Regis Prorgais would’ve been one ornery guy if it were this time a year ago.
Not just because, with a weigh-in looming the next afternoon, he’d had to skip Thanksgiving dinner. But also because until earlier this year, Prograis always tried to make weight in what the former WBA super lightweight champion calls “the old school” way.
It wasn’t until Prograis came in overweight for back-to-back knockouts of Juan Heraldez and Ivan Redkach that the New Orleans native recognized that he needed help from a nutritionist. He hired Calgary-based Irishman Declan Walsh before his last fight, a sixth-round stoppage of Tyrone McKenna on March 19, and immediately realized that he should’ve worked with a nutritionist as soon as he could’ve afforded to do so several years ago.
“I definitely regretted it,” Prograis told BoxingScene.com. “I wish I always had a nutritionist. Once you get on a certain level, when you’re making enough money to hire a nutritionist, I think everybody should hire a nutritionist. The old-school way is to sit in a sauna, run with a sauna suit on and eat less and do all that stuff. That takes away from what you’re really trying to do. And that’s how you get CTE and all those types of things. You need nutrition and water intake, so I definitely wish I would’ve had a nutritionist a long time ago.”
The 33-year-old Prograis (27-1, 23 KOs) is certain he’ll have no trouble making the super lightweight limit of 140 pounds Friday afternoon for his fight against Jose Zepeda (36-2, 28 KOs, 2 NC) on Saturday night for the vacant WBC championship. Their 12-round bout will headline a four-fight pay-per-view show from Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California (9 pm ET; 6 pm PT; $59.99).
Prograis’ confidence comes from how comfortably he made weight for his victory over McKenna eight months ago in Dubai. The powerful southpaw stepped on the scale at 139 pounds for that bout, one pound below the contracted cap of 140.
Prograis officially weighed 141½ pounds for his 140-pound bout with Heraldez in October 2020. The Katy, Texas resident then weighed in at 143 pounds for his 142-pound fight against Redkach in April 2021.
Those two failures at the scales prompted Prograis to think he had outgrown the 140-pound division. He eventually sought a nutritionist on social media, hired Walsh and did a mock camp when he didn’t have a fight scheduled just to make sure what Walsh was telling him worked.
“My last fight was the first fight I ever had with a nutritionist,” Prograis said. “Like, basically, the old-school boxing way – and look, I love my trainers and stuff like that – but we were doing everything wrong, for the whole time. My last fight was the first time I worked with a nutritionist. So, all those fights, I was doing everything wrong. We would sit in the sauna, run with a sauna suit on, just cut my food down. And the nutritionist did everything opposite, and I made the weight easy, you know, and I felt good. I felt strong. I feel fantastic, so now I know I can make the weight. At first, I was struggling to make 140, and I didn’t know if I could make 140 until I hired a nutritionist. It just made things way easier.
“Like I said, I love my trainers, but we did everything just backwards. We didn’t do it the right way, like the way we were supposed to be doing it. If any fighters read this about me, I just wanna let ’em know the trainers, they’re old school and that’s what they do. You restrict all of your calories and, you know, get the water weight off and sweat and all that stuff. And now, I’m just doing things totally different and it’s basically a big-time move for me. I feel better, my mood is better and I know I can make the weight really, really comfortable. So, I’m just glad I made that switch and now I think we’re gonna see a different me. It just made things easier and made things way better, as far as the weight goes.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.