Like most folks, Regis Prograis wasn’t giving Teofimo Lopez much of a chance in his WBO super lightweight championship fight against Josh Taylor last Saturday.
But Lopez overcame his outside distractions to upset the previously unbeaten Taylor, upending the pecking order of the 140-pound division and then further compounding things Monday by announcing his retirement at age 25.
Prograis, making his hometown defense of his WBC title this Saturday in the Smoothie King Center against Danielito Zorrilla, isn’t buying that last part.
“Teo just wants the money — and he deserves it,” said Prograis, whose only loss was to Taylor in 2019. “Maybe he and I can have a super fight so he can make a lot of money — and so can I.”
First, of course, Prograis has to defeat the unranked Zorrilla.
If he does, there are a lot of possibilities, including a bout against unified lightweight champion Devin Haney, who has made noise about moving up to 140 and will be in attendance Saturday.
Jack Catterall, who many felt deserved a victory against Taylor in their 2022 meeting, would be next in line with Lopez meeting someone else before finally facing Prograis next year.
That’s good advice during the current heat wave, although the 2 gallons of water Prograis is consuming each day might seem a little excessive.
But Prograis is following the advice of his sports nutritionist, Declan Walsh.
“Regis does everything I ask him to do,” Walsh said. “If you’re disciplined and smart, you can maintain your weight as you get older (Prograis is 34), and Regis can fight at 140 for the rest of his career if he chooses.”
After Friday’s weigh-in, Prograis can chow down on his mother’s shrimp pasta.
Mark Davis’ family is from Baton Rouge, but his bout against New Orleanian Jeremy Hill will be the first in Louisiana for the lightweight who grew up in the Cleveland area.
Davis started 17-0, but after his first loss in 2014, he didn’t fight again until last year.
Trainer Tim Van Newkirk explained that Davis, now 36, decided to pursue a career as a rap artist and took a break from boxing that lasted eight years.
Hill (18-3, 11 KOs) said he knew little of Davis’ background, but he is happy to be on the card against anyone because of the exposure it offers. That’s especially true since the Hill-Davis bout now will lead off the primary DAZN streaming broadcast of the card at 7 p.m.
“It helps get my name out there,” said Hill, who is fighting for the third time in 2023. “And it helps get me seen by promoters. Now I have to get out and show what I can do.”
Welterweights Shakhram Giyasov and Harold Calderon bring a combined record of 40-0 to their bout, which will immediately precede the Prograis-Zorrilla fight. It is listed as a WBA contender elimination bout as Giyasov (13-0, 9 KOs) is ranked No. 5 and Calderon (27-0, 15 KOs) is No. 10 by that organization.
Neither fighter has been that active as of late. Giyasov, a silver medalist in the 2016 Olympics from Uzbekistan, hasn’t been in the ring since May 2022. Calderon, a native of Miami, last fought in September 2022.
“Giyasov has wanted to pick his spots,” Matchroom matchmaker Kevin Rooney said. “Calderon has had a lot of fights in the Miami area, and this is his chance to make an impact.
“That makes this very compelling.”