The trilogy officially became one with this contest Saturday night, as top Bantamweight contenders 🇺🇸Joshua Franco (15-1-2, 7KO) & 🇨🇴Oscar Negrete (18-2-2, 7KO) set out to make a definitive statement against the other, taking into accord how close the two previous fights were. The way the fight started, it felt like round 21 of the continuation of high-octane action that these two have produced in their contests – safe to say that they were tailor made for each other…
The trilogy is a great staple in boxing, where you can see the best out of each opponent, with a heightened familiarity with one another the longer they each share the ring with their fellow combatant. It is rare when we get trilogies in back-to-back-to back fights such as we have had here, the other standout trilogy to play out this was the 🇮🇹Arturo Gatti vs. 🇮🇪Micky Ward saga which produced 3 fights in a row. As for Negrete/Franco, the official count coming into the fight had the 1st fight rendered a draw, and with Franco eeking out the 2nd fight in another close fight, one that Negrete felt he personally won. The first fight we seen both fighters throw almost 2,300 punches in just 10 rounds of action, and though it wasn’t as active in the second fight, the quality still remained.
The third fight followed suit with those other fights as Franco looked to continue to box mid distance and bouncing outside, using his reach advantage, while Negrete was looking to work inside and come underneath his punches. Negrete hurt Franco early with an uppercut that he pieced in a combo after working the body, and had him staggered but couldn’t quite put him down. Franco never lost his poise or concentration, and started strategically tacking on the points. Throughout the contest, Negrete landed the more visible, thudding blows that seemed to inflict more damage, yet Franco displayed better ring generalship, and in stringing combinations together. Very much like the first 2 fights, there was very little to no separation, and as they got to the 10th and final round (round 30 if you will), the sense was whoever wins this final round may bolster themselves in a position to win the fight. I personally had it 5 – 4 for Negrete after 9 rounds, however Franco won the last round big, which had me tally up another even fight. The judges were in agreement with my assessment, and the fight was officially ruled a draw.
Here we have a trilogy with virtually no separator or a defining moment to cap off their rivalry, a rarity indeed. Following the fight, the 32 year old Negrete said although he would like to explore different options, that he’s down for a 4th fight if they approach him with one. As for the 23 year old Franco (who you can consider a veteran now in the game considering he has a trilogy under his belt, with a seasoned veteran like Franco), stated that he has no desires to fight Negrete again, and is looking to move on to differing opportunities.