Regis Prograis handling return home well, ready to focus on fight
To say that Regis Prograis has answered the call in his return to his hometown is an understatement.
Prograis has not turned down any opportunity to make media appearances, visit with adolescents or to simply smile for pictures since returning to New Orleans for his World Super Lightweight championship fight with fellow unbeaten Juan Jose Velasco (20-0, 12 KO’s) of Argentina Saturday at Lakefront Arena on ESPN.
Prograis visited boys at Milne Boys Home on Tuesday and on Wednesday, he invited media to come watch his workout.
Wednesday night, Prograis joined me for All Access on WGSO, 990 AM to talk about the week, to this point and what is to come.
“I am definitely worn out, man,” Prograis said. “I’m doing a whole lot of appearances with the media and the kids but it is all good. I’m still doing my regular stuff. I still have to exercise and workout. I’m definitely worn out but I think tomorrow, my day isn’t as busy so I will get a little break.”
Prograis was determined to fight in New Orleans, spurning the opportunity to make more money in bigger markets.
“So far, it’s turning out better than I thought it would, the support is crazy for us,” Prograis said. “Everybody is supporting me. We’re going to have some big Hollywood names, some big superstars in the audience from all aspects. Everybody is supposed to be coming to the fight. It’s turning out even bigger than I thought.”
Thursday is the press conference for the big fight and if Prograis is concerned at all, he certainly did not sound like it.
“From what I heard, he (Velasco) is a counter-puncher,” Prograis said. “I haven’t even really taken a look at him. I kind of like it like that. I don’t like to study my opponent. I just like to go in there and go off of my instincts. I can do so many different things. Everybody that really knows me knows I love to just fight. If I need to do some other stuff, I can do so.”
Prograis is not overlooking Velasco.
“I definitely respect him,” Prograis said. “Of course, I’m ignorant in that I know that he didn’t fight the top competition like I fought. He’s still a grown man with an unbeaten professional record. You definitely have to respect that.”
Prograis is not star-struck by knowing he will be on national television on ESPN Saturday.
“You think about it a little but at the same time, I really don’t care,” Prograis said. “I feel confident enough to go in there and see what he’s got. No matter what, I’ve still got to go and perform like I’ve been performing and do what I’ve got to do and don’t worry about TV and don’t worry about all the other stuff. I still have to go out there and do my job, no matter what.”
Prograis has a number of great fighters whom he has watched, admired and even copied, to a degree.
“I try to emulate a lot of fighters but what I’ve learned is that you have to be yourself no matter what,” Prograis said. “Of course (Mike) Tyson is the person I look up to the most because he was like indestructible at one point in time. I started learning more about the sport and looked at (Roberto) Duran, (Sugar) Ray Robinson and Marvin Hagler.”
There is one fighter Prograis has viewed more than any other.
“I probably watched more Pernell Whitaker fights than anything else because as a fellow southpaw, he was almost perfect,” Prograis said. “I can’t defend like Pernell but I know I can hit way harder than Pernell. I can fight like he did but most of the time, I don’t need to. I know what I can do. Most likely, if I hit somebody, I’m going to hurt him if I land a clean blow. Once I know somebody is hurt, my miller instinct kicks in. I’ll go ahead and try to get him out. We don’t get paid for overtime.”
Prograis is 21-0 with 18 knockouts. He has not gone the distance in a fight since August 7, 2015.
“The longest I’ve ever been is eight rounds,” Prograis said. “You are always going to get the doubters. They say I can’t go 10 rounds, I can’t go 12 rounds in a hard fight. The thing is, people don’t see what I do in training. I spar 12 rounds with three or four different people. Every round, I get stronger and I do better things. One day, I will be ready to show the world that I can go 12 rounds.”
Prograis is confident but is not making any predictions for Saturday night.
“Man, I kind of stay away from that,” Prograis said. “Of course, I’m super confident that I’m going to win, I never think I’m going to go in there and lose. I always know that it takes just one punch to change everything. I go out there and think I’m going to win, no matter what. I wish I was as brash as (Muhammad) Ali and predict the round but I’m not that.”
Prograis is really looking forward to climbing into the ring at Lakefront Arena.
“I used to go there and swim when I was a child,” Prograis said. “I went there to watch basketball as a couple of my partners played for UNO. It’s super cool. In a car, it’s like two minutes from where I grew up. It’s super special for me. They offered me the fight in Las Vegas or New York and I told them I want it in New Orleans. Vegas is a big place that every young fighter wants to fight coming up but I told them I’ve got to do it now, I’ve got to do it for my city, I’ve got to do it for New Orleans.”
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Born and raised in the New Orleans area, CCSE Owner and CEO Ken Trahan has been a sports media fixture in the community for nearly four decades. Ken started NewOrleans.com/Sports with Bill Hammack and Don Jones in 2008. In 2011, the site became SportsNOLA.com. On August 1, 2017, Ken helped launch CrescentCitySports.com. Having accumulated national awards/recognition (National Football Foundation, College…