Paulie Malignaggi notes that WBC light welterweight champion Regis Prograis is understandably “bitter” that he’s being “phased out” & “replaced” by the younger fighter Devin Haney in their fight tonight at the Chase Center in San Francisco.
DAZN has placed the 24-year-old challenger Haney (30-0, 15 KOs) in front of 34-year-old Prograis’ name in the promotion of the fight, making it clear that he’s being replaced and that a victory tonight is a forgone conclusion.
Malignaggi relates to what’s going on with an older fighter being replaced by the network platform before the fights even happened, as he says the natural progression of the sport where younger fighters replace the older guys.
He says it happened to him back in June 2013 when he lost a controversial 12 round split decision to the then-popular young “hotshot” Adrien Broner.
Haney still needs to win the fight tonight against Prograis (29-1, 24 KOs), but it’s pretty clear that if the rounds are close, they’ll go to Devin, and Regis will probably need a knockout to win.
Bitterness can motivate Prograis
“When you feel like the business & sport is sort of phasing you out and replacing you with the next hotshot in line, which is part of the sport essentially. It happens and it’s going to keep on happening,” said Paulie Malignaggi to ProBox TV about the old lion Regis Prograis being bitter about being replaced by the younger fighter, Devin Haney.
Prograis is being treated like a typical older fighter, being phased out by a younger guy. He’s like he’s a bad machine that no longer functions well, so it must be replaced by a new model, one with a Mayweather-esque style, and who has a charismatic father that creates interest for him because he can’t talk.
“When you find yourself in that situation, it can make you a bit bitter and make you a bit pissed off. I think you’re seeing that in Prograis. He’s starting to realize that this is sort of happening in the business now when you’re 34, not 24, and people aren’t looking at you with that same future, and they’re looking for the guy that has the future,” said Malignaggi.
What makes it especially bad is that Prograis looked great before his last fight against Danielito Zorrilla, but suddenly after one poor performance, he’s not obsolete and ready for the scrap heap, and DAZN has got the replacement in 25-year-old Haney.
Regis being pushed out
“In this particular case, they’re looking at Haney as the guy with the future. As you get older, you start to think about what you’ve given to the sport and what you’ve sacrificed and put into the sport. So, you’ve done things in the sport that have left their mark,” said Malignaggi.
“So, when you get to a certain age, you get kind of aggravated when you’re the guy that is getting pushed out, even as the champion. I kind of relate to this when I fought Adrien Broner where he was the young hotshot and the next one in line.”
Malignaggi clearly deserved the victory over Broner, but they gave it to AB, the younger guy, who was seen as the next Mayweather at the time. Sadly, it didn’t work out because Broner lost his next fight against Marcos Maidana, took a lot of punishment in the process, and was never the same fighter again.
“I was the champion going in, but it was mostly about Adrien’s coronation at welterweight instead of the fact that I was defending the title,” said Malignaggi. “It did charge me up; it did motivate me. Prograis sees that as well, and I think you start to see the things you’ve accomplished, and you start to think, ‘What am I, wood?'”
Malignaggi fought really well in that fight against Broner, but two of the judges gave it to the younger, more popular fighter, and was never a rematch. Could we see the same thing happen with Haney? Probably.
Even if the judges give Haney a controversial decision tonight, he’s not going to beat fighters like Subriel Matias, Teofimo Lopez or Gervonta Davis. He probably beat Ryan Garcia and Rolando ‘Rolly’ Romero, but that’s not saying much.
“With me, I’d won a world championship two times and beaten guys like Juan Diaz, and I was still fighting at a high level for a lot of years already. I think Prograis has also been fighting at a high level for a lot of years,” said Malignaggi.
“All the years that you put in at a world class level. ‘What am I, wood? Am I going to step aside?” Malignaggi said. “I’m not going to step aside.’ So, I think having that chip on your shoulder is important if you’re Prograis because when you get older, you’re life sort of takes on different compartments.”
If Prograis treats this as motivation, being phased out the way he is, he’ll fight harder and win tonight or at least appear to win. Haney looked very beatable in his last fight, winning a controversial decision last May against Vasily Lomachenko.
“Sometimes your married, sometimes you have all the business adventures. So, you need to put boxing as the main focus,” said Malignaggi. “You need the extra motivation, and this kind of thing does it [being phased out]. I’ll go back to my experience in the Broner fight. That was the same thing.
“By the time I fought Adrien Broner, I had outside-the-ring ventures. I had a lot of things going on. Boxing wasn’t always a priority in my life. I can sort of see the similarities here with Prograis, and that’s why he has the chip on his shoulder, and he’s got a right to.”
If Prograis has a chip on his shoulder tonight, and refuses to give in, he’s got a chance of winning and proving people wrong.
“Haney’s name is first on the bill, and he’s the challenger. That in itself is already disrespect to him, and if you’re the champion, you’re really going to fill the disrespect,” said Malignaggi about Prograis.