By Craig Daly: Eddie Hearn says he’s going to reach out to Top Rank to have unbeaten, highly ranked Arnold Barboza Jr step in as the replacement opponent to challenge WBC light welterweight champion Regis Prograis for his title next month on June 17th, following the Achilles injury of Liam Paro.
Hearn likes Barboza Jr (28-0, 10 KOs) as the replacement for the injured Paro to challenge Prograis (28-1, 24 KOs) in the main event of the Matchroom Boxing show on DAZN at the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Whether Top Rank will give the green light to let Barboza fight Prograis is questionable because he’s in line to challenge for a world title with the WBO. Top Rank’s fighter Josh Taylor holds the WBO 140-lb title and will face Teofimo Lopez next month on June 10th.
Barboza has been trying to get a fight against Teofimo, but with no luck. Some boxing fans believe Teofimo wants no part of Barboza, knowing how much of a threat he is to him.
The only negatives with Barboza are his stamina and his lack of power. He fades in his fights sometimes, allowing his opponents to win rounds. We saw that in Barboza’s last fight against Jose Pedraza.
If you’re Top Rank, it makes more sense to keep the 31-year-old Barboza in a holding pattern to challenge for the WBO title rather than letting him get mauled by Prograis, arguably the best fighter in the light welterweight division right now.
If Devin Haney moves up to 140, he’ll be another guy in the Top Rank stable who fights for the WBO belt, provided he re-signs with them.
“We’ve reached out to Top Rank to speak to Barboza. We love that fight for Regis Prograis, so we’ll be making him an offer for sure,” said Eddie Hearn to Boxing Social. “Liam Paro suffered an Achilles injury. He was checking that yesterday.
“It does look like he’s out of the fight. We have three or four options for a new opponent, and we will announce that new opponent hopefully tomorrow. But June 17th in New Orleans, it still goes ahead.
“I like the Barboza fight. We’re going to reach out to Top Rank. We’re already on the case for that and try and make that fight happen,” said Hearn.
“Regis Prograis is not canceled. There’s a problem with Liam Paro, who has an injury that is being reviewed, but there is no show that is being canceled. We have three or four opponents that we’re looking for Regis,” said Eddie Hearn to iFL TV about WBC light welterweight champion Regis Prograis’ opponent Liam Paro suffering an injury that will rule him out of the June 17th card.
“We’re making an offer to Arnold Barboza and a Japanese fighter [Andy Hiraoka] who is in the top five of the [IBF 140-lb rankings]. There are a few others. Obviously Steve Sparks. I would have loved to get a shot, but he’s now on holiday.
“Literally got the news yesterday, but that show is full steam ahead. If it’s not Paro, it’s another opponent in the top ten,” said Hearn.