Undefeated Josh Taylor and Regis Prograis set for professional boxing first if world light-welterweight title unification clash ends in a draw
- Regis Prograis takes on Josh Taylor at the O2 in London on Saturday night
- The light-welterweight battle is also the final of the World Boxing Super Series
- In the event of a draw there will be a countback of the championship rounds
For the first time in the history of professional boxing there will be a winner of a drawn fight if Josh Taylor and Regis Prograis are level on the judges’ cards at the end of their world light-welterweight title unification clash on Saturday night.
The battle between Scotland’s IBF champion Taylor and America’s WBA belt-holder Prograis is also the final of the World Boxing Super Series.
In the event of a draw at London’s 02 Arena a countback of what prize-fighting calls the championship rounds will decide the winner of that tournament, the Muhammad Ali Trophy and the $10 million cheque which goes with it.
Regis Prograis (above) takes on Josh Taylor at the O2 in London on Saturday night
If the judges cannot separate them – which is by no means improbable between this evenly-matched pair – those prestigious and enriching prizes will go to the winner of the 12th and last round. If that, too, is scored even the countback on the cards will continue through the 11th round, and so on.
That would not affect the world championship result. The initial draw would leave Taylor and Prograis retaining their belts, while The Ring magazine title would remain vacant.
But the 2019 Super Series regulation, applied because of the impossibility of an equally gruelling rematch before the end of the year, provides a huge incentive for both men to keep fighting flat out to the finish.
Good news for the packed 02 crowd and the television viewers on Sky Sports Box Office, albeit a demanding prospect for two world class fighters if either or both believe they are ahead in the judging.
Battle between Taylor and Prograis is also the final of the World Boxing Super Series
Edinburgh’s Tartan Tornado and the New Orleans native nicknamed Rougarou are each considered the best light-welter in the world by different ranking organisations. That they are the two best is beyond rational dispute.
The bookies are having a hard time splitting them. Paddy Power make Prograis the 8-13 on favourite, Taylor an 11-5 shot.
Most significantly in view of the particular piece of history they could find themselves making the odds on a draw are 20-l, significantly shorter than the 33-1 which is the average for most world title fights.
Both their unbeaten records feature high knock-out ratios, Prograis at 83.3 per cent with 20 stoppages in 24 fights, Taylor on 80 % from 13 KOs in 15 wins.
Most of the boxing fraternity see it as 50-50, while their own respective predictions ooze confidence.
Taylor says: ‘I will knock him out to prove I’m the best in the world in this division.’
Prograis responded: ‘He can’t beat me. This will be the victory which makes me world famous.’
* In the early 1900s an attempt to resolve draws was made by boxing correspondents at ringside reaching concensus on a winner and collectively printing their ‘Newspaper Decision.’ A majority of the public recognised that verdict but the official result remained a draw in the records of the National Sporting Club in London, the principal governing body at the time.
Boxing historians can wallow three centuries deep into the origins of the hardest game with a book recording the life and ancient times of the original Jewish hero of the bare-knuckle ring.
Daniel Mendoza was champion of England from 1792 to 1795. As such he improved the perception, self-pride and standards of life for many Jewish people in this country.
As an accomplished writer, his own memoirs were perhaps the first sports auto-biography ever penned. Wynn Wheldon’s exhaustive research has produced only the second book about this remarkable character, one set in the sepia England of his age. It is a fascinating boxing curiosity.
*The Fighting Jew (The Life and Times of Daniel Mendoza), by Wynn Wheldon, Amberley Publishing, £20