Ronny Rios resumed his commendable comeback Saturday night from his knockout loss to Azat Hovhannisyan nearly three years ago.
Rios relentlessly attacked Oscar Negrete’s body, landed the harder punches throughout their bout and impressively won a 10-round unanimous decision at Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio, California. The re-emerging junior featherweight contender convincingly beat the game Negrete on the scorecards of judges Rudy Barragan (99-91), Lou Moret (100