By Jim Dower
World Boxing Council interim light welterweight champion Regis Prograis weighed in at 139.8 pounds on Friday for his defense on Saturday night against unbeaten Juan Jose Velasco on Top Rank Boxing at the Lakefront Arena of New Orleans, Louisiana. The Argentinian Velasco, 31, weighed in at the light welterweight limit at 140 lbs.
This is a good fight for the 29-year-old Prograis to get ready for the World Boxing Super Series light welterweight tournament. Velasco isn’t in the same class as the top fighters in the WBSS tournament, but he’ll bring enough game to give Prograis a good fight on Saturday night. If Prograis choses to meet Velasco in the center of the ring for a war, it would be great for the boxing fans. The fans want to see what Prograis is all about because a lot of them have never seen him fight before. They’ve heard of hi but this will be the first time that a lot of boxing fans will see him. It should be interesting to see how well Prograis does. It would be great for Prograis if he can smash Velasco like he did his last opponent former IBF/WBA light welterweight champion Julius Indongo.
With his 60 percent KO percentage, Velasco is clearly a good puncher. The only problem is Prograis is a better puncher with 86% KO percentage. Prograis has faced better opposition, and he’s a much better all-around fighter. Velasco is going to need a miracle on Saturday night for him to pull off an upset because he has little chance of winning.
Prograis is getting a lot of attention from fans now that former unified 140 lb. champion Terence “Bud’ Crawford has departed from the weight class to fight at welterweight. Prograis is arguably winning over boxing fans at a faster pace than Crawford did due to his exciting style of fighting. Prograis goes after his opponents looking to knock them out, and it makes for interesting fights.
With the fight being televised on regular ESPN before the start of Manny Pacquiao’s fight against WBA ‘regular’ welterweight champion Lucas Matthysse on ESPN, Prograis will likely receive t a lot of attention from the boxing fans. The fans want to see Pacquiao-Matthysse, but for many of them, they’ll wind up only viewing the Prograis vs. Velasco fight unless they decide to pay the $5 to order the Pacquiao-Matthysse fight on ESPN+.
In other weights on the card, lightweight Teofimo Lopez (9-0, 7 KOs) weighed in at 134.9 for his co-feature fight against William Silva (25-1, 14 KOs). For his part, the 31-year-old Silva weighed in at 134 lbs. Lopez and Silva will be competing for the vacant WBC Continental Americas lightweight title. Lopez is a solid favorite to win this fight.