Regis Prograis-Devin Haney fight week diary: Day One

The hugely promising Andy Cruz on Saturday fights for the second time as a professional, against Jovanni Straffon at the Chase Center in San Francisco, but there is little question that the Cuban is among those largely being overlooked in favour of the main event between Regis Prograis and Devin Haney.

Matchroom, the promoters of Prograis-Haney, made the undercard fighters available to speak to the media on Wednesday, having ensured that Tuesday’s photoshoot surrounding the main-even fighters in one of the most photogenic of all cities remained a private event.

However Cruz – an Olympic gold medallist, a gym mate of the exciting Jarron “Boots” Ennis and a significant figure in the lightweight division that in 2023 is perhaps the finest of all – was interviewed by only a small group of reporters, despite the willingness of those around him, a translator included. Almost inevitably Ebanie Bridges, who fights Miyo Yoshida, attracted greater attention, and it is relevant that there exists a strong undercard – but the only time anything that represented a crowd was present was when Haney and Prograis were ready to speak.

Neither, rather refreshingly, were surrounded by the entourage that at least has come to be associated with Haney, and which also complemented Prograis in June when he defeated Danielito Zorrilla in his home city of New Orleans. Haney, on the occasion of his first fight at 140lbs after his long-term struggles to make the lightweight limit, also looked healthy, and, in his first fight after shoving Vasyl Lomachenko as they weighed in, relaxed.

There have been times ProBox TV has wondered how much attention he pays to his sport outside of the questions about Shakur Stevenson and Gervonta “Tank” Davis that he cannot avoid – there is ultimately little reason he needs to to continue to succeed as he has – so it was perhaps telling that when he attempted to compare himself to other fighters who have also benefitted from moving up in weight his mind suddenly went blank.

“We’ve seen a lot of greats go up in weight classes,” the 25-year-old said. “Have more power; have more strength.

“[Evander] Holyfield. Erm… Give me some names. Who else?”

He added the great Manny Pacquiao and James Toney to that list after their names had been offered. Roy Jones Jr was one prominent figure overlooked, given Haney’s father, trainer and manager Bill has previously leaned on Jones Jr’s expertise. Floyd Mayweather, who Haney appears to have modelled himself on to such an extent that their mannerisms are often identical (Haney regardless has manners and isn’t completely lacking in grace and charm), was potentially another, but one he perhaps deliberately didn’t mention given that, as he moved up in weight, his punching power became less and less of a strength.