Home Boxing News Regis Prograis scores win over Danielito Zorrilla, but admits he was far...

Regis Prograis scores win over Danielito Zorrilla, but admits he was far from his best

Regis Prograis (left) and Danielito Zorrilla exchange

It wasn’t the performance he wanted, but WBC junior welterweight champion Regis ‘Rougarou’ Prograis 29-1 (24) eked out a split decision victory against awkward Puerto Rican Danielito ‘El Zorro’ Zorrilla 17-2 (13) in his homecoming fight at the Smoothie Center in New Orleans, Louisiana on Saturday night.

Southpaw Prograis, 34, was supposed to face undefeated Australian lefty Liam Paro 23-0 (14) before the 27-year-old challenger was forced to withdraw due to injury.

The fight against Zorrilla was supposed to relaunch Prograis’ career after he signed with a promotional agreement with Matchroom Boxing and their broadcast partner DAZN.

Instead, Prograis was lumped with an awkward opponent with a low punch output who had enough experience to make the champion look bad.

The fight got tough for Prograis in the opening round when Zorrilla caught him with lead right hand. The hometown fighter lunged forward to clinch and ended up on his knees on the canvas. Replays showed it probably should have been called a knockdown, but referee Ray Corona ruled it a split.

He dodged a bullet on that one.

There wasn’t much to report in the second round but in the third Prograis showed a flash of what he is capable of. A well-timed straight left deposited Zorrilla on the canvas.

At this stage of the fight it was fair to assume that Prograis was going to take over the fight and go on to dominate, but Zorrilla hadn’t read the script.

The rest of the bout was a cat-and-mouse game, with Zorrilla punching conservatively and Prograis failing to catch up with him.

That pattern continued until the final bell.

When the dust settled after 12 slow-paced rounds, judges Robert Tapper and Josef Mason tabbed the bout for Prograis by scores of 118-109 and 117-110 respectively. Judge Craig Metcalfe dissented, calling the fight in Zorrilla’s favour 114-113.

Whichever way you saw it, it’s not a fight you would likely go back and watch again.

Prograis himself admitted it was an ordinary performance he turned in.

“My performance was shit. I can admit to myself it wasn’t a good performance,” said Prograis, who was fighting in his hometown for the first time in almost five years.

“The last two days, I felt the hometown jitters. The hometown fights, they are the worst. I felt it going into it yesterday into today. I got the job done. I kept the belt. I’m happy about that but I’m definitely not happy about my performance.”

The 140-pound division now seems wide open after Teofimo Lopez defeated Josh Taylor last weekend before announcing his retirement at the age of just 25.

Two options for Prograis moving forward could be undisputed lightweight champion Devin ‘The Dream’ Haney 30-0 (15), who has long considered a move up in weight, or IBF junior welterweight champion Subriel Matias 19-1 (19).

“For me, it’s up to Regis,” promoter Eddie Hearn said. “I mean, I think the great thing about tonight is there’s going to be a lot of people queuing up to fight. I’ve not heard any of those big names mention Regis’ name before tonight, other than Devin. But now I think you’re going to see people actually target Regis Prograis that he might be beatable now.

“Which we know, there’s a completely different performance to come from Regis Prograis. I think that’s the one thing that I’m happy about and I believe Devin wants that fight.”