By Francisco Salazar
No more wild hooks and crosses from Oscar Negrete.
That was Negrete early on in his career. The current Negrete sets up his combinations and breaks down his opponents.
That is what happened Friday night as Negrete dissected Frias for eight rounds, eventually getting the knockout win at the Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio, California.
Negrete remains unbeaten, improving to 17-0, with seven knockouts. Frias falls to 19-7-2, with 10 KOs.
The Colombia-born Negrete, who resides the Los Angeles suburb of Rosemead, has steadily improved as a fighter, thanks in part to trainer Manuel 'Manny' Robles, who also trains Oscar Valdez, Jessie Magdaleno, and Michael Conlan.
Negrete was coming off a one-sided eight round decision over Victor Ruiz on May 5 in Las Vegas.
Frias, who hails from Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico had not fought since July 16, when he knocked out former two-time world titleholder Vic Darchinyan in the biggest win of his career.
From the opening bell, Negrete was the more-effective fighter, walking down and scoring to the head and body of Frias. His aggression and accuracy paid off as a series of body punches forced Negrete to take a knee near the ropes with about 40 seconds left in round three.
To his credit, Frias attempted to mount some offense during the midway point of the fight. That rally was short-lived as Negrete outboxed Frias, battering him with each passing round. Frias' punch output dropped considerably, especially in the eighth round when Negrete landed several shots to the head.
After consulting with a ringside physician, Frias' corner saw enough, telling referee Thomas Taylor that Frias would not come out for round nine.
Negrete was scheduled to face unbeaten Randy Caballero Friday night, but Caballero had to withdraw from the fight earlier this month due to an injury to his right ankle suffered during training camp.
Negrete still wants to face Caballero later this year.
"I knew I was winning the fight," said Negrete after the fight. "It was more of waiting for either the knockout to come about or get the unanimous decision. I felt that my jabs were most effective because our team noticed (through videos of previous fights) he doesn't move his head well."
"I want Caballero next."
In the co-feature, unbeaten lightweight Ryan Martin won a one-sided 10 round decision over Marcos Jimenez.
Martin goes to 19-0, with 11 KOs, while Jimenez drops to 22-8, with 15 KOs.
Martin, who is co-trained by Joe Delguyd and Abel Sanchez, dominated the action from the opening bell. The Chattanooga, Tennessee native ripped combinations to the head and body of Jimenez, who was content to throw one punch at a time.
All three judges scored the bout 100-90 in favor of Martin, who is managed by Tim VanNewhouse.
"He was a tough, defensive fighter," said Martin after the fight. "It was hard for me to get him to open up because he would only throw a shot once he knew he could land it clean. He took a lot of powerful punches."
Welterweight KeAndre Gibson (17-1-1, with 7 KOs) won an eight round unanimous decision over Dennis Dauti (14-3, with 7 KOs). Scores were 80-72, 79-73, and 77-75 in favor of Gibson, who hails from St. Louis, Missouri.
Lightweight Damon Allen won a six round technical decision over former world titleholder Gamaliel Diaz (40-17-3, with 19 KOs). The bout One judge scored the bout 57-56 for Diaz, while the other two judges scored the bout 58-55 and 57-56 for Allen, who improves to 12-0-1, with 5 KOs.
Junior lightweight Lamont Roach (14-0, with 5 KOs) won a hard-fought 10 round unanimous decision over Jesus Valdez (20-3-1, with 9 KOs).
Francisco A. Salazar has written for Boxingscene.com since September of 2013 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (Calif.) Star newspaper, RingTV.com, and Knockout Nation. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing