Regis Prograis has all the tools in and out of the ring to take off into superstardom. The former junior welterweight world champion, who faces Ivan Redkach as the co-main event to Jake Paul vs. Ben Askren on Saturday night, is counting on this event to take his profile up a notch.
"It's different type of fans," Prograis tells DAZN News about the fans who will purchase the pay-per-view to see Paul, a YouTuber, fight and in turn will see him do his thing as well. "I'm cool with it because it's new eyes on the sport, so for me it's a good thing. It's way more exposure.
"My name is very high risk and low reward," he continues. "I think after this fight, my profile will be raised up way higher. I'll be high risk and high reward after this. I was already a world champion and a lot of people didn't know that. So, it's the perfect opportunity for me to gain more fans, more exposure.
"This fight will put me where I need to be."
The 32-year-old is confident of that because of all the measures Triller Fight Club has taken to not only make this a boxing card, but a boxing event. And "Rougarou" believes the sweet science should learn from this and implores the sport to build cards in the mold of this very event — regardless of the promotional umbrella that's holding it.
"I think people (in boxing) will learn from this because it's going to be a whole event," Prograis says. "Most of the time, you don't have a lot of events in boxing. It's just a fight. The only time it's a real event is when it's somebody like a Floyd (Mayweather Jr.), (Manny) Pacquiao, Canelo (Alvarez), Anthony Joshua (is fighting). That's when it turns to a real event. But most of the time, it's just boxing. If they're not hardcore boxing fans, they won't pay attention.
"This time, with this," he continues, "it's a whole event."
There's no denying the star power attached to this event, as the likes of Justin Bieber, Snoop Dogg, Saweetie, Doja Cat, Diplo and Major Lazer are all set to perform on the pay-per-view event, which takes place at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. Plus, Snoop Dogg, who provided highly entertaining commentary for the Mike Tyson-Roy Jones Jr. fight last fall, is set to debut his supergroup, Mr. Westmore, consisting of himself and fellow West Coast rap legends Ice Cube, Too $hort and E-40. So, those who purchase the PPV, get to see fights, while essentially treated to a virtual concert as well.
Prograis believes each artist's fans will maximize the amount of eyes on this event, insisting that boxing needs to take note.
"You got all these fans. You got Justin Bieber fans, Snoop Dogg fans, Ice Cube fans, Saweetie, Doja Cat," he says. "Then, you got Jake Paul and Ben Askren, me and Ivan. Everybody has different fans and tune into the same card. I think it's genius to do this."
For Prograis, being part of this card is extra savory, as he says he tried to infuse artists and entertainment in one of his own fights a few years back in his hometown of New Orleans, only for all parties to shut it down. That being said, he doesn't want to hear any staunch boxing fans — or boxers for that matter — coming down harshly on the card headlined by a YouTuber and retired MMA fighter.
"I think it's jealousy," Prograis says bluntly. "Honestly, I think it's jealousy. I was in the same position. When Jake Paul and them fought, I was like 'This is a clown show, this is clown s—t going on.'"
But seeing the attention that Paul garnered by knocking former NBA star Nate Robinson out in November, helped change Prograis' mind. Plus, he tells DAZN News that the purse he's earning is "really good money," adding that "it's probably better money than most of the fighters in my division right now."
So, if all goes well against Redkach, who is 3-3 in his last six fights, Prograis would like nothing more than to parlay his plumped-up profile and following into an entertaining bout with Adrien Broner in the near future.
"Me and Adrien Broner have been talking a lot of stuff back and forth," Prograis concedes. "If it's not Adrien Broner, it's the winner between Jose Ramirez and Josh Taylor, but they're with Top Rank and I don't think that's going to happen."
While that remains to be seen, Prograis hopes boxing learns from Saturday night and uses the card as a blueprint for how to turn a fight night into an event. And for old-school boxing fans refusing to give the card a shot, Prograis even chimes in with a prediction for Paul vs. Askren as a parting shot.
"I do feel like Jake Paul is going to beat Ben Askren," Prograis says with a chuckle. "I saw Ben Askren hitting the pads and hitting the bag and from boxing eyes ... it doesn't look good at all. Jake Paul is not a boxer, but his hands definitlely look better than Ben Askren's."