-1, 13 KOs) competed as a full-fledged junior welterweight August 13, when he stopped Mexico’s Pedro Campa (34-2-1, 23 KOs) in the seventh round at Resorts World Las Vegas. That victory marked Lopez’s return from his stunning, split-decision defeat to Australia’s George Kambosos Jr. (20-2, 10 KOs) in their 12-round fight for Lopez’s lightweight titles last November 27 at Madison Square Garden’s Hulu Theater in New York.
The 25-year-old former IBF/WBA/WBO 135-pound champion is scheduled to return to the ring December 10, when he will oppose Spain’s Sandor Martin (40-2, 13 KOs) in a 12-round main event ESPN will air from Madison Square Garden in New York.
Two weeks before Lopez-Pedraza, Prograis (27-1, 23 KOs) and Zepeda (35-2, 27 KOs, 2 NC), of La Puente, California, will headline a pay-per-view show Saturday night from Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California. Most sportsbooks have posted Prograis as more than a 3-1 favorite versus Zepeda.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.