Louisiana’s own mythical swamp monster, “The Rougarou,” has been seen inside the boxing ring lately, bringing along destruction for anyone willing to cross paths with it. Friday night was no different. “The Rougarou,” better known as Regis Prograis, victimized former titlist Julius Indongo over two rounds. From the start of the fight, Prograis let Indongo know he was in for a fight. Indongo would not see the third round, as Prograis knocked him down three times before the referee mercifully stopped the fight.
“Man, I felt good,” Prograis told Combat Press. “I can’t complain. I wanted to outdo [Terence] Crawford, and shit, I did it. Go out there and shine. I just wanted to go out there and do my thing, that was the main thing. Go out there and shine and be exciting, and that’s what I did.”
With the victory, Prograis became the interim WBC junior welterweight champ.
“It feels good, I guess, to be considered a world champion, but I want way more,” Prograis admitted. “This is just a small notch for me. I want everything. I want to be considered pound-for-pound eventually, and I want all the belts, as many as I can get at 140 [pounds] before I move to 147. It feels good, but [there’s] a lot more work to be done.”
Over the past few years, Prograis has slowly garnered attention and respect from the boxing media. It was his bout on ShoBox against Joel Diaz Jr. that earned Prograis the attention of the boxing fans. Yet, the majority didn’t say his name when discussing the elite of the 140-pound division. Prograis could walk into a venue and go unnoticed, just another face in the crowd. That changed after his bout with Indongo. The proof was in the pudding on Saturday night in San Antonio at the showdown between Mikey Garcia and Sergey Lipinets.
“Yeah, man, that’s really a good feeling, because people are starting to see,” said Prograis. “I was at the fight and people were just mobbing me. It’s crazy, like overnight. At first, only boxing people knew, and the other night in San Antonio, I couldn’t even get out of my seat. I was scared to get out of my seat, because I knew I couldn’t sit down. Everyone wanted pictures.”
With a belt now around his waist, Prograis has higher aspirations for his fight career.
“Me and Mikey,” he said, targeting Garcia as his next opponent. “I feel in the next 18 months, that’s going to be one of the biggest fights in boxing.”
Not many are out there calling out Garcia. Prograis was a ringside guest for Garcia’s fight against Lipinets, and he was willing to make the bold move.
“At 140 [pounds], there are only two names: my name and Mikey’s name,” Prograis said. “Me and him will have to clash eventually. It’ll be a big fight. Let it marinate a little and we can make it a real big fight.”
Prograis has his sights on Garcia, but the fight could take some time to come to fruition. In the meantime, Prograis will be a spectator yet again for another title fight, this time between Jose Carlos Ramirez and Amir Imam. The contest is for the vacant WBC title, a decision that irks Prograis.
“People know I should be the WBC champion [not an interim one] right now,” he said. “Me and Indongo should’ve been for the WBC belt. Why are they fighting for it? Imam got knocked out by [Adrian] Granados and then fought two or three nobodies after that and was ranked number one. People that know boxing know that I should be the real WBC champ.”
Prograis is a student of the game. He knows boxing politics always come into play with fights being made. He sees it happening again after Ramirez and Imam fight.
“I think I can beat either one of them, but as far as getting a fight made on the political side, I think it’ll be harder to make the Ramirez fight because of Bob Arum,” said Prograis. “That dude [Ramirez] don’t want to fight me. After my performance Friday night, they don’t want me to fight him. Ramirez has a padded record. He’s not that good.”
If a fight with Ramirez doesn’t happen, Prograis already has other names he’s looking at for future fights. If Imam wins, then it could make Prograis’s situation go smoother. Right now, however, Imam is a heavy underdog for the title fight.
“They got Josh Taylor in the [United Kingdom]. He’s a good fighter,” Prograis said. “Me and him could fight, but you know who I want. I want Mikey and I want the dude that won the other night for the WBA title — [Kiryl] Relikh. If they try to skip me around with the WBC, then I’ll fight Relikh for the WBA title, then fight the winner of [Maurice] Hooker and [Terry] Flanagan for the WBO title and then me and Mikey can fight, too.
“There’s different ways and different routes to go about it. I just don’t see anyone that can come close to me. The only person that can really challenge me is Mikey.”
Whatever the future may hold for “The Rougarou,” expect excitement and violence to follow. That’s just how it goes when Prograis enters the ring. If he gets his way, there will be more victims laid out on the canvas and multiple title belts within his grasp.