Once again we find ourselves at the doorsteps of a can’t-miss bout between two prime and raring to go combatants. Some of must be dreaming at how often this has occurred lately.
This time we have Scotland’s “Tartan Tornado” in Josh Taylor looking to ravage his way through the bayou-borne Regis “Rougarou” Prograis in the World Boxing Super Series final at 140 pounds. Both men have displayed higher ring adeptness than their experience indicates and the double southpaw dynamic adds uniqueness to an already intriguing glance at the paper.
Who should be the favorite to come out on top of this tantalizing affair? Once again we polled fan, writer, and podcaster alike to get a consensus.
Michael Atkins (USA) – TGTN Writer: Prograis
Regis Prograis, Josh Taylor. Two unbeaten, highly touted, exceptionally talented, essentially, prospects. Both with ultra-brite upsides. For each man, the future is one of limitless possibilities. This is that rare flavor of crossroads bout in which two future stars lay it out there to see which one is the most “real.” The first Donald Curry/Marlon Starling fight comes to mind.
I like both guys, I think both are quite good. Along with Jose Ramirez, these are two of the three best at 140. I do think Prograis will win this. If you look at Taylor’s fight with Baranchyk, Ivan was able to get to him a little bit in that bout. I think Baranchyk might be a slightly harder one-punch hitter than Prograis, and Regis isn’t as wildly, homicidally aggressive as Ivan, but Prograis is a much better fighter. He’ll put on steadier pressure, with much better defense, that is harder to avoid. Taylor will have some success boxing Prograis, but it will come with a price. I think Josh will have to work awful hard to stay ahead of Prograis; operate at a pace, under pressure, that is ultimately unsustainable.
It’ll be a good fight. Both are quality fighters. But I feel like Prograis quality is more substantial, deeper. One guy goes on to be a really good fighter, have a respectable career (Taylor), the other, (Prograis) goes on to be an elite fighter, long term. I actually think Jose Ramirez gets by Taylor also, I have him right in between Josh and Regis. Each of these guys, and throw in Ramirez, would be Terence Crawford’s toughest opponents to date. Too bad he didn’t stick at 140 a little longer, there were better fights for him down there.
I see Taylor starting off well, getting out to a lead and looking good. But I think Prograis steadily reels him in with the more quality, substantial work. By the second half of the fight, I think Taylor will be in and out of survival mode. In more than out, the later it gets in rounds. Prograis drops him a few times and stops him, sometime after round 9. Prograis, KO-10.
Roy Bennett (CN) – Independent Writer: Taylor
It seems like I’ve been following the trail of breadcrumbs leading to this fight for a while now and, at long last, the on-again-off-again WBSS junior welterweight title bash between Josh Taylor and Regis Prograis is finally here.
Few potential fights in the sport have garnered as much interest as this one has and it’s easy to see why. Both Taylor, 28, and Prograis, 30, are in their primes and eager to prove who the top man in the division is.
Taylor, 15-0, 12 KOs, just might be the best fighter to come out of Scotland in a long while. He’s smart, technically sharp, tactically versatile and defensively responsible.
The solidly built Prograis, 24-0, 20 KOs, reminds me of a modern day Beau Jack, the old lightweight champion, bobbing and weaving his way under punches to wreak havoc on his opponents with crushing blows that make you wonder if he’s got bricks in his gloves. Brutal and bullish, Prograis looks to do damage with every punch he throws yet he doesn’t lack defensive refinement.
If Prograis was facing anyone other than Taylor I would favour him to win but I see something in the Scottish, Edinburgh born southpaw that leads me to believe we’re witnessing the emergence of a special fighter. His ability to control distance and rip off fast bursts of punches with authority when he plants his feet will prevent Prograis from taking too many liberties as he tries to work his way inside. I see Taylor’s greater tactical nous, superior footwork and spiteful body punching, especially with the right hook, winning the day via split decision.
Jack Sumner (UK) – TGTN Writer: Prograis
For the second weekend in a row, boxing brings us a unification bout between two unbeaten titleholders and, on paper at least, this Saturday’s battle between light welterweights Regis Prograis and Josh Taylor is every bit as difficult a pick-em as Beterbiev-Gvozdyk.
Opinion seems pretty much split on who will walk away with unified WBA, IBF and Ring Magazine 140lb titles and the Muhammad Ali trophy. Prograis has won more pro bouts, scored a higher percentage of knockouts and by virtue of the eye test appears to possess an edge in both speed and power, but Taylor has beaten better competition to date, has height and reach in his favour and will expect to have the backing of a partisan British crowd inside the O2 Arena.
As good as this matchup is however, in my opinion Regis Prograis should enter as a solid favorite. For my money the New Orleans native possesses a number of advantages over Taylor in this matchup and is a much more versatile fighter. He’s also not the type of boxer-puncher you want to get dragged into a firefight with, just as Taylor was prone to doing against Viktor Postol and Ivan Baranchyk and often looked defensively open in landing his own shots.
