By Chris Williams: Former WBA light-welterweight champion Regis Prograis is splitting with his promoter Lou Dibella, and he’s about to on the market as a highly sought after free agent.
According to Mike Coppinger, Prograis (24-1, 20 KOs) is buying out the remainder of his contract with DiBella, and he’ll then be available for one of the other promoters to sign.
The 31-year-old Prograis hasn’t fought in 10 months since losing a controversial 12 round majority decision to IBF 140-pound champion Josh Taylor (16-0, 12 KOs) on October 26 last year in the final of the World Boxing Super Series tournament in London, England.
Prograis has three great options
We’ll have to see which of the powerhouse promotional companies signs Prograis. Whichever company has the deepest pockets and that can offer the Louisiana native the biggest paycheck.
These are the likely promotional companies that will attempt to sign Prograis:
- Matchroom Boxing
- Top Rank
There are pluses and minuses for Prograis in signing with any of them, but it might be in his best interest to consider PBC due to their popular roster of welterweights. As long as Prograis is willing to move up to 147 to fight, he’d have access to potentially facing some of these fighters:
- Manny Pacquiao
- Adrien Broner
- Danny Garcia
- Keith Thurman
- Shawn Porter
- Errol Spence Jr
- Yordenis Ugas
Based on Prograis’ recent comments about him not wanting to fight welterweight Maurice Hooker at 147, it could mean that would be resistant to moving up to welterweight for payday fights.
Prograis’ lack of size could result in him being another Broner, a fighter that is too small for the 147lb division.
Signing with Top Rank would put Prograis in the position to fighting these guys:
- Terence Crawford
- Jose Ramirez
- Josh Taylor
- Jose Benavidez Jr
- Teofimo Lopez
- Vasily Lomachenko
- Alex Saucedo
- Viktor Postol
Some of those guys might not be interested or available to fight Prograis, however. Lomachenko fights at 135, and he’s not someone that would likely want to move up to 140 to fight Prograis.
Matchroom doesn’t have much for Regis
Signing with Matchroom would allow Prograis to fight Hooker and Mikey Garcia, but it would limit his options significantly. Mikey probably wouldn’t agree to a fight with Prograis because he’s not a big star and he’s a high-risk guy.
We just saw in Mikey’s last fight against past his prime Jessie Vargas the type of opposition that he’s interested in when not fighting a big name for a payday. Mikey is working hard, trying to talk himself into a fight against Manny Pacquiao. He’s not going to want to risk that fight by taking on a live body like Prograis and losing to him as he did against Spence.
“Regis Prograis and promoter Lou DiBella are in the process of finalizing a separation agreement, sources tell The Athletic.
“Once the buyout is completed, the former champion will become one of the most sought-after promotional free agents. Prograis had one fight left on his deal,” said @MikeCoppinger.
If Matchroom boss Eddie Hearn could guarantee Prograis that he would get a fight against Mikey, then he could sign him, but he can’t do that. Mikey is very, very selective in the type of guys he wants to fight at this stage in his career. Prograis is arguably too talented and too reliable for little 5’6″ Mikey to deal with.
What Prograis doesn’t need is to sign with the wrong promoter, and watch his career stall out to where he’s fighting rarely and only facing scrubs.
It’s not a good sign that Matchroom recently released American heavyweight Michael Hunter following his controversial 10 round draw against Alexander Povetkin last December.
Hunter complained afterward that he wasn’t given access to fighting the popular Matchroom heavyweights. Instead of facing the likes of Anthony Joshua, Dillian Whyte, Joseph Parker, and Dereck Chisora, Hunter was matched against 40-year-old Povetkin.