M. Garcia, Prograis in advanced talks for fall bout

Boxing

Former four-division champion Mikey Garcia and ex-titleholder Regis Prograis are in advanced talks for a fall clash at 140 pounds, both fighters and promoter Eddie Hearn told ESPN.

If a deal is completed, the bout would land in the U.S., and be streamed on DAZN.

Garcia, 33, is one of the most accomplished active fighters in boxing with titles claimed at 126 pounds, 130, 135 and 140. He attempted to win a title at 147 pounds but dropped a decision to Errol Spence Jr., in his lone pro defeat. His last fight also was contested at 147 pounds, a decision victory over Jessie Vargas in February 2020.

Formerly recognized by ESPN as one of the top 10 pound-for-pound boxers in the world, the Mexican-American is a proven box-office draw in Southern California and Texas, where he’s headlined numerous times.

“I definitely feel better at 140 (pounds), the only reason I was trying to be at 147 was for a title fight, but since we couldn’t secure a flight with Manny (Pacquiao), there was no reason to stay there,” Garcia (40-1, 30 KOs) told ESPN. “But I’ve pretty much made my decision to campaign at ’40 for the next matchup.

“I think it’s a great matchup for a few reasons being that he’s an aggressive fighter, he’s accomplished, former world champion and he’s also hungry to regain that position and have a big victory. I want to get back, I want to do big things, I want to be able to challenge for a world title again and be a world champion so I think those are the elements that make it a great matchup.”

Prograis, 32, dropped his 140-pound title to Josh Taylor (currently the undisputed champion and ESPN’s No. 7 fighter pound-for-pound) in a thrilling scrap in October 2019. Taylor narrowly earned the decision in London and went on to win two more titles from Jose Ramirez in May.

Prograis, meanwhile, stayed busy with stoppage victories over Juan Heraldez and Ivan Redkach while he hoped to gain another crack at Taylor.

“I think it’s the biggest fight at 140,” Prograis (26-1, 22 KOs) told ESPN. “He has a big name, I have a big name right now. All sides want it. Sometimes one side don’t want it and the other side tries to push it. But with me and Mikey, I want it, he wants it. I talked to his brother (trainer Robert Garcia) on FaceTime; he wants it.

“I think it’s going to be a huge, huge fight. I do want to fight the best; I’ve been telling you I want to be a champion again. If I can’t get Josh Taylor, I think Mikey is bigger than anybody right now.”

Prograis has missed the weight limit in both of his last two fights, weighing in at 141 pounds for a fight against Heraldez contracted at 140 and 143 for a bout with Redkach contracted at 142.

“Rougarou” said he’ll be hiring a nutritionist for his next training camp after trying to “do everything by myself. I know I need professional help.”

“I grew up in New Orleans, I was raised eating a lot of (expletive),” Prograis said. “Very, very bad food habits. It takes a long time to break a bad habit.”

Recently, Prograis has been training with legendary fighter Roy Jones Jr., in Pensacola, Florida, though he won’t be part of his team during training camp or on fight night. Bobby Benton trains Prograis in Houston.

Garcia, meanwhile, is trained by his brother, former champion Robert Garcia, in Oxnard, Calif., and is anxious to return to the ring.

“I’ve been off for a little over a year now, a year and a half,” Garcia said. “It’s a good fight to get that return and not many good fights, good matchups get done. I think this is one that can get done.”

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