Prograis to win, either by late stoppage or by decision that is closer than it should be on the cards.
Erich Edmonds (USA) – TGTN Writer: Taylor
Another boxing weekend with another close 50/50 pick ‘em fight. We have two 140lb boxer/puncher southpaws in the biggest fight of their careers so far. This fight could go either way and change at any moment by a punch from either guy. Taylor has the reach and size advantage and most importantly he knows how to use them to his advantage. I liked the way he managed to handle and control the always aggressive Ivan Baranchyk and while Prograis is a quicker and more technically sound opponent, I still see Taylor doing enough to control this fight and ultimately winning on points, probably by split decision.
Sean Bastow (UK) – TGTN Writer/BTR Boxing Podcast: Taylor
This has all the makings of a fight of the year contender; we have two undefeated super lightweights with a supreme amount of skill between them.
Taylor has the more rounded skill set and having such an accomplished amateur career also gives him a slight advantage. Prograis is awkward, unpredictable and carries decent punch power for the weight and will certainly give Taylor a puzzle to solve. I can’t help but feel this will be a really close fight between the two with some really close rounds,
but ultimately I think Taylor will have enough in his repertoire to take a close result on the scorecards.
Christopher Carlson (USA) – TGTN Writer/Podcaster: Prograis
A southpaw matchup with a fair amount of power, speed, and skill makes for an intriguing matchup.
If the Prograis that showed up versus Relikh enters the ring as a patient puncher he will win possibly by TKO. Can Taylor withstand 12 rounds on the move? A competitive fight assumingely will give Taylor the nod on the cards. Which ever fighter improves just a notch on defense and sets up their power punches walks away victorious.
Prograis by Split-Decision
Derek Green (UK) – Fan: Taylor
We got #1 ranked in the division Prograis, the WBA belt-holder. His opponent, as we all kinda knew, is Edinburgh’s own Josh Taylor.
How I see it, I see a come from behind victory on the cards (slimly behind). Now Regis is slick but I’m taking Josh Taylor to take Regis out around 9-11 as when he knows the fights in the balance he’s got the ability to out-tough anyone at 140.
Taylor TKO 10 to be exact. Regis’ stock rises in FOTY candidate.
Jeremiah Preisser (USA) – TGTN Editor/Writer/Co-Host: Prograis
There’s a Scottish whirlwind touching down in England on Saturday but its category has yet to be determined. Josh Taylor looks about an F4 so far, but whether he picks up steam and maxes out on the Fujita Scale is yet to be determined. He has one more structure to blow down before getting there, a Louisiana-sized concrete slab of gated windows and doors.
Prograis has Superdome swagger and a historical melding to round out his calculated aggression. He’s sharp and fluid, and bangs the body harder than an Indian war drum. But are his storm-chasing skills up to par?
Taylor likely takes the approach of the boxer, using his longer limbs to keep Prograis at bay, while Regis pressures smartly, inching forward, slowly putting the downstairs work in until he catches up. It’s more than possible Taylor nabs enough of the early rounds to take it, but I think Prograis closes early enough to pull away with a tight decision.
Zakwaan Shaukat Ali (UK) – TGTN Writer: Taylor
Firstly, I’d like to say how lucky we boxing fans are to have a third elite level world title unification all within a four-week period, and this one is clearly putting the #1 and #2 against each other.
I must say I will make this prediction with much caution, after incorrectly predicting the last 50/50 match-up of Beterbiev vs. Gvozdyk. But who can blame me dammit!
For me whoever wins this match-up will be the one who controls and dictates the pace of the fight. When you have two astute, immensely gifted southpaws with respectable resumes and exceptional boxing IQ going against each other, more than likely it will be a battle of wits. A chess match to begin with.
Here, we have two contrasts when it comes to the pace of the fight. On one hand, you have Prograis who slows the speed down to his level and quickly changes when he sees an opportunity to land his powerful left hooks. On the opposite scale, you have Taylor who has tremendous work-rate, and will keep coming at you with volume on the inside and outside.
Rougarou, has very good upper body movement and he slips countless shots with his head, that’s why the Belarusian banger Relikh was unable to get a clean shot. Along with his movement he is powerful. The Tartan Tornado, is a cerebral southpaw always on the move and as mentioned, keeps up the intensity. He has a tendency of getting dragged into a firefight, as seen in his fights vs. hardened veteran Miguel Vasquez and wrecking ball Baranchyk. This may work against him versus Prograis.
I have Taylor winning this in a closely contested fight of two leading world champions at 140lbs. I think he has the height and reach advantages combined with his skill-set will cause Prograis problems.
John Einreinhofer (USA) – TGTN Writer/Podcaster: Prograis
Prograis KOs Taylor. Both of them can fight and will perform well enough to be in the mix at 147 after this fight, where the tradition and the money are. In the mid part of fight against the limited Baranchyk, I didn’t like some of Taylor’s reaction though he bounced back and won.
The Final Tally
Taylor – 5/Prograis – 5