ESPN2 results: Oscar Negrete and Joshua Franco fight to an exciting draw
After 10 great rounds of sustained action, Oscar “El Jaguar” Negrete and Joshua “The Professor” Franco fought to a split-draw (96-4, 94-96, 95-95) on Thursday night and them settling the score will be something to look forward to.
In the main event of a Golden Boy Promotions card on ESPN2, Negrete (1,111) and Franco (1,146) combined for the second-most punches thrown in the history of the bantamweight division, according to CompuBox. 701 short of breaking the mark of 2,958 punches thrown between Yohnny Perez and Joseph Agbeko in October of 2009 but any semblance of history wasn’t really expected to made, even though this was pitted as a competitive fight.
“One more round,” Negrete proclaimed in the post-fight interview with ESPN’s Bernardo Osuna. Franco, replied, “I don’t know; look what I did to his face.”
Negrete, a 31-year-old from Tierralta, Colombia, may’ve ended up with the most noticeable affliction – a mouse under the right eye – but he dictated the pace of the action in the first few rounds. He focused on the body in the opening round and backed up Franco for the first time in the second round with a big right hand but in the third round, Negrete was starting to outwork his younger foe by sheer effort. In that round, both fighters threw over 130 punches and it sparked an already good fight into a great one, as both would eclipse triple digits in shots thrown in six of the next seven rounds.
Franco, a 22-year-old from San Antonio, Texas, had moments of looking overwhelmed, as Negrete would rarely take a break coming forward, but, late in the fourth and into the fifth, he started implementing a left hook to the body that became the catalyst to his success late in the fight. Of course, it wasn’t just that shot Franco would score seemingly every eight punches or so. In the fifth, left hooks started marking up Negrete’s face and, once he had his best round of the fight, at that point, Franco slowed his hardnosed rival just enough to bring out his skills. Franco became the ring general, starting in the seventh, in which Negrete took some big right hands consecutively and proved himself to be tough. Although neither man was seriously wobbled in the fight, Negrete was certainly taking the biggest punches, as Franco used his feet to deliver some sly combos often highlighted by an uppercut. As sharp as Franco was landing in comparison to him, Negrete wasn’t going anywhere and, regardless of the many shots he missed, he willed the final round to seem close, which was true testament to at least half of the rounds fought.
Franco, 14-1-1 (7), seemed disappointed with the result after proving to have landed the better shots, after all those punches thrown, and be as well conditioned to partake in a fight of this nature. Negrete, 18-1-1 (7), seemed content, as he was able to keep his regional belt afterward. The fight was good enough for Golden Boy Promotions to post on its YouTube page just minutes after it ended on ESPN2. Surely they are happy after helping produce a great action fight between two of their own and the luxury that comes with selling a now highly-anticipated rematch.
Puerto Rican junior welterweight prospect Danielito “Zorro” Zorrilla got a chance to showcase himself on ESPN2 and went on to force a stoppage of Dakota Linger in the second round of a fight scheduled for eight.
Zorrilla, 9-0 (8), patiently stalked his prey before letting his hands go and getting the predictable result. Several left hands in a row battered Linger into a corner and a final shot would’ve dropped him, hadn’t the turnbuckle kept him on his feet. Linger, 10-1-2 (6), entered the fight unbeaten but just on the optics of their technique, one could tell he didn’t belong in the ring with the touted 24-year-old from Rio Piedras. After receiving a standing eight-count from referee Thomas Taylor, Linger stood there with a bloody nose, opened mouth and a leaning body wanting to fall in any direction. That’s when Taylor propped him up with a hug and rightfully waved the fight off.
In the opening bout of the ESPN2 card, Jousce Gonzalez and Ivan Delgado fought to a majority draw after six rounds of rough and rugged junior lightweight action.
Referee Raul Caiz Jr. had to earn his paycheck in this one, as he constantly had to either break up the tied-up prospects or warn both for their extracurriculars. Gonzalez, 8-0-1 (8), was constantly finding the back of his opponent’s head early in the fight, while Delgado, 12-1-2 (5), leaned in with his head plenty, starting in the middle of the fight and was slick with his holds and clinches. Neither fighter really took control of the fight and both were left with the first of two fair draws.