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Matchroom’s August 15 card to be headlined by Prograis or Hooker

Cecilia Braekhus Regis Prograis

By Kenneth Friedman: Regis Prograis or Maurice Hooker will be headlined the Matchroom card in the U.S. on August 15. Promoter Eddie Hearn says one of those two will be in the main event against a quality opponent.

Ideally, Hearn would like the former light-welterweights Hooker and Prograis to fight each, as initially planned, but they stuck in a stalemate one pound apart. Prograis has agreed to compete at a catchweight of 144 pounds, whereas Hooker wants it at 145.

They had agreed earlier to fight at 143, but Hooker’s trainer BoMac wants him to compete at the full weight at 147. Hooker compromised by saying he would come down two pounds to 145, but Prograis wants no part of that because he fights at 140, and that’s the weight he wanted when the negotiations started.

Hearn is upset that Hooker and Prograis can’t agree on the weight, and he feels that one of them should make the decision give in.

With it unlikely that Hooker will agree to come down one pound, Hearn plans on matching Prograis against one of these three fighters:

  • Pablo Cesar Cano
  • Shakhram Giyasov

Also, on the August 15 Matchroom card, Cecilia Braekhus will face Jessica McCaskill.

Cecilia Braekhus Regis Prograis

Prograis OR Hooker to headline on August 15

“The first fight back for us [Matchroom Boxing] will be two weeks after the Vergil Ortiz fight,” said Hearn to S.I. Boxing Podcast. “It’ll be somewhere around August 15. We’re having another meeting with DAZN on Monday to go through the entire schedule through the end of the year.

“That fight was supposed to be Hooker against Prograis. It’ll probably be one of those now against another big name. Then when we move into September, we have Estrada against Chocolatito. For me, that’s a wonderful fight to make in September.

“We have Devin Haney as well, possibly against Luke Campbell for the WBC World title. We also have Demetrius Andrade, we have Daniel Jacobs, and we have Billy Joe Saunders if he doesn’t get the fight against Canelo Alvarez. So we have a lot to fit in over that period. I think with DAZN; we have those three flagship guys right now of Anthony Joshua, Canelo Alvarez, and Gennadiy Golovkin.

“Those are the three biggest names in the sport, and you have to base the schedule around those three huge names. So if we can have Prograis-Hooker and Estrada against Chocolatito and Haney against Campbell, and Andrade against Saunders and Callum Smith against Danny Jacobs and Canelo Alvarez against Gennadiy Golovkin, that’s a good schedule up until the end of the year.

“I’d rather come back with the right stuff than just any old stuff,” said Hearn.

The fighters that Hearn mentions as fighting before the end of 2020 give fans something to look forward to. Hearn still believes that Billy Joe Saunders ha a shot at getting the Canelo fight in September. If that’s the case, it would be an exciting match-up for fans.

Devin Haney vs. Luke Campbell is another excellent fight that Hearn mentioned. WBC champion Haney (24-0, 15 K.O.s) hasn’t fought since suffering a shoulder injury in his win over Alfredo Santiago last year. Campbell is someone that will help show whether the 22-year-old Haney is as good as people think he is. Don’t count Luke out in this one.

What to do with Maurice Hooker?

“It’s extremely disappointing,” said Hearn on Regis Prograis and Maurice Hooker unable to agree on the weight for a fight on August 15. “BoMac says he wants him [Hooker] at welterweight, and we now have a decision, ‘what do we do with Maurice Hooker?’

“We’re looking at a couple of alternative fights. Both guys [Prograis and Hooker] are saying, ‘I’ll stay on the show. Get rid of him.’ One of them probably will go. But it’s a case of who’s the dance partner because I’m not prepared to come back with a one-sided fight or rubbish because we’ve seen too much of it in the last couple of weeks.

“It’s not a dig at Top Rank. They’ve got a job to do as well, but no one wants to watch guys that aren’t household names, and that aren’t five-star names in non-competitive fights. So we’ve got to use this opportunity to reset boxing. We will lose some [fighers].

“There will be some casualties along the way. We’ll lose some fighters, and we’ll have to say to some fighters, ‘I’m sorry. It might be the end of your contract, and you haven’t been delivering the numbers. The money isn’t there anymore, or you’re not prepared to take the fights that we want to make,'” said Hearn.

Top Rank is putting a lot of their talented fighters in showcase fights during the lockdown out of necessity. If they had it their way, they would match them against the best, but that’s not possible given the absence of a gate.

Hooker’s nine-year career could be on the downward trajectory now that he’s moving up to 147, and Hearn will need to decide what to do with him. It’s a bad sign that he’s not agreeable to meeting Prograis at a catchweight down the middle at 143. Moving up to 147 may not solve Hooker’s problems inside the ring, as he’s going to struggle with the talented opposition.

Cecilia Braekhus Regis Prograis

Hearn wants Prograis vs. Giyasov or Cano 

“We have to be tougher now. I’m sorry. And for Maurice Hooker, ‘you were supposed to fight at 143. Three months later, it’s 144. That’s the number,'” said Hearn. “With Prograis, ‘You either take it at 145,’ and I don’t want to be unreasonable, but we just can’t afford to deliver poor quality.

“If it’s Regis Prograis against X, X has to be a real fight. And if it’s Maurice Hooker against X, X has to be a real fight. We’ve got some really interesting fights we’re working on. We are only a pound away [between the weight Prograis and Hooker stalemate.]

“The problem with Regis is he’s not a welterweight,” said Hearn. “What are your choices. There are some really good fights out there for him. I like the [Pablo Cesar] Cano fight. He knocked Linares out in one round.

“I like the Shakhram Giyasov fight, which doesn’t have much upside for Prograis, but it’s a great fight as well. Even a Lewis Ritson fight in the U.K. for Regis Prograis. The chances to regain his world title that’ll be more difficult.

“I think Regis just wants to fight and wants a great fight, and Prograis against Hooker was a great fight. I don’t think we’ll see it, but I’m still hoping the phone will ring, and we got it,” said Hearn.

The 2016 Olympian Shakhram Giyasov (9-0, 7 KOs) would be a tough opponent for Prograis to face in the main event, but it would be a great fight. If Prograis isn’t sharp, he could lose to Giyasov, and that would be a disaster for him. Prograis is coming off of a 12 round majority decision defeat to Joshua Taylor last October, and he can’t afford to suffer another loss.


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