ESPN results: Regis Prograis stops Juan Jose Velasco
Regis “Rougarou” Prograis took full advantage of his homecoming, Saturday night, dropping Juan Jose Velasco three times before forcing the opposing corner to throw in the towel, in the eighth round. Scheduled for 12, the junior welterweight contest was the main event of an ESPN telecast, from the Lakefront Arena, in New Orleans, Louisiana.
“This dude came in unknown and he’s gonna go down to the world as being known,” proclaimed Prograis in the post-fight interview, with ESPN’s Bernardo Osuna. “I’m not gonna lie; he was one of my toughest fights. I kept dropping him; he kept getting back up. He was super-tough, really strong but I pushed through and I couldn’t lose in my hometown.”
Prograis, 22-0 (19), who holds the interim WBC junior welterweight title, started off the fight eating a few flush right hands from Velasco but there never was panic from the consensus top contender of the division. You’d even be hard-pressed to find a moment in which Prograis took a step backward in the fight, and, once he started to apply pressure, Velasco slowly unraveled, thanks to a systematic breakdown of his body. With both hands, Prograis crept inside with ripping body shots in the second round, and, before long, the southpaw started setting traps with his jab to land a straight power left hand that would bop Velasco into a momentary retreat. Prograis was willing to stand toe-to-toe with Velasco but his bobbing and weaving made it difficult for the Argentinean to land another meaningful shot the rest of the way. Near the end of the fifth, a shot to the solar plexus curled Velasco up on the canvas in pain, and, after just beating referee Laurence Cole’s count, he survived the remaining half-minute to get a break from a stalking Prograis.
Velasco, 20-1 (12), spent the rest of the fight trying to muster up a solid combination when he could but Prograis’ composure produced a far sharper fighter in every single aspect. As the consistent body work added up, a left to the liver dropped him a second time with a minute to go in the seventh round. Prograis was in a groove offensively, as Velasco was showing more retreat, and Cole may’ve even missed another knockdown by round’s end but he showed no interest in stopping a fight that could’ve been stopped. In the opening seconds of the eighth, Velasco was flattened a third time by a left hand, and still Cole gave him a count and watched him shake his head to his corner. Finally Velasco’s corner stepped onto the apron to give Cole the heads up, and the fight was stopped right as Prograis landed a right hand that stumbled Velasco into the ropes.
“I already know what I can do; I just want to show the world what I can do,” Prograis, 29, said afterward. As for what’s next, Prograis will enter the World Boxing Super Series 140-pound tournament this fall, and it presents the opportunity for him to become a unified titleholder, should he win it all. That would not only help clear up a fragmented division of belts; it would be the first step of his plan to succeed the former champion who vacated them all.
“One day, me and (WBC junior welterweight titleholder) Jose Ramirez will probably fight,” said Prograis. “That’s definitely a fight I wanted right now but we got different paths right now. I’m gonna go into the World Boxing Super Series, hopefully pick up two belts. If he fights (WBO beltholder) Maurice Hooker, most likely, he’ll pick up that belt. Then it’s two unified champions fighting against each other for all four belts. That can be a real huge fight.”
In the opening bout of the ESPN telecast, Teofimo Lopez dropped William Silva three times en route to a sixth round technical knockout win. The lightweight contest was scheduled for 10 rounds, and for a regional WBC trinket.
Lopez, 10-0 (8), exhibited an innate desire to not only entertain with his tenacious, offensive style and power but also celebrate. A perfect counter left hook to the chin dropped Silva hard to the canvas, toward the end of the opening round, and Lopez soon explored more opportunities to make the crowd wonder. Lopez jumped and punched in one moment in the next round, and, although it was pointless, it left one wondering what he was going to do next, while beating up his Brazilian opponent. Silva, 31, had his nose bloodied by that second round, and, although Lopez’s pressing style gave him opportunity to exploit, the return fire was too quick, too powerful, too precise.
Silva, 25-2 (14), had a hellish fifth round of punishment before getting dropped in the final seconds to end the bout. The 31-year-old showed great toughness, getting up against a confident young talent, who exuded delight, impaling shots on him. Fifteen seconds into the fifth, Lopez swiftly dropped him with a shot to the head for a knockdown, and referee Bruce McDaniel immediately waved it off. Lopez proceeded to hit an imaginary home run, circle the ring, dance, then do a backflip for the crowd, who loved every second of it.
“The ring celebration, I was talking to my father, and we said, ‘Let’s do celebrations like in football,'” said Lopez afterward. “Terrell Owens, he did the popcorn (poured onto his own face) and things like that. Those are the things I want to bring to the boxing world but I can’t bring popcorn out of the stands. It was a home run. Now it’s time to collect. It’s the beginning of ‘The Takeover.’ My statement was ‘I am not here to play games. Everything I say, I do. I talk the talk and I walk the walk.'”