Expectations were sky high for the Josh Taylor versus Regis Prograis junior welter consolidation match at O2 Arena in London, England on Saturday night.
And expectations were met…Rounds were tight, every one was, really, and after 12 rounds, drama wafted in the joint as the cards were tallied.
114-114, said one judge…115-113, and 117-112, for Taylor, whose power edge showed mightily in the beefy middle of the scrap.
Prograis had some luck moving, but his pop didn't put Taylor off, so the Scottish boxer had no fear of advancing, imposing his frame on the smaller hitter. Majority decision, Taylor got the nod, and the crowd seemed to agree.
Prograis also seemed OK with the decision; his right eye looked worse for wear and Taylor's right eye was even worse, it threatened to be closed up by the twelfth. After, Taylor said yes, he thought he won. He gave Regis props for being tough and solid. Prograis said, “The better man won tonight,” but he did think he won it, with better work down the stretch,
DAZN showed this clash of 140 pound aces, in this, the finale to the World Boxing Super Series' junior welterweight tournament.
Prograis came in 24-0, and claims New Orleans as his native land.
Taylor entered 15-0, and pockets of Scotland cheered his prospects prior to the start of round one.
This pairing was a rarity, in that two southpaws are at the top of the division heap.
In the first, Taylor looked to be the bigger man, he was confident, light on his feet, feinting, showing A grade hand speed. A couple left hooks landed clean on the American.
In the second, Regis worked comfortably up close. His body worked started to click.
In the third, the head and torso movement, combined with constant subtle movement worked for Prograis. Tight round, because Taylor landed a couple thudders.
In round four, Prograis started out strong and busy. Double jabs, then whacking to the body, good work rate from Regis. We saw Taylor once again seek to come up from beneath, use uppercut angles to connect.
In the fifth, landing the powerful shots maybe shaded the round for Taylor. Regis started off strong then his output dipped some.
In the sixth, Taylor's physicality started to pay higher dividends. He landed hooks, clean, backed Regis up, looked more confident and quite confident he could weather any launch.
In round 7, Taylor looked bigger and a bit better. he really didn't think Regis could hurt him, so he presded forward, stayed in the pocket, landed the harder shots. To round 8–we saw blood from Regis' nose dripping. He moved, and stuck, and pawed at his nose. But more movement served him, he was winning portions of the round. Regis also landed his best power shot. “Keep turning him,” trainer Bobby benton told Regis after.
To the ninth, we saw movement serving WBA champ Regis again.
Then IBF champ Taylor started forcing the issue in the last third, his power edge was evident. To round ten, we saw Taylor again advancing, Regis in retreat. The mouse on Taylor's right eye was not putting him off. An uppercut, then body work, the larger man was feeling in control.
In round 11, Taylor, age 28, continued to stalk, Regis, age 30, to retreat. The right eye of Taylor looked worse, would he be able to see out of it by the end? Prograis showed more energy, maybe he knew he might be down on those cards…Taylor came on in the last third, but Regis upped the game harder in the last half of the last third. Tight round, yet again.
In round 12—the left hand chopped at the bad eye. Both were in rumble mode, we went to the cards…