Zepeda-Prograis Potential Fight of the Year?

By Miguel Maravilla

WBC top-ranked super lightweights, #1 contender Jose “Chon” Zepeda (35-2, 27 KOs) of La Puente, California, and number two contender Regis Prograis (27-1, 22 KOs) of New Orleans, Louisiana met early this week in Los Angeles for their final press conference. Prograis Zepeda, square off this Saturday night for the vacant WBC super lightweight title at the Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California, live on Pay per view.

“Both of us need it bad. We are the top 2, 140 pounders and with the most knockouts. There is dynamite and we have heart, it’s going to be fight of the year,” Zepeda told Fightnews.com®. “This is the time. It’s my third opportunity for a world title. I am 100 percent ready and focused,” Jose Zepeda added.

“I feel awesome. It’s been a long camp. It’s days away and I am ready. I train so hard, that’s why I am so confident that I will be victorious. I feel he does not train like me,” Regis Prograis told Fightnews.com®.

For Zepeda, he is coming off a spectacular first round knockout over Josue Vargas in Vargas’s backyard, New York City’s the Theater at Madison Square Garden. This will be Zepeda’s third crack at a world title as he came up short in his bids. Suffering a shoulder injury in his first world title fight in 2015 against then champion Terry Flanagan for WBO super lightweight title. Zepeda couldn’t continue in that fight prompting the stoppage. In his second attempt, Zepeda was short once again dropping a majority decision to WBC super lightweight champion Jose Ramirez in 2019 in a very competitive fight. Now he will get his third shot at the vacant WBC title against Prograis.

“Regis Prograis is going to be fighting the best version of Jose Zepeda,” Zepeda said.

Despite being involved in a car crash on Monday, Zepeda will move forward with the fight as he wasn’t injured nor fazed.

“I had a little accident. Nothing bad or serious. I am ready,” Zepeda on his car accident.

“I was scared that the fight might not happen, but I got word he was OK. He said he’s 100% after the car accident, so I don’t want to hear any excuses after the fight,” Prograis said.

Prograis won in his last fight, scoring a sixth-round knockout over Tyrone Mckenna as that fight took place in Dubai. His only defeat came at the hands of the now undisputed champion Josh Taylor back in 2019 in his bid for the WBC title. Since then, Prograis has won three straight fights.

“I respect Zepeda, but I feel I am the better fighter. I’m just confident that I will win,” Prograis said.

In a fight that has all the ingredients to be a Fight of the Year candidate, here is why.

Fighting Styles

Neither fighter takes a step back and they like to engage. Each has good qualities and technique but naturally they like to go head-to-head, as both Zepeda and Prograis have been involved in fight of the year candidates. Zepeda scored a devastating knockout over Ivan Baranchyk in 2020 earning him a knockout of the year in what was a thrilling fight of the year. For Prograis, he himself is not one to shy away from the action, his fight with Josh Taylor is an example of what he brings to the ring.

“Prograis is going to be very surprised by my power and speed. We’re both going to fight the way we’ve been fighting. He hits hard, I hit hard and both of us are desperate to win which will make for a great fight. Both of us have a lot of heart, and we both are looking for a real fight to settle this. I had two previous opportunities to win a world title and I truly believe this is the best version of me for this fight.” Zepeda said.

“I know what type of fighter he is. He is going to come to fight and so am I,” Prograis said.

World Title Fight

The vacant WBC super lightweight title will be on the line, pitting the number one and number two ranked challengers in the world. This won’t be the first time; the two fighters will be fighting for the title as Prograis held the WBA title before relinquishing it to Josh Taylor in a thrilling fight of the year candidate. Zepeda hopes the third time is the charm in his third attempt at the world title. Displayed in the center on stage, the green WBC belt stood out at the press conference as Zepeda and Prograis expressed their desire to win the title Saturday night.

“This is a third time fighting for a world title for me and that’s why I keep saying this is the time for me to get my world title belt,” Zepeda on his third world title shot. “I really believe it’s now or never,” Zepeda added.

“That’s what we all want, to become world champions. For me, I’m just glad I’m getting the opportunity to fight for the world title again. Being a two-time world champion in the 140lb. division is my focus now,” Prograis on fighting for the world title once again.

The War Grounds

Formerly known as the Home Depot Center or Stub Hub Center, the Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California has earned the reputation of hosting some of the best and memorable fights since opening back in 2005. Hosting many exciting fights and earning the moniker of the “War Grounds.” Prograis and Zepeda have promised to give the fans their money’s worth as both have a fan-friendly style and suitable for this recent iconic boxing venue.

“It’s nice to fight for the world title at home, I’m always fighting on the road. It’s extra motivation for me to fight in my backyard. It’s going to be a great night for boxing,” Zepeda promised.

“I feel I will dominate there will be some explosiveness. I will go out there and win,”

The Fighters

Each fighter is hungry for the world title and ready to prove they belong at the top. Zepeda expects this to be a very tough fight and is willing to do what it takes to win. As for Prograis he expressed high confidence that he will win this fight and feels he is overall the better skilled fighter. However, Prograis wants to regain his championship status and get in the mix with Josh Taylor and Jose Ramirez as Zepeda looks for the same.

“It’s going to be fireworks both of us are slick, if we need to bang, we need to bang but at the end of the day that is what’s going to happen,” Zepeda stated. “We need this fight and I believe. It’s going to be huge for whoever wins,”

“I just feel like I’m on another level than him, skill wise. I have more experience and I’ve been at the top already. If you compare strength, power, chin, stamina, speed, defense, I feel like I win every time. Every category, it’s me. He’s been hurt, he’s been dropped a bunch of times. I’ve never been hurt, and I destroy people.” Prograis expressed. “I’m going to dominate, and I’m not worried about anything else.”

“You have two big punchers in there. You can say fight of the year style wise, but I feel I am going to dominate,” Prograis said.

Winner: There is no question that the fans will be the winners. It’s a toss-up.

Zepeda concluded the interview by telling me, “Fight of the year.”

“You have two big punchers in there. You can say fight of the year style wise, but I feel I am going to dominate,” Prograis said. “You will get some good exchanges, but there will be domination, I will dominate this fight,”

Follow Miguel on Twitter @MigMaravilla

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  • First of all, Happy Thanksgiving to everyone here. I hope that everyone is doing well and healthy and that you are spending time with loved ones, even the crazy relative/s. With inflation as high as it is, calories have been cancelled so eat with wreckless abandonment.

    As for this fight, I think it does have the potential for FOTY. Can’t wait. Picking Prograis TKO 11th round from a body shot.

  • Prograis by unanimous decision and he comes off the floor to do it. I feel like the Fight of the Year post from FightNews is to try to sell the PPV. I’m not buying this nor am I buying Crawford’s fight in December. The Crawford fight is ESPN level and the Prograis vs Zepeda fight is Showtime level. It’s a shame that either of these fights are being classified as PPV.

  • This could be an excellent fight and probably will be! That said least as of now…I do not intend to order it. I know the landscape is changing and boxing is becoming more of a niche market but still…I do not see these fighters as PPV. For me a PPV needs at least one of the parties to have reached a certain star level attraction. Even the first Gatti-Ward was not PPV. I know we are in different times. I also know this will probably be a more entertaining match then Spence-Thurman if it happens. But being PPV is more then that. Spence and Thurman are established names in the sport. Especially Spence. Prograis and Zepeda imo have not reached that star level status. I can see either one being passable as a PPV dance partner for someone like Spence…but neither one of them from what I feel has reached that star level of attraction to be a main event in a PPV with no A list star.

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