Regis Prograis vs. Joel Diaz Jr.: Whose ‘0’ will go?

By Francisco Salazar

Two unbeaten fighters. Two contenders. One significant fight.

Something has to give tonight as junior welterweights Regis Prograis and Joel Diaz Jr. square off tonight at the Turning Stone Resort and Casino in Verona, New York.

The 10-round fight will headline a three-bout “ShoBox: The New Generation” telecast, which begins at 10:30 p.m. ET/ PT.

If there is a fight that matches two unbeaten fighters and reinforces the objective of what ShoBox is all about, it is Prograis-Diaz. The fight is a 50/50 type of fight, one in which both can change the course of the fight with one punch.

Prograis (19-0, 16 knockouts) is the puncher between the two. Originally from New Orleans and now living and training in Houston, the 28-year-old Prograis has stopped his last four opponents.

Tonight will mark Prograis’ fourth time fighting on ShoBox.

“The person who wins this fight will go up, hopefully, to a title fight,” said Prograis, who is ranked No. 4 at 140 pounds by the WBC. “I take all my opponents seriously but I’m taking this one even more seriously than others in the past. He’s 23-0 and there’s a reason why he’s undefeated. He’s good and he has the best record of anyone I’ve faced.

“If I feel like (Diaz) can’t hurt me from the first round, I’ll probably just walk him down the whole night and punish him.”

Prograis is ranked No. 5 by THE RING Magazine.

Diaz (23-0, with 19 KOs), now ranked No. 9 by the WBA, mostly fought at or around 130 pounds but has campaigned as a junior welterweight in his last five bouts.

The 25-year-old Diaz, who resides in the Los Angeles suburb of Palmdale, has stopped his last seven opponents.

“This is my chance. This is my opportunity,” said Diaz, who has not fought since his second round knockout win over Mario Beltre on November 19. “I know Regis is good but we’re going to put it on him. I’m going to be like flies on sh*t. This is one of the opportunities I can’t let pass.

“I’m going to show the world who the real Joel Diaz is. A world championship after this fight, that’s what I want.”

Diaz, who used to work with Abel Sanchez, is now trained by former heavyweight titleholder Chris Byrd.

Also fighting on the ShoBox card:

– Hard-hitting Demond Nicholson (17-1-1, 16 KOs) of Laurel, Maryland will square off against Toronto’s Steve Rolls (15-0, 9 KOs) in an eight-round super middleweight bout.

– Jon Fernandez (12-0, 10 KOs) of Spain, who is promoted by Sergio Martinez, will face Juan Reyes (14-3-3, 2 KOs) of Riverside, California in an eight-round junior lightweight bout.

– In an off-TV bout, welterweight Kerman Lejarraga (21-0, 17 KOs) of Spain will make his U.S. debut against Jose Antonio Abreu (13-1, 8 KOs) in an eight-round bout.

Francisco A. Salazar has written for RingTV.com since October of 2013 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (California) Star newspaper, BoxingScene.com and Knockout Nation. He can be reached by email at santio89@yahoo.com or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing.

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Source:: The Ring – Boxing