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Prograis vs Taylor: Staff picks and predictions

Regis Prograis and Josh Taylor meet in a highly-anticipated 140-pound showdown.

Regis Prograis v Josh Taylor - World Boxing Super Series Super-Lightweight Ali Trophy Final: Press Conference Photo by James Chance/Getty Images

The 140-pound World Boxing Super Series concludes on Saturday, as Regis Prograis faces Josh Taylor in a main event streaming live on DAZN, plus Dereck Chisora vs David Price and Ricky Burns vs Lee Selby.

Our staffers make their picks.

Ricky Burns vs Lee Selby

Scott Christ

Rick Sterko rides again! Burns won his fight about a year ago with Scott Cardle, which gives some hope that at 36, the Scotsman isn’t quite washed yet, but you have to account for two things: that was a year ago, and Cardle isn’t that good. Then there’s Selby, the former featherweight titleholder who jumped to 135 earlier this year and had some struggles with Omar Douglas.

So I think this is intriguing because of the flaws, Burns’ age vs Selby perhaps not really being a lightweight. I like Ricky Burns, he’s a real fighting man who came up short twice at regional title level before winning world titles in three weight classes. He’s a guy you just don’t count out. And I think Selby’s a good boxer, if perhaps not the wizard he once believed himself to be. I think this will be tight, and that good early work from Selby may end up being the difference. I could see him building a healthy lead before fading a bit down the stretch, surviving the 12 and winning a narrow decision. If Sterko were a bigger puncher, I might think differently. Selby MD-12

Wil Esco

I don’t know how much the ‘Rickster’ still has left in the tank, but I’m sure we’re going to find out in this outing. At 36 years old Ricky Burns has proven to be another European level fighter that isn’t quite good enough to contend at the top of the sport. But his opponent, Lee Selby, isn’t quite there himself. Selby is one win removed from a split decision loss to Josh Warrington last year, while Burns has won against two lesser opponents since dropping a decision to Anthony Crolla.

To me this fight, while I think will be an interesting matchup, will mostly come down to which fighter is a bit fresher and prepared to be more active. Based on what I’ve seen as of late, I’ve got to give that edge to Selby. Selby is a few years younger, taken less punishment, and I think has more fight left in him than Burns. Ultimately I think Selby will use that to his advantage to outwork Burns over the distance and take a decision. Selby UD-12

Patrick L. Stumberg

I was honestly struck by how many punches Selby took from Omar Douglas last time out; for a supposed slickster, he had all kinds of trouble keeping a powerful-but-basic slugger at bay until Douglas’ gas tank ran out. Add in the fact that he could barely crack an egg against featherweights and you have a recipe for a very short and unpleasant run at lightweight.

Burns isn’t that style of bruiser, of course, but he’s still accurate and showed some pop against Scott Cardle last time out. Plus, his edges in height and reach will give Selby fits on the outside, made worse by the power discrepancy. Though I wouldn’t be too surprised if Selby out-sped him, the gap in physicality looks to be too much for him. Burns secures the decision with more eye-catching blows. Burns UD-12

Lewis Watson

Burns has been written off by many in the sport, but without really looking shot, the Scot may have picked the perfect dance partner to continue an Indian Summer at lightweight. Selby is still new at this weight and despite being the slicker boxer-mover between the two, we’ve seen him hurt and cut in recent outings. Burns is full of experience and could well “old man” Selby as he drags the Welshman into a fight he’d rather avoid.

Selby should start strong, but Burns will dig in down the stretch, potentially nicking a tight one on the cards. This one will surely go the distance. Burns SD-12

And the staff winner is...

We have a draw (2-2)!

