Wednesday, December 07, 2022  |


Regis Prograis caps homecoming party with stoppage of Juan Velasco in Round 8

Junior welterweight Regis Prograis (L) vs. Juan Jose Velasco. Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank

Regis Prograis is colorful, and he certainly didn’t spare any hue in his homecoming Saturday night at the Lakefront Arena on the University of New Orleans campus, as the main event of the Top Rank Boxing show on ESPN. Prograis, originally from New Orleans though living now in Houston, Texas, had a ring entrance that came with a touch of Mardi Gras, complete with beads and masks, and anyone who ever played LSU football seemed to be in his entourage. (VIEW PHOTO GALLERY)

Then it was up to Prograis to uphold the carnival atmosphere in the ring — which he did by dropping previously undefeated Juan Jose Velasco three times in a scheduled 12-round junior welterweight bout before the one-sided affair was finally stopped at 1:59 of the eighth round.

Prograis (22-0, 19 knockouts) called Velasco (20-1, 12 KOs) one of his toughest fights, though “Rougarou” made it look pretty easy.

“I kept dropping [Velasco] and he kept getting back up,” said Prograis, 29, who’s never gone beyond nine rounds in a fight and extended his stoppage streak to seven straight. “He was super strong. It’s not about me knowing what I can, I already know what I can do. I just wanted to show the world what I can do.

Photo by Mikey Williams – Top Rank

“Most people say I can’t go this, I can’t go 12 rounds. Maybe not, but I can go eight rounds, I can go nine rounds if I need to. I already know what I can do. It’s about the world can see I can be in a tough fight and I push through it. I already have my plans, I’m going to the World Boxing Super Series, but if opportunity presents itself, maybe the [Manny] Pacquiao fight. He says he might come down to 140.

“I would love to have that fight. Or, if [Vasiliy] Lomachenko wants to come up to 140, I’ll take that fight also. But, right now, my plans are to go to the World Boxing Super Series.”

Prograis landed 131 of 303 of his power punches (43 percent). By the third round, Velasco’s left eye was swelling. Prograis kept boring in and connected with a left in the last 30 seconds of the third, then closed with a right uppercut that jolted Velasco. Through three, Prograis looked like he was in control.

In the fourth, Prograis landed a straight left to Velasco’s face. But it was fifth that Prograis imposed his will on Velasco. He landed a left to the midsection that left Velasco writhing on the canvas on his side. In the seventh, Prograis downed Velasco again in the seventh with a wide left to the liver, this time leaving Velasco rolling on the canvas. Between the seventh and eighth rounds, Velasco told his corner that he didn’t want to continue.

In the eighth, it showed. Referee Laurence Cole called the second knockdown in the round a slip, though it was very clear that Velasco didn’t want any more and was looking for a way to get out. His corner provided it at 1:59 of the eighth when they stopped the fight after a third knockdown from another left to the liver.

In the co-feature, Teofimo “Gordo” Lopez (10-0, 8 KOs) looked fantastic. The 20-year-old lightweight who lives in Las Vegas stopped 31-year-old Brazilian William Silva (25-2, 14 KOs) for the first time in Silva’s career at :15 of the sixth round.

Lopez put on a show — and then some.

He bludgeoned Silva from the first second, knocking down Silva for the first time in his career with a left hook in the first round, and dropped Silva a second time in the closing seconds of the fifth, again with a left hook to the jaw. Lopez was confident, calculating, and finally ended it in the sixth, using a left hook a third time.

Photo by Mikey Williams – Top Rank

That’s when referee Bruce McDaniel, possibly letting the fight go one round longer than it should have, waved it over.

“I’m a little upset, because I said it wouldn’t go past five rounds, and it went a little over that,” said Teofimo Lopez Sr., Gordo’s father and trainer. “Teofimo hurt his right hand in the first round. It doesn’t look that bad, but we’re going to get it checked. Teofimo told me that he had hurt his hand when he hit [Silva] on top of his head.”

Gordo took his time and broke Silva down. It had been a tough week for him emotionally, since he lost his beloved dog on Sunday.

“I’m most pleased with the fact that the fight is over. I didn’t want to fight this week,” Teofimo admitted. “I lost my dog. He passed away on Sunday. It killed me. I was crying, even when we landed here in New Orleans. But I had to put on my poker face, put it aside and handle my business.

“I was most pleased with how I had fun and entertained the crowd. I don’t think anything really needs to be tightened up, except the opponents; the tougher the better for me. If you want to see more of Teofimo Lopez like that, give me better opponents. I want to get in two more times by the end of the year. We’ll see what happens and we’ll go from there.”