Stars typically have above average skills and then that something extra, in their manner, in their behavior, which helps lift them up another notch.
You saw that “something extra” in Regis Prograis when, as he was looking at the man he’d knocked down trying to collect his senses on Friday evening on “ShoBox,” he leaned against the ropes with a Louisianan nonchalance..and then given the all clear signal he went right at the ex champ and went about his business with clear-eyed directness. This emeffer was going to be stopped…
It started in round one with a Julius Indongo that I think illustrated the old adage “the legs are the first to go.” Body shots, accurate and intense, strafed him, backed him up, and a jab sent him to the mat. Prograis already knew, I think, that he owned this dude, really, really early on.
To round two, a pure demolition session… A left hand from the winner was thrown with an air of complete confidence, the sorts of which you’d see when a clueless sort, maybe bold on booze, challenges someone who has skilled hands and the skilled type kinda reluctantly gets into fight mode, and then just goes to town. This sort of interaction sometimes plays out on Bourbon Street…
Then, check it out. The ref administers a count and Prograis (21-0, 18 KOs) hangs back, arms draped on the ropes, legs together, in a “just chilling’ and waiting’ to meet up with my crew posture. Indongo gets up, and Prograis goes to him, quickly but not in a rush, and throws a crumpled left hand. Down again goes Indongo (22-2; age 35; from Namibia). This time, Prograis does a dance, allows himself to get into Mardi Gras mode. That ref, a Brit, Ian John-Lewis, proved himself to be a bit too brave with another man’s body, and let Indongo continue. Prograis did what he’s paid to do, and walked over, sort of strutted, and threw a game-over left hand. Finally, the ref pulled the plug.
And finally, a star was born. Now, of course, if we think about it, we know some of what Prograis knows, that he’s been at this a loooong time. He debuted as a pro in 2012. And he’s known he could get to this place and beyond for awhile. But the comprehension of how good he is and how good he can play out to be is now better understood by more of the masses.
And even more will be on board, looking to see for themselves what the hubbub is about for the guy from Louisiana who lives in Texas and comes to bang with a throwback type of directness. He will now likely face the winner of next week’s Amir Imam (ranked No. 1 WBC) and Jose Ramirez (ranked No. 3 WBC) matchup for the currently WBC 140 belt, now open.
Prograis isn’t into false humility after getting here. “I had to put on a show for SHOWTIME, for Deadwood, and for all my fans in Houston and New Orleans and just the whole division,” said Prograis after the Indongo win. “I had to put on a show for everybody. I am now the man at 140.”
There will still be some in-ring debate. “I think now boxing fans know that this guy deserves to be rated among the top three or four in the 140-pound division,” said Steve Farhood, the Showtime analyst/historian.
My three cents: Throw Prograis into the mix for guys you think could MAYBE challenge Mikey Garcia. I think he can do more than challenge him..