Aftermath: Prograis vs Taylor

Boxing Monthly
28/10/2019 6:40am

Photo: Stephen Pond/Getty Images

Josh Taylor beat Regis Prograis in a sublime World Boxing Super Series super lightweight final on Saturday. James Lupton, Lee Gormley, Luca Rosi, Andrew Harrison, Chris Glover, Danny Winterbottom, Tom Craze and Luke G. Williams are here with their take on a riveting showdown...

BM: How did you score / see the fight?

JL: I didn’t score the fight as it unfolded however I felt Taylor was the sharper of the two and seemed to hurt Prograis more. However, I wouldn’t have cried robbery had the American got the nod.

LG: I ended up with 115-113 for Taylor, the same as one judge I believe. It was a very close one and lived up to all expectations, thankfully. A 'Fight of the Year' candidate which it will be hard to top.

LR: I had it 114-114. After a shaky start, with Prograis looking seemingly untouchable, it was the Taylor takeover from rounds 5-10. Rougarou looked all but a spent force but rallied brilliantly in the last two rounds to scrape a draw on my card. If you look at the fight in its entirety though, the right man won.

AH: I scored it 115-113 for Taylor, with Prograis rallying to take the final two rounds.

CG: I thought the fight was close but have zero complaints in Taylor getting the nod.

DW: I saw the fight 116-113 for Taylor in an enthralling battle between two of the top three 10 stone fighters on the planet. Prograis fights with a swagger and had bragged all week about not even being touched in his last two fights vs Relikh and Flanagan but soon found himself bloodied and marked up as the IBF champion enforced his will on the American up close. It almost seemed to me as though Prograis was expecting to dominate Taylor and was shocked by the Scotsman's intensity. In a similar vein, when Boza Edwards and Bobby Chacon clashed for the second time back in '83, the transplanted Londoner had predicted 'an easy fight' before being dragged into a back and forth war. Prograis' head and upper body movement did give Josh some food for thought in rounds 3, 4 and 5 and by half way I had it level. Through rounds 7 to 10 Taylor began to motor and it seemed as though Prograis, bleeding heavily from his nose, was wilting badly and a Taylor prediction of a late round stoppage would come to fruition. However a rallying cry from the Prograis corner saw the WBA champion stage a comeback and push Taylor hard in the last two rounds. It wasn't enough though and Taylor was a deserving winner.

TC: 115-113 Taylor, but I would have had no issue with the draw. A high-stakes, ebb-and-flow chess match at the very top level.

LW: 114-114 in points, although my broad impression before tallying my score was that Taylor just edged it. A tremendous fight. Having been at ringside I did wonder - from seeing some people online argue for a wider Taylor win - whether television diluted some of Prograis' early success and quick scoring shots.

BM: Where next for both men?

JL: The fight out there for Taylor has to be Jose Ramirez and the fight for Prograis to chase is the Taylor rematch.

LG: A good rest for sure! After a break a rematch makes perfect sense, although I think Taylor and his team will be pushing for a Ramirez fight for all the belts. And why not? That would have all the ingredients to be another cracker!

LR: The obvious next fight for Taylor is a massive unification clash against Ramirez, who holds the WBC and WBO versions. Whether or not that will happen remains to be seen. Prograis's stock certainly hasn't diminished and I'm sure he'll be fighting for a world title again soon. Taylor, Ramirez, Hooker and Prograis, while not quite the four kings, are a pretty formidable foursome. Any combination of them would make for a great fight.

AH: Taylor wants to fight Ramirez next, but the Mexican is scheduled to face Viktor Postol in February. I think Taylor should have a long rest and see how that one plays out. Hearn is talking up a fight with Lewis Ritson in Newcastle which feels like cashing the popular Geordie in. I’d prefer to see Taylor fight someone like Adrien Broner in the States if he needs to stay busy.

CG: I think he should be looking more to 147lbs next instead of facing Ramirez. For me, that would be a better move for his career based on his eventual need to move up in weight.

DW: I'd like to see Taylor fight WBC-WBO champion Ramirez next year whilst Prograis could have his pick of anyone else in the top 10 as he looks to rebuild.

TC: There’s little doubt Taylor will want to follow the recent footsteps of Terence Crawford and crown a new undisputed champion at 140. However, with Ramírez vs Postol lined up, that idea will have to wait until summer 2020 at the very earliest. Ritson in a stadium fight has been floated, and that might fit the bill in the interim as a potential money-spinner. Prograis emerges with huge credit and an elevated profile, despite neither of those being his primary objective at 10pm on Saturday night. It seems highly likely he’ll now sign with one of the big three promotional outfits in the US to bolster his options.

LW: For Taylor a homecoming defence, followed by Ramirez and then a Prograis rematch. For Prograis, a confidence builder followed by Hooker and a Taylor rematch. What's not to like about that?

BM: Is Taylor the best British fighter pound for pound right now?

JL: The Tartan Tornado certainly has a good argument to be the best in Britain right now. After facing and beating a fighter like Dave Ryan in just his sixth bout I felt Taylor could be something special. He arguably had the toughest route throughout the WBSS tournament also. For me, yes, he’s number one in Britain.

LG: There was no one else really close to him in terms of skills and talent anyway, but now he’s also ahead on achievements. Josh Warrington and Callum Smith are behind him. The Scotsman’s by far leading the way!

LR: No question about it. If you think back to Calzaghe and his defining fight against Jeff Lacy - well, this was a smimlar bout in terms of significance but Taylor was facing a much higher calibre opponent in a true world championship tussle. I cannot remember a fight of this magnitude on these shores with two so equally matched world champions. Even though he's only had 16 fights, Taylor is already one of the best British fighters of the modern era.

AH: Taylor’s the best fighter we have. He does look special.

DW: Yes!

TC: There was a reasonable argument that Taylor was the UK’s P4P #1 before beating Prograis. This puts daylight between him and the rest and, in terms of natural ability, he’s the crown jewel. The Scot is also now knocking on the door of any credible P4P top 10 globally. More importantly though - and with those platitudes aside - he’s an elite talent in his prime years and a joy to watch.

LW: Yes, he edges out Callum Smith. Both men have earned the right to be seen as number one in their respective divisions.