By: Sean Crose
Sometimes it just pays to play it smart rather than trying to please everyone. Although Danielito Zorrilla didn’t manage to life the WBC junior welterweight crown off the head of champion Regis Prograis Saturday night at New Orlean’s Smoothie Center, the crafty challenger posed quite a challenge for the defending champion. The fact that he did so in front of Prograis’ hometown New Orleans crowd made Zorrilla’s defensive minded strategy all the more impressive.
Prograis actually seemed to go down in the first, though it was ruled a slip. A flash shot from Prograis, on the other hand, knocked Zarrilla down in third. Those were the highlights of a rather subdued fight. Yet boxing isn’t a brawl and the unheralded Zarrilla went to New Orleans to win rather than to simply grab himself a pretty paycheck. By employing a strategy of avoidance, the challenger was able to keep Prograis from launching an effective assaults while landing some good shots of his own. Not that Prograis performed badly. He didn’t. He simply didn’t look spectacular. Indeed, Prograis only ended up winning by split decision.
No matter. The fighter known as “Rougarou” can now move on to other competition – perhaps big name competition like Teofimo Lopez – now that he technically took care of business on Saturday evening. Prograis said after the fight that he knew he had some things to work on, and that may be true. To argue that Prograis was somehow exposed by the widely unknown Zarrilla, however, seems like a bit of a stretch. All fighters have tough nights, and Zarrilla provided a tough night for Prograis Saturday through footwork and sharp shooting. If only the man had thrown more, the result may have proven to be different.
The fight was what it was, however, a contest where one fighter was willing to bore the crowd to win. It’s not a pretty strategy, but it can be effective. It just wasn’t effective enough for Zarrilla on Saturday night in New Orleans.
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