Regis Prograis: Of course I think I can beat Jose Ramirez … Me and Mikey Garcia are the best at 140
NEW YORK — Few observers in the Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden are likely to have scrutinized Jose Ramirez’s performance closer than Regis Prograis.
Prograis was in New York City to scout his next opponent, which turns out to be Ramirez after the Californian outslugged Amir Imam to a unanimous decision and the vacant WBC junior welterweight title.
“I think (Ramirez) looked good. He got hit with a lot of clean punches I think, but at the same time he ducked down, he made it a good fight,” said Prograis (21-0, 18 knockouts), who won the interim WBC title a week earlier.
“Of course I think I could beat him. He got hit with some clean shots, but I’m a left hander. I feel like I punch a little bit harder than Ramirez, and I’m more accurate than Imam.”
Prograis, like Ramirez, is known for his aggression, which he put on display against Julius Indongo, blasting him to the canvas four times in two rounds on March 9. In the fight prior to that, he finished the unbeaten Joel Diaz Jr. in the same number of rounds.
Bob Arum, who promotes Ramirez, said he had spoken with Prograis’ promoter, Lou DiBella, and hopes to put the two on the same card on ESPN in June or July to give more exposure to Prograis before matching the two later in the year. He says there’s an outdoor baseball stadium at which they can do such a card in Central California, where Ramirez is very popular, and he expects to attract 25,000 for such an event.
“The farmers up in Central Valley will kill me if we don’t have his first title defense in that area,” said Arum.
After Arum had finished speaking with reporters at ringside, Prograis introduced himself to the promoter and expressed his interest in making the fight as soon as possible.
“I just told Bob, ‘Look Bob, I’m next. Are you gonna give me the fight?’ He was like ‘yeah.’ They’ll see what they’re gonna do. It was a cool little interaction with Bob,” said Prograis.
“He didn’t really know who I was — you know Bob’s kinda old. When I told him who I was and the media told him, ‘That’s the interim challenger, that’s who’s fighting next,’ he said OK. So we’ll see.”
Ramirez-Prograis figures to be the most exciting fight that could be made at 140 pounds after Terence Crawford vacated his undisputed championship to move up to 147 pounds, but Prograis is already looking to even bigger names within the division.
“I feel there’s two names at 140: Regis Prograis and Mikey Garcia. I think in the next 18 months, that’ll probably be one of the biggest fights in boxing,” said Prograis.
Ryan Songalia is a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and can be reached at [email protected].