Dereck Chisora vs David Price

Scott Christ

The big problem with this “rebirth” for David Price’s career is that it’s built on a win over Dave Allen. I think we all like Dave Allen. I like Dave Allen, anyway. As a personality he’s one of my favorite guys in recent memory. But Allen is a tough also-ran in the heavyweight division, and there was perhaps too much credit given to him knocking out Nick Webb or body shotting a dunzo Lucas Browne. Everyone picked Allen to win against Price, largely on the basis that Price simply can’t take a shot, and also with the belief that Allen might actually throw punches, which he didn’t.

Chisora is not Dave Allen. While Chisora is not elite, he usually lets his hands go and can be a handful for even top guys. That’s terrible news for Price. Even if this is one of those nights where Chisora is in a sort of sour or disinterested mood and doesn’t press much, he will get to Price at some point, and the big man’s chin and gas tank remain huge issues until he proves otherwise against someone who’s actually throwing back. This is a big chance for David, but I can’t see him making it two upsets in a row. Chisora TKO-4

Wil Esco

This fight isn’t nearly as tough for me to pick as Prograis-Taylor, thankfully. David Price has proven to be a big puncher with a highly questionable motor. He’s had a seriously up and down career since 2013, twice getting stopped by Tony Thompson, knocked out by Erkan Teper, Christian Hammer, and Alexander Povetkin, and then getting stopped by Sergey Kuzmin last year. All that had me convinced that Price wasn’t a serious title contender or anything, but he did manage to at least prove me wrong against David Allen over the summer, scoring the stoppage win.

Now to be clear, I didn’t pick Allen to win because I thought he was some great fighter, but rather as a function of how washed up I thought Price was. Clearly Price still has some fight left in him, but I don’t think he’s really able to compete with Dereck Chisora. Chisora, of course, has fallen short at the top levels of the sport himself several times, but I think he’s proven to at least be on a class just above Price. With Chisora’s pressure style, he’ll have to be careful to not get reckless and walk into big shots from Price early, when he’s the most dangerous. And if Chisora is able to pull that off, I see him breaking down Price fairly quickly because I don’t think Price will physically be able to maintain the pace Chisora will set for him. I’m going to take Chisora by mid-rounds stoppage. Chisora TKO-6

Patrick L. Stumberg

Scott’s preview of this fight honestly sums up my feelings; if Chisora comes out looking to take Price’s head off, there’s not much the latter can do to stop him. If Chisora decides to be patient, he could have issues with the eight-inch reach disadvantage. Historically, though, “Chisora goes to war” is a much safer assumption than “Price fights smart.”

I reiterate my desire to see Price retire sooner rather than later and can only hope that this defeat washes away the false hope generated by his victory over Dave Allen. Price’s inability to keep shorter men off of him rears its ugly head once again as Chisora finds the mark with a gruesome overhand right. Chisora KO-3

Lewis Watson

Well, this should be fun for as long as it lasts. Chisora’s Jekyll and Hyde personality follows him into the ring, with certain fighters bringing the best out of “War” and others causing a snooze-fest. Price should prove to be the former, with Chisora’s heavy artillery primed to trouble the questionable chin of the Liverpudlian.

Price showed he still has plenty in the tank as he boxed Dave Allen’s head off in the summer, but with Chisora bringing the heat inside the O2, Price will have to engage at some point. Chisora has a set of whiskers on him and will be prepared to take a few licks in order to get the stoppage and I can see his looping overhand rights landing perfectly on a man the size of Price. I’d be shocked if we hear the bell for the seventh round in this one, with Chisora revelling in another night at the O2. Chisora KO-5

And the staff winner is...

Dillian Whyte reportedly will not fight Otto Wallin on Oct. 30 Photo by Dan Istitene/Getty Images

Dereck Chisora (4-0)!

Regis Prograis vs Josh Taylor

Scott Christ

We all have favorite fighters, we’re all biased to some degree, and we should be, what fun is watching boxing or any sport without favorites? I’m not a ringside judge or referee, I’m not a promoter or matchmaker, I’m not even a TV commentator. That said, I want to make this clear right now: Regis Prograis is maybe my favorite active fighter in the entire sport. He’s good, he’s fun to watch, he’s charismatic and funny and confident without being an over the top “heel” about it. He’s different than other fighters out there today. How many other boxers have Twitter videos of them jumping into some goddamned alligator swamp in Louisiana? This dude rules.

