Julius Indongo’s career is possibly over, his manager Michael Carter said in a cryptic Facebook post following a destructive knock-out loss against American Regis Prograis in Deadwood, South Dakota on Friday.
Prograis dropped a hapless Indongo four times on his way to an impressive second-round KO and the interim WBC super lightweight title, condemning the Namibian to a second successive high-profile defeat in as many fights.
The 29-year-old Prograis (21-0, 18 KO) demolished the once-feared Blue Machine (34) even faster than compatriot Terence Crawford did during their unification bout in August last year when he won inside three rounds, leaving Indongo briefly hospitalised.
Referee Ian John-Lewis waved an end to the fight once Indongo hit the canvas for the third time in the second round at two minutes 54 seconds.
Indongo was released from hospital after undergoing multiple exams for head trauma, said Carter, who strongly hinted at ditching the Namibian fighter barely five months after luring him from his natural habitat, the MTC Sunshine Academy.
“As of this time, medically, he is fine and should recover completely from his injuries. As you can imagine, he is emotionally down right now, as anyone would be,” Carter said Saturday morning on his Facebook account, before adding that he was uncertain whether Indongo (22-2, 11 KO) should continue fighting after his latest setback.
“Whether we ever see him in the ring again is really not important in the eyes of Team Indongo. What’s more important is that he recovers completely. If he chooses to walk away from boxing, we will support his decision to the fullest,” said Carter.
“If not, we will support him as well. Nothing that happened last night can take away what he has already accomplished inside the boxing ring. Once a world champion, always a world champion.
“So, if this indeed is the end of his career, our team is nothing but proud of our Namibian brother and warrior, who has represented his country with the highest level of consideration. I personally have never been around an elite level athlete who was more dedicated and committed to improve himself than Julius Indongo. He is the true definition of the word champion, both inside and outside the ring,” Carter stated.
It is a rude awakening for Indongo, who, along with his close buddy and trainer Immanuel ‘AC’ Moses, dumped long-time mentor and promoter Nestor Tobias to pursue the American dream with Carter’s The Carter Connect and DiBella Entertainment after defeat to Crawford.
When Indongo left the MTC Sunshine Academy behind under a cloud, which included a lawsuit, he envisioned being at the pinnacle of the sport in the land considered the mecca of boxing, given its commercial clout.
However, if anything, he has stagnated, and is nowhere near the world beater that Tobias sensationally led to the WBA, IBF, and IBO titles between 2016 and 2017.
Tobias and Indongo reportedly fell out over the uneven distribution of purse monies, while the boxer also blamed his loss to Crawford on his former trainer, whom he felt was tactically wanting.
On Friday, it appeared as if the lethargic Indongo’s game plan was to swing wildly, leave himself open and let Prograis have a field day, to which the American duly obliged.
“I felt his punches, he couldn’t punch, he couldn’t hurt me. I got a little reckless, but I got the job done, I can’t complain,” Prograis said. “I haven’t been able to show my full arsenal yet. I haven’t had an opponent who can bring it out of me. I get paid the same thing for the first round or the 12th round, so I might as well get them out early.”
A crushing second career defeat may have signalled the end for Indongo’s boxing career and his short stay in the USA, Carter suggested.
“From Team Indongo to Julius ‘Blue Machine’ Indongo, it has been nothing less than a sheer pleasure to have had the experience. You have nothing to hang your head about because you gave it your all each and every time you competed because that’s what real champions do. Salute,” said Carter.
“That’s why I know Julius will pick himself up, and become even more a source of pride to Namibians than ever before, even if it is outside the ring,” Carter continued.
“That being said, just as the sun has risen this morning, so too will Julius. You see, to become a world champion of anything, especially in boxing, there is something special about a person, which really has nothing to do with their skills in the sport.
“It has to do with their internal fortitude and spirit to separate themselves from everyone else, and become the best. This character trait transcends the sport, and usually carries over into all aspects of their life.
“Julius’ boxing career was never about Julius, it was about his desire to use his success to improve the conditions of his people back home in Namibia. That’s why he trained until his feet bled and his hands hurt, because he had a purpose that transcended boxing. I am sure that purpose will never die,” said Carter.