Can Jose Zepeda Snatch Regis Prograis’ Dream of Becoming Champion?
There is a high alert for a potential barnburner as Regis “Rougarou” Prograis (27-1, 23 KOs) and Jose “Chon” Zepeda (35-2, 27 KOs) will battle for the vacant WBC junior welterweight title. The bout will be held at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California, live on Fite TV. Starting time for the fight is at 11 PM EST.
A BATTLE OF SOUTHPAWS
There was a time when some pundits felt that Prograis would take over and dominate the division. He was the ex-WBA champ and reached the finals of the WBSS junior welterweight tournament, where he lost a close majority decision to Josh Taylor in October 2019.
Unbeaten since, Rougarou was becoming frustrated after feeling he was being frozen out of the world title picture. But benefiting from circumstances beyond his control, the 33-year-old from New Orleans, Louisiana lands this opportunity to become a two-time champion.
At his best, he’s a patient power boxer. In previous outings, Rougarou has shown the ability to cut off the ring and chop his adversaries down. At other times, he’s won a battle of skills. The jab is an underrated weapon in his arsenal, and his defense is solid, if not elite. Overall, Prograis is one of the best in the division.
To win another world title, he has to defeat Zepeda, who has been a perennial contender in the division. Also 33, the pride of Long Beach, California is a fighter who boasts sound boxing skills. But it’s his punching power that draws the attention of boxing heads. He can be inconsistent. However, he is tough, durable, and has the ability to fight through adversity.
This is Zepeda’s third world title shot. In his last world title attempt, he lost a close majority decision to then-WBC champ Jose Ramirez in February 2019. At the time, more than a few pundits felt that Chon deserved the verdict, believing that Ramirez benefited from a hometown decision. This time around, Zepeda is hungry to achieve his dream of having his hand raised as a world champion.
The key to this fight could be the jab and legs of Prograis. If there is one deficiency to Zepeda, it’s the fact that he is a bit lead-footed. His upper-body movement is not the greatest in the world.
Prograis will have to be alert from the opening bell as Zepeda is a fighter who carries his power late in the fight. But if Rougarou is on his A-game, he is the better mover and defensive fighter.
This fight could turn into a pier-six brawl, which would delight the fans. But look for this to be more a tactical affair, mixed with some toe-to-toe exchanges. There will be some dramatic moments. But in the end, Prograis wins this one by decision in what will be an excellent scrap.
By: Michael Wilson Jr.