When moving up in weight, normally, fighters opt to take on a lesser-known name. The men are bigger, the punchers they throw come out with a bit more pop, and their chins are usually a lot more durable. There’s a lot to get accustomed to. Devin Haney, however, isn’t a fan of taking warm-up fights.
So, after the 24-year-old thought long and hard over his options, he decided to leave his four lightweight titles at the door and invade the 140-pound division. If he wanted, Haney (30-0, 15 KOs) could’ve selected a bottom feeder for his debut. Instead, he’s taking on who he considers to be the best fighter at 140 pounds in Regis Prograis.
“He’s a big knockout puncher and he’s proven,” Haney told Matchroom. “He’s a proven champion in the 140-pound division. I think he’s the best at 140 personally.”
Proven? Yes. But following his last outing, Prograis (29-1, 24 KOs) looked far from unbeatable. Danielito Zorrilla was a last-minute replacement in mid-June. The script was an easy one to follow. Go in, throw a few punches, take a huge shot on the chin, go down, and stay down.
Zorrilla, nevertheless, wasn’t interested in the role he was asked to play. The 29-year-old bemused Prograis, landed some of his own big shots and forced him to work before losing a close split decision.
Ultimately, Haney believes that Prograis simply had a bad night at the office. It happens. The former undisputed lightweight champ knows what Prograis brings to the table. From pernicious knockout power to relentless pressure, Haney is aware of it all.
The 24-year-old won’t have everything going in his favor on fight night. With that said, the top-notch skills that Prograis normally displays will be rendered useless come December 9th.
“I gotta go in there and handicap him of his best attributes and that’s what I’m looking to do.”