Abel Sanchez: Maul, anger, disrupt – Prograis strategy defeat boring Haney

By Jake Tiernan - 12/04/2023 - Comments

Trainer Abel Sanchez’s strategy for WBC light welterweight champion Regis Prograis to defeat Devin Haney is to maul and piss him off to prevent the former undisputed champion from turning their clash into a sleep-inducing bore-fest this Saturday on DAZN PPV.

Sanchez feels that Prograis’ best chance of winning is to disrupt Haney’s rhythm in any way possible by roughing him up and talking to him on the inside. Prograis (29-1, 24 KOs) talks of wanting to make it a “war,” but this is a different kind of war that Sanchez is talking about.

Prograis must disrupt Haney’s game

It’s more mental, and he thinks it could work on Haney (30-0, 15 KOs), who has never faced anyone who has used that approach against him.

Sanchez warns that if Prograis doesn’t make it a physical fight, Haney will make it boring like he always does by holding, moving and staying outside using his jab.

The famous trainer sees Haney as one of the many who can’t sell his product because of his boring fighting style. He puts Shakur Stevenson and Dmitry Bivol in the same boat as being unable to sell because of their style.

Haney will make it boring

“Regis is a good fighter, and he’ll give him some trouble, but Devin is more of a talent. It won’t be an exciting fight,” said Abel Sanchez to Fight Hub TV about this Saturday’s Devin Haney vs. Regis Prograis fight.

“It’ll be a win for Devin Haney. It may be a decision win, but it’ll be a win. I’ll say 116-112. He’ll [Haney] coast just because of his talent. He’s not going to take any chances. Absolutely,” said Sanchez when asked if Haney-Prograis will be a ‘boring fight.'”

Haney isn’t going to want to fight Prograis’ game because he’s underequipped to beat him at what he does best. Devin has no power, and that’s not going to change now that he’s fighting at 140. It’s only five lbs, and it’s not enough weight to make much of a difference in the power department.

“Prograis will try to make it a fight, but the other kid [Haney] is just going to hold and do the things he does so well,” said Sanchez. “He’s an exceptional talent, but he’s a [Dmitry] Bivol. Nobody wants to watch him.

“You have to sell the product. David [Benavidez] sold the product the other night [against Demetrius Andrade]. [Jermall] Charlo kind of sold the product, too. Terence Crawford kind of sold the product,” said Sanchez.

Haney is a Mayweather type of fighter, and his popularity stems from ultra-hardcore boxing creating interest by talking up his fights, creating a total wave that gathers in casuals who aren’t familiar with his fights.

They end up watching Haney and are often bored and disappointed, wondering what the fuss was all about. It was the same thing we saw with Mayweather.

His fights were always terribly boring, but the ultra-hardcore fans who enjoyed watching his fencing style would talk up a storm on social media and rope in clueless casuals, and they’d end up watching him. Afterward, they’d be furious, feeling stupid & ripped off, and would vow never to watch another Mayweather fight for as long as they lived.

“They went out and did what they had to do to convincingly win. Matias sold the product. Jose Benavidez Jr. sold the product kind [for his fight against Jermall Charlo on November 25th],” said Sanchez. “He went out and tried to do what he needed to do against a better bigger guy, but he tried to sell the product. Haney doesn’t sell the product to me.

“Shakur did not sell the product in his last fight [against Edwin De Los Santos on November 16th]. I don’t care about what kind of excuses you want to give me. Gervonta Davis sold the product.”

It’s not new that Shakur Stevenson made it a boring fight against De Los Santos because the Newark, New Jersey native has always been a boring fighter since his amateur days.

Top Rank likely signed him, thinking they’d get the same Mayweather effect, whereas hardcore fans who liked that style would get casuals interested. History would repeat itself, but obviously, fighters like that are ultimately bad for the sport; the casuals they turn away will likely never watch another boxing match after seeing Shakur fight.

“I always made sure in my gym with my guys, ‘We have to be able to sell the product,” said Sanchez. “If we can’t sell the product, the public ain’t going to buy it, and it’s every fight. Fight after fight after fight. It’s important to win, but if he can’t sell out his living room, what difference is that going to make?

“If you’re in this to make money. Unfortunately, we live in a morbid society. We want to watch somebody get hurt. After they’re hurt, fans say, ‘Oh, I hope he’s okay. I hope he’s not hurt,’ but that’s what you wanted to see. You wanted to see somebody get killed,” said Sanchez.

There are a handful of entertaining fighters in the 140-lb division, and unfortunately, Haney isn’t one of them.

Entertaining 140-pounders:

  • Subriel Matias
  • Shohjahon Ergashev
  • Regis Prograis
  • Liam Paro

The boring ones, besides Haney, would be Richardson Hitchins, Ryan Garcia, and Sandor Martin.

Prograis must rough up Haney

“Maul him,” said trainer Abel Sanchez on what WBC light welterweight champion Regis Prograis must do to stop challenger Devin Haney from making it boring. You got to maul him, disrupt his rhythm, and piss him off. I’m not saying to foul him but disrupt his rhythm. Making sure you’re doing things that he doesn’t expect.”

Above all, Prograis can’t afford to try and outbox Haney, as that would be foolish and likely cost him the fight. Haney’s crafty skills, mobility, and ability to tie up his opponents will give Prograis fits just like it did his last two opponents, Vasily Lomachenko and George Kambosos Jr.

Instead of Prograis playing Haney’s game, he’s got to rough him up, and anger him to the point where he’ll brawl like he did in his fight with Jorge Linares. Haney was badly hurt by Linares in that fight, and he would have lost of Jorge knew how to fight through a clinch.

“You can’t just be an ordinary fighter, not against a Haney,” said Sanchez. “Haney is going to have to be bothered mentally. It’s going to be very difficult to match him in skill because he’s a very skilled fighter, but if you maul him, disrupt his rhythm, mess with his head, and talk to him inside.

“You have to do things that are going to be effective that are going to benefit you,” said Sanchez.

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