Prograis: Haney vacated titles in attempt to unnerve me

Regis Prograis has accused Devin Haney of playing “mind games” by vacating his lightweight titles in the week before they fight for the WBC super lightweight title.

The 34-year-old Prograis makes the latest defence of his title against a fighter who until recently was the undisputed lightweight champion, at the Chase Center in San Francisco.

While remaining a lightweight champion Haney at least appeared a fighter with the option of returning to 135lbs, but Prograis believes that he is attempting to be perceived as someone so convinced of victory on Saturday that he doesn’t need such an option – and by extension ultimately of attempting to get under his skin.

“It’s mind games – maybe overconfidence – but it’s mind games,” Prograis said. “The Haneys try to play every mind trick they can. But it actually makes me stronger – [which is] what they don’t understand. 

“Another thing, I got tested six times for this fight – six times. They came last week – people keep coming; keep testing me. That’s a sign of ‘You might be scared’. ‘You think I’m cheating so you’re scared of me.’ That’s another mind game, but it’s playing into my mind, because it’s making me more and more confident. ‘You doing all this stuff,’ they playing mind games, ‘you can’t play that with me’. I don’t care about it. All that stuff make me stronger. 

“They’re not in charge [of the drug testing] but why so many times? Six times? Did Floyd [Mayweather] and [Manny] Pacquiao even get tested six times? This is crazy. Four of ‘em was blood and urine. I don’t think they’re in charge [of testing] but they definitely could have put in there ‘We gonna test this many times; test him; test him; test him’. 

“Why six times? That’s crazy. I’m pretty sure it’s going to be seven or eight times [by fight night]. It’s crazy.

“A week before the fight they doing that stuff. Bill [Haney, Devin’s father, trainer and manager] tries to play those mind games. It maybe worked on a previous opponent.”

Bill Haney made little secret of his presence at Josh Taylor-Teofimo Lopez and Prograis-Danielito Zorrilla before the fight between Prograis and his 25-year-old son was signed and sealed.

“It’s normal,” Prograis continued. “He was scouting. That’s what he does. He’s good at that, and, you know, they chose me. It’s an insult. But it’s a good insult. It’s definitely an insult, but I embrace this – this is one of the biggest fights of my career because I came off a bad win, so it’s cool to me.”