Devin Haney (31-0, 15 KOs) outboxed WBC light welterweight champion Regis Prograis (29-2, 24 KOs) to win a beautiful twelve round unanimous decision last Saturday night at the Chase Center in San Francisco, California.
Haney’s skills created a stylistic nightmare for Prograis last Saturday night, and he wasn’t willing to be aggressive as he needed to win.
Haney took advantage of poor decision-making by Prograis to win by the scores 120-107, 120-107, and 120-107.
The fight was so one-sided in Haney’s favor that the crowd, which was pro-Haney, didn’t have much to get excited about because it was too one-sided to the point where they might have felt sorry for Prograis.
He didn’t look like he belonged in the same ring with Devin, who played hit & retreat the entire fight, rarely staying in the pocket. Prograis’ hands & feet were too slow to make a fight of it.
Devin looked like the version of Floyd Mayweather Jr., who fought Carlos Baldomir in November 2006. Mayweather fought in the same defensive way that Haney did, and the Las Vegas crowd hated it.
The fans at the Chase Center in San Francisco, many of them not accustomed to seeing live boxing, were more forgiving of Haney, making it a dull fight, so they didn’t boo him the way Mayweather was by the hardcore boxing fans during his clash against Baldomir.
Haney did look slightly more powerful at 140 than he’d been at 135, but not by much. Moving up five pounds didn’t turn Haney into a knockout guy, and he wasn’t willing to take chances to throw more than a couple of shots at a time for fear of being countered by one of Prograis’s slow but hard shots.
Haney’s skills were on another level
“The scorecards were on point, and honestly, it wasn’t that far off from what we said was going to happen in the fight except for the knockdown,” said Chris Algieri to ProBox TV about the outcome of the Devin Haney vs. Regis Prograis contest.
It was an easy fight for the judges to score because Haney was hitting and then retreating. Devin was not interested in taking any necessary hits from Prograis, leaving him few opportunities to land much of anything.
The 35-year-old Regis landed less than 40 punches in the fight, and the reason for that is Haney getting out of harm’s way after landing one or two punches. It was effective.
“Devin is on another level in terms of boxing skills, and the way their skills matched up, it wasn’t a good look for Regis. You got to give it to Bill [Haney], whether it’s in terms of training a guy to be ready for one specific fight or picking the right opponent,” said Algieri.
“We talked about this a lot leading up to the fight, and in terms of the stylistic match-up, it wasn’t great for Regis. But Haney made zero mistakes tonight. He capitalized on every opportunity that he possibly could have, and he also showed new strength and power at 140.”
The fight would have been more interesting to watch if Prograis was in his early 20s, not his mid-30s, having fought poorly in his last fight against Danielito Zorrilla, and not looking like the same fighter he once was after his war with Josh Taylor in 2019.
Prograis hasn’t performed at the same level since. His give-and-take battle against Jose Zepeda last year added to the wear & tear.
So, while it’s true that Haney looked good, you also have to look at who he was facing and factor in that he chose to fight a guy in his mid-30s rather than take a risk by facing someone like IBF light welterweight champion Surbiel Matias.
If you don’t think the Haneys purposefully selected Prograis due to his age and his recent poor performance against Danielito Zorrilla, you’re incredibly naive. Prograis was chosen for a reason.
This was to make Haney look good and to increase his chances of winning after his controversial victory in his last fight against Vasily Lomachenko.
“We kind of talked about that with him going up that it was going to increase his strength. But it also increased his pop and his power too. Regis had no answer. Once he got dropped early on, that was pretty much the end of the fight,” said Algieri.
Prograis couldn’t follow instructions
“Even the intelligence in the corner. You could see in Regis’ corner they were telling him to cut off the ring, but he just wasn’t doing it,” said Paulie Malignaggi. “I can’t take away any credit from Haney. This was brilliant in all facets of the fight.”
Prograis didn’t have the chin or the defense to fight more aggressively in the way that he needed to turn the contest into a grueling one for Haney. If Regis had the ability to take shots without getting hurt and better defense, Haney would have had to more more to escape punishment.
“I don’t think at any point in Regis’ career this would have been different,” said Algieri. “He has slow feet. He just looked too slow tonight, and I don’t know if he was ever a fast guy. He has quick hands on the inside, but he never got into the position where he could be quick.
“Regis is not a good guy when he has to be offensive, when he has to be aggressive when he’s going forward on the front foot. He doesn’t jab. He’s not super explosive on the way in. We saw that in his previous fight with Zorrilla. He couldn’t cut off the ring properly, and when you’re fighting a guy with such good lateral movement.”
Prograis was a better fighter four years ago than he is now, and he would given Haney something to think about. It’s unfair to Prograis to say that he was always slow and would have never done well against Haney.
If you take Haney and age him, put him through ten years of wars, and then throw him in with a younger fighter at the at 35-years-old, he would have similar problems that Regis did.
It’s called age and the wear & tear of a long career. Haney looked good last Saturday night, but he wasn’t fighting a young guy. His promoters and his dad, Bill, were opportunistic by picking an older fighter.
That’s what Haney’s management has been doing for him. When they have picked a younger fighter, it was a guy George Kambosos.
Haney’s recent opposition:
- Regis Prograis: 35-years-old
- Vasily Lomachenko: 35
- George Kambosos Jr
- Joseph Diaz
- Jorge Linares: 38
- Yuriorkis Gamboa: 40
“On top of being very good laterally, the guy is really good straight ahead with his jab, straight right hand. It was all night long, lined up for the shots all night long,” Algieri said about Haney.
Regis lacked a delivery system
“Haney’s ability to stop on a dime and fire was just too much for Regis. Too slow, too slow-footed,” said Algieri. “Yeah, he has power, but you got to get there. But as Teddy Atlas said, you might have a nuclear weapon, but you’ve got to have a delivery system, and Regis did not have that tonight.
Prograis couldn’t get to Haney because he was getting out of the way quickly, using his pull-back style to keep from taking shots. He hadn’t fought guys that have retreated after every punch the way Haney did, so it wasn’t equipped for that style.
“He could not get his power into position to do any kind of damage, and Haney did a perfect job of disarming him all night long, whether it was his footwork with his lateral movement, whether it was his jab,” said Algieri.
“I think once he was able to hurt Regis, Regis’ mind changed, and he said, ‘I need to be way more careful,’ and that changed his mindset and his strategy from there on out.”
Prograis kept trying to land, but Haney’s movement increased in the last three rounds. He was literally running from Regis in the 11th and 12th, and there’s no way that he could get to Haney with him moving that much.
It would have taken a fighter that was good at chasing down his opponents for him to have gotten to Haney, as he was running out the clock.
“He was no longer willing to go for broke, which is what he needed to do, especially late in the fight. He had to go forward and bomb away, but he kept getting hurt,” said Algieri about Regis.
“So when you have a guy that can hurt you from the outside, who is out-boxing, you have to be aggressive where you put yourself in a position to get hurt; Regis couldn’t do that. He wasn’t willing to do that.
“At 140, he’s a different animal. Matias is an animal for sure, but I really don’t think they’re in the same place,” said Algieri about his belief that Haney beats Subriel Matias.