But I don’t want to discount Josh Taylor’s ability, either. This is a legit top-tier guy at 140, and he does not appear to be some creation of the exuberant UK boxing media machine. Offensively, I think Taylor’s as skilled as Prograis, even if their approaches are very different. I think he may be the more thudding puncher of the two, but Prograis has the more dynamic approach, and maybe has the better defense (he firmly believes that to be the case).

I’m going with Prograis, but I expect this to be ultra competitive and entertaining, to boot. Last week we had Beterbiev-Gvozdyk, this week we have Prograis-Taylor. Not a bad little run for fans. I honestly think this will go to the cards but at some point in a live thread I called for a Prograis stoppage as half a joke, so I’ll stick with that. Prograis TKO-6

Wil Esco

This one’s a double-edged sword for me. On the one hand this might be the fight I’ve been looking forward to the most this year. And on the other hand, I’ve long been dreading making an actual pick on this fight (which in and of itself is telling about how competitively matched it is). Over the years there’s only been a small handful of fighters that have immediately caught my eye as someone to watch, someone I can instinctively recognize as legit. Years ago it was Errol Spence and Terence Crawford, both of whom I served as an early herald, and both who’ve since gone on to prove me right. More recently, it’s been Josh Taylor.

Taylor really had his coming out party against Ohara Davies, a fight where I felt Taylor proved to be one of the best body punchers in the sport. It really wasn’t about the sheer force of his punches though, but rather the timing and placement of his body shots - which I think is pretty underrated altogether. Then on the other hand there’s Regis Prograis, who actually didn’t immediately have my spidey senses tingling but has nonetheless proved himself to be a legitimate talent. That, on top of the way I generally just like the way Prograis conducts himself, made him another fighter easy to root for, and one who quickly grew on me.

So long story short, I’m a fan of both fighters. Prograis might have a little more power, but I think Taylor is far from the one-dimensional boxer that Prograis would make him out to be. Even as I write this I’m still debating the fight in my head because there’s good reason to lean towards each fighter, but because I jumped on the Taylor bandwagon early, I might as well ride this out. I’m going to pick Taylor to edge out a close decision. Taylor MD-12

Patrick L. Stumberg

I’m every bit as excited for this as I was for Beterbiev-Gvozdyk. Once again, we have two undefeated finishers with crowd-pleasing styles and legitimate claims to being the best in their division. Whoever wins will be one fight away from total unification. More of this, please.

Prograis commented earlier this week that he thought little of Josh Taylor’s defense, and I’d come to the same conclusion from watching tape. Though I wouldn’t say that the “Tartan Tornado” has terrible defense or anything, he and Prograis’ respective performances against hard-nosed brawlers in their WBSS semifinal fights definitely suggest that Prograis will have an easier time finding the mark. With such similar levels of firepower, I lean towards the guy who’s likely to eat less of it. Barring hometown shenanigans, Prograis outlands him enough to take the win. Prograis UD-12

Lewis Watson

Taylor is as close to a complete fighter as we have in the UK currently. He’s happy to trade on the inside as well as picking an opponent off at distance and with a malleable style, the Scot is well-equipped to deal with a slippery Prograis.

”Rougarou” will no doubt get success in the fight with his impeccable movement, slipping and timing of shots, but with Taylor’s size an important factor in this fight, I’d be shocked if Josh doesn’t hurt the visitor at some point over these 12 scheduled rounds. A chess match in the opening six could catch fire down the stretch, with Taylor solving a tricky puzzle late on. I wouldn’t be shocked if Josh got the stoppage late on, whilst being down on the cards. Taylor TKO-10

And the staff winner is...

We have a draw (2-2)!

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