Regis Prograis has long been one of the best and most entertaining fighters in the world. The WBC Super Lightweight Champion has been a great interviewer and is a guy with a fan-friendly, high-octane style.
However, he often found himself on the wrong side of the street from a business perspective, and found himself often on the outside due to the way boxing is structured.
He became a free agent on November 26 after an 11th-round stoppage of José Zepeda in Carson, California. Progress, who acted as his own manager during the negotiations, rose to Top Rank and Matchroom before signing a three-fight deal with Matchroom and Eddie Hearn.
The first fight on that deal will be against unbeaten but little-known Argentine Liam Parro on June 17 in Progres' hometown of New Orleans.
Top Rank offered a five-fight deal and then a four-fight deal with more money per fight than Matchroom was offering. The deal with Top Rank would have begun with a fight against Arnold Barboza later in the summer. it would then include a bout against Jose Ramirez, and then on June 10 the winner of Josh Taylor and Teofimo Lopez vs. Ramirez has one fight left on her Top Rank deal and hopes to make it against Taylor-Lopez. the winner.
It was a tough call for Progress.
“I saw both sides and I was comfortable with both sides,” Progres told Yahoo Sports. “For three or four weeks, I changed my mind. One day, I'd go to bed and say, ‘Okay, there's the top-ranked one. I'm signing with them.' And then I'd wake up in the morning and have this feeling that Matchroom was the right deal for me. I did it so often, it's crazy. Sometimes, I did it multiple times in one day. So it was tough at the end of the day , I felt comfortable with Eddie and it seemed like a perfect fit.
From Top Rank's perspective, Progress was concerned that Ramírez and López had just one fight left on their deals with the company. Ramirez, in fact, has one fight left on his Top Rank deal, but Top Rank president Todd Du Boeuf said Lopez is signed with the company through 2025.
Progress said there were two other issues in signing with Top Rank. He wants a bout with IBF champion Subriel Matias. There were reports that Matthias was also in talks with Matchroom, but Hearn said on Wednesday the company had no deal with him.
In addition, Prograis is starting a promotional company, Rougarou promotions, in addition to managing his own career. Hearn was willing to co-promote his company with Rougerau to help him and get it off the ground.
“Eddie came up with a plan that made sense to me,” Progress said. “What I want to do now is I want to get the belts. I want to get all the belts. I want some big fights. That's my goal. I want to get some big fights and get all the belts. want to do.”
The number of bouts was also an issue for Prograis. He speculated that he could be done with the Matchroom contract in early 2024 and would then be able to re-evaluate the scenario. A top rank deal would have taken longer for him.
Prograis stated that Hearn has been able to set up feuds with other promoters, so he believed that if a fight came along with someone he wanted who was not promoted by Matchroom, Hearn could make it happen.
“With a lot of promoters, they approach that issue along the way and a lot of them have egos and they don't want to fight. [other promoters], But Eddie will pick fights,” Progress said. “He's a businessman. He wants to earn his money, but he likes boxing. He wants to see the best fight the best. He really enjoys the matches and wants to see them have matches like this.”
Progress said he decided to make the deal on his own without the services of a manager because of the amount of time he has spent in the game. He believes he knows his worth as well as anyone and feels he can save managerial fees by doing it himself.
He said he hoped he could set an example for other fighters.
“You talk to the promoters about who you're going to fight, where you're going to fight and how much money you're going to get paid,” Progress said. “It's really not that hard to do, especially when a manager is taking that much money from you. I think a lot of young people, yeah, they need it.” [manager] Because they are still learning about boxing. But I guess I've been here a long time and I've learned from my mistakes.
“Of course, I'll be the first to admit that I made a lot of bad business moves in boxing. At least for now, though, if there's a mistake, I'm gonna make it and it won't be anyone else. I know.” What's on the paper will do. Right now, I'm a grown man and I do nothing but read books all the time. It's not hard to figure out how to do that. It's not that hard.”