Hearn on Haney-Prograis: "It is an important fight for boxing"

Eddie Hearn, the head of Matchroom Boxing, was properly excited about the compelling bout he is bringing to the San Francisco Bay Area. Hearn is promoted a fight card in England this week, with one of the best junior welterweights in Jack Catterall, who is fighting a well past his prime Jorge Linares on Saturday, as Linares will make his second career appearance at junior welterweight, a division he has little success at.

Yet, Hearn was in full promoter mode as he was eager to talk about the return of Devin Haney to Matchroom Boxing and DAZN, as he faces Regis Porgrais on December 9th, on DAZN pay-per-view, live from San Francisco, California, at the Chase Center, the home of the world champion NBA team, the Golden State Warriors. 

Hearn spoke to ProBox TV News about how he views this fight and the implication it has for the lightweight and junior welterweight division.

“It is an important fight for boxing,” told Hearn to ProBox TV News. “You need young guys, and I know Devin is younger than Regis, but you need guys that are fearless fighting each other, because too often in boxing, Devin stepped up to face arguably the toughest, most dangerous guy at 140 [lbs], and Regis could have just kept defending his title, he is at risk here as well. There has to be jeopardy, there has to be risk.”

Haney, whom Hearn had previously co-promoted in leading him to a form of the WBC lightweight world title, is now the undisputed lightweight world champion until November 16th when Shakur Stevenson will face Edwin De Los Santos for a form of the WBC lightweight title, causing a dispute to that claim. Haney is looking to move up in weight become a two-division champion and defeat possibly the best guy at 140 lbs. 

Hearn credits both fighters for taking such a risky fight. 

“People talk about boxing being dead, its a load of rubbish,” Hearn stated directly to ProBox TV News. “When you get it right in boxing it is mega, when you don’t it is [expletive], and no one is interested in watching it and it doesn’t work. We got to keep making fights like this, and when you make great fights you see the results. You fifteen thousand plus like you will see here on December 9th.”

As for the result or what Hearn thinks will happen. It is fairly clear Hearn has gathered that most people are split down the middle on how the fight will play it as he told a group of reporters his initial thoughts on the match-up right away prior to Tuesday’s press conference. 

“I had a really good debate with Richardson Hitchins and his crew in the car in Orlando,” said Hearn to a group of media gathered. “It was really split between a lot of people think Prograis wins this fight by stoppage and a lot of people think Devin schools him, and they were quite passionate either way. They weren’t friends of the guys, that is kind of the way I guess it plays out.”

The thing that has been rubbing the two-time junior welterweight world champion, Regis Prgorais, the wrong way has been the way in which the media and some involved in the fight have overlooked his talent. Prograis keeps saying in the media it is ‘skill versus skill.’  Hearn talked about this as well.

“Can Regis deal with the trickery of Devin, and can Devin hold up to the power of Regis,” thought out loud Hearn. “If you look at the [Danielito] Zorrilla fight you make Devin the favorite, but was it just a fight where [Prograis] was just under-motivated and under-performed? How is Devin going to perform at 140 [lbs]? Two arguments might be he will be really good and strong because he has been struggling at 135 [lbs], and [the other one] he might not be strong enough. Or maybe his assets at 135 was his size.”

In the end, Hearn simply stated that he applauded Haney for taking such a fight as if Haney wins this bout, Bill Haney’s masterful management of Devin Haney will further continue. 

“I respect Devin because he could have [taken] an easier route,” furthered Hearn. “[It is] a master play by him and Bill [Haney] if they pull it off.”