Regis Prograis-Devin Haney fight week diary: Day Three

In the UK, where he was born and built his reputation, Eddie Hearn is in so many respects, among followers of boxing, the pantomime villain.

In San Francisco – and it remains unclear whether those preparing to attend Regis Prograis-Devin Haney are committed to the sport or enjoying the rare occasion for what it is – he is considerably more liked. Given Hearn’s profile in 2023 it may yet be that it was more casual observers of boxing who could be heard, but there was no uncertainty in the, “Eddie Hearn, what’s up?” that was shouted ahead of the weigh-in at the Chase Center on Friday afternoon. “You in the Bay. You in the Bay. We appreciate you, Eddie.” A promoter who perhaps has long wanted to be loved, he smiled in acknowledgement, and the following therefore surprised. Paco Damian, the promoter of Quilisto Madera, told ProBox TV that he had told Hearn he likely needs to get in the middle of Madera and Amari Jones when they face off after weighing in because of the risk of the temperamental Madera overstepping the mark. When they did come face to face it certainly looked as though his concerns were justified, but Hearn – perhaps for that very reason – wasn’t in the middle, where he could again be the centre of attention.  

The fighters involved in the main event had weighed in earlier on Friday morning, but stood on the scales again on Friday afternoon for promotional purposes. ProBox TV can’t help but wonder if, as the smaller fighter, the earlier weigh-in frustrated Prograis. Haney wearing sunglasses at Thursday’s press conference suggested he may have been struggling to make the 140lbs limit for Saturday’s WBC super lightweight title fight, which potentially means that the additional few hours he had to rehydrate are more of an advantage to the challenger than the champion.

Prograis, regardless, found a positive in the occasion. A brooding street fighter at his core, he relished that so many of those in attendance were so vocal in their support of Haney and therefore in their dislike of him. What followed he and Haney stepping on to the scales was a face off that was one of the most intense and lengthy ProBox TV has witnessed. It told of two fighters full of respect for each other, and also of the blue-collar Prograis’ determination to get under Haney’s skin and demonstrate why, of the two, he is the alpha male. It was also Haney who – eventually – looked away, and while there is little reason to suggest that he is intimidated by Prograis, it was unquestionably Prograis who was feeding off of the energy that existed around their final pre-fight confrontation.

It was – on reflection, perhaps inevitably – none other than Bill Haney who worked his way into the middle of the picture, beating the on-this occasion willing-to-be-involved Hearn. Haney Sr is as capable of hustling as anyone in boxing – he knew what he was doing and anyone watching him who may have remained uncertain also knew the moment he turned to look at one of the cameras from DAZN to check that he was within shot. Not to be completely outdone, the blood-sucking WBC’s Mauricio Sulaiman, still completely lacking in self-awareness, also eventually worked his way into view when the crowd started to thin out. 

“Fuck the Haneys,” Prograis shouted when he took to the microphone immediately afterwards. “Fuck the Haneys. Fuck the Haneys…”. If, as is expected, he loses his title on Saturday night, it won’t be because he has allowed himself to in any way be bullied by the Haneys, who he recognises are favoured by Matchroom and DAZN.