In an electrifying display that stunned fans, undefeated Devin Haney laid claim to the World Boxing Council's junior welterweight title on Saturday, ascending as the division's new monarch with a unanimous decision over Houston's own Regis Prograis. The judges at San Francisco's Chase Center scored every round in favor of the swiftly ascended Haney, who left no room for dispute with a 120-107 scorecard sweep, as The Houston Chronicle captured.
Previously reigning over 135 pounds as the undisputed champion, Haney brought his formidable skillset to 140 pounds and showcased his dominance by flooring Prograis, who had felt certain his strength would counter Haney's speed, in the third round with a swift right hand. "I was just on the canvas and I was like, 'What happened?'" Prograis recounted to reporters, acknowledging the unexpected power behind Haney's quick punch and the resulting need to reckon with it, according to The Houston Chronicle.
However, familiar with Prograis' playbook, Haney used his slick footwork to dismantle Prograis’ signature left hand. "I took it away," said Haney, explaining his strategic maneuvering in the ring, according to the same interview from The Houston Chronicle. As a result, Prograis found himself unable to land punches effectively, only managing a meager 36 hits out of 363 thrown—the lowest recorded in a title fight's 12-round match by CompuBox standards.
"His jab was good and quick but I started to kind of pick up on it a little bit," Prograis confessed, conceding that despite his adjustments, Haney's footwork remained decisively superior. With his victory over Prograis, Haney now opens the field for bigger matches, potentially pitting him against notable fighters like Teofimo Lopez and Ryan Garcia, as The Houston Chronicle noted. Prograis, on the other hand, vows to rise back, aiming to eventually clinch the title of three-time champion.
On ESPN's corner, Haney's masterful performance put a spotlight on his strategic offense and defense. "I did everything that I said I was gonna do [...] Went in there and I handicapped him," Haney declared, his sights now trained on possibly securing the "fighter of the year" accolade. His peer Naoya Inoue, however, remains in contention for the award with an upcoming match at the end of December. Despite Haney's fresh success, the boxing arena's competitive spirit continues unabated, hinting that Haney's claim to the title of the year's top fighter will indeed be a battle well worth watching, as reported by ESPN.