By Keith Idec
Joshua Franco and Oscar Negrete went at it in another very competitive fight Saturday night.
For the third time in less than 10 months, though, virtually nothing was resolved. The bantamweight rivals settled for another 10-round split draw, this time on the Vergil Ortiz Jr.-Antonio Orozco undercard in The Theatre at Grand Prairie in Grand Prairie, Texas.
Judge Jesse Reyes scored their fight for Franco, 96-94. Judge Javier Martinez had it by the same score, 96-94, but in Negrete’s favor.
Judge David Iacobucci scored the action even, 95-95, which rendered their third fight a split draw.
Unofficial CompuBox punch statistics showed how closely this fight was contested.
According to CompuBox, Franco landed 34 more overall punches (251-of-832 to 217-of-1,018). Franco barely landed more power punches, though (201-of-514 to 197-of-820).
Franco (15-1-2, 7 KOs) and Negrete (18-2-2, 7 KOs) each had hoped to separate himself from his opponent in this third straight bout between them.
They boxed to a 10-round split draw October 18 in Costa Mesa, California. San Antonio’s Franco edged Negrete by split decision in their 10-round rematch April 25 in Indio, California.
The Colombian-born Negrete, of Rosemead, California, feels he clearly deserved to win their rematch, which was why their third fight was made.
The eighth, ninth and 10th rounds were back-and-forth periods in which each fighter landed his fair share of power shots. As was the case for most of their competitive bout, Negrete came forward for much of those three minutes.
Negrete’s left hook caught Franco during a high-volume exchange late in the seventh round. Early in the seventh round, Negrete’s short left landed as Franco attempted to hold him.
A right hand by Negrete backed Franco against the ropes with about a minute to go in the sixth round.
Franco was the busier, better boxer in throughout the fifth round, though Negrete caught Franco with a straight right hand late in that round.
Cole warned both boxers just after the midway point of the fourth round for throwing low blows. Negrete landed two hard right hands in the final minute of the fourth round, but Franco landed a straight right hand and a left hook that got Negrete’s attention.
Negrete caught Franco with a left hook to the body and then a left hook to the head early in the second round. Several seconds later, a perfect right uppercut by Negrete buzzed Franco and made him move away from his aggressive opponent.
Franco recovered later in the second round and landed a few power punches of his own before it ended.
Negrete applied pressure for much of the first round. He landed a right uppercut in that opening round, which backed up Franco.
In the bout before Franco defeated Negrete, unbeaten lightweight prospect Hector Tanajara Jr. picked apart Ezequiel Aviles and won their 10-rounder by unanimous decision.
San Antonio’s Tanajara (18-0, 5 KOs) used distance, his jab and right uppercuts to comfortably beat Mexico’s Aviles (16-4-3, 6 KOs). All three judges scored each of the 10 rounds for the younger, taller Tanajara, who won by the same score, 100-90, on each of their cards.
Tanajara, 22, called out fellow lightweight prospect Ryan Garcia during his post-fight interview.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.