Regis Prograis has seen Devin Haney get hit with various punches by left-handed opponents Vasiliy Lomachenko and Joseph Diaz Jr.
Prograis promised Haney that he has never been punched as hard, however, as the WBC super lightweight champion will hit him Saturday night. The strong southpaw seems to be the most powerful foe of Haney’s eight-year professional career, but Haney intends to make it very difficult for Prograis to connect with flush punches during their 12-round, 140-pound championship clash at Chase Center in San Francisco.
One thing Prograis detected while studying Haney is that the former undisputed lightweight champ isn’t as sound defensively as some seem to think. Prograis pointed out his opponent’s defensive flaws during DAZN’s “Face Off” segment, which debuted recently.
“I’m not lookin’ at his past sh!t. I’m looking at right now, what we gonna do right now,” Prograis told DAZN’s Chris Mannix, who moderated the promotional preview. “That’s it. I don’t care about none of that sh!t, bro. I just know he not defensive, like people say he defensive and sh!t like that. He get hit by sh!t. You get hit, bro, so when you get hit by me you gonna see it’s a difference.”
The 25-year-old Haney hasn’t been down in 30 professional bouts, but Jorge Linares hurt him with a right hand just before the bell sounded to end the 10th round of their fight 2½ years ago. Haney recovered quickly after taking that shot, regained control of their fight and defeated Venezuela’s Linares by unanimous decision in May 2021 at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino’s Michelob ULTRA Arena.
Haney (30-0, 15 KOs) countered during the aforementioned “Face Off” segment by contending that Prograis (29-1, 24 KOs) gets hit with a lot more regularity than him.
“You get hit with a bunch a sh!t,” Haney said. “And that’s why you got dropped your last fight, right?”
The 34-year-old Prograis didn’t dispute that he gets touched on occasion, but he doesn’t believe Danielito Zorrilla should’ve been credited with a knockdown during the opening round of their June 17 bout at Smoothie King Center in Prograis’ hometown of New Orleans. Prograis went down with 22 seconds to go in the first round of that fight after Puerto Rico’s Zorrilla landed a right that connected on Prograis’ right arm.
They became entangled as the punch landed and tumbled to the canvas together. Referee Ray Corona ruled that Zorrilla (17-2, 13 KOs) pushed Prograis down.
Prograis later landed a left hand that knocked Zorrilla flat on his back a little less than a minute into the third round. Zorrilla recovered and made their contest competitive, but he lost a 12-round split decision. Judges Robert Tapper (118-109) and Josef Mason (117-110) scored 10 and nine rounds, respectively, for Prograis, who lost 114-113 according to judge Craig Metcalfe.
The competitive nature of Prograis’ victory over Zorrilla is among the reasons Haney has been installed by most sportsbooks as a 4-1 favorite in advance of their DAZN Pay-Per-View main event. Their fight for Prograis’ WBC belt will headline a four-fight DAZN Pay-Per-View show scheduled to start at 8 p.m. ET (5 p.m. PT; $59.99 for DAZN subscribers; $74.99 for non-subscribers).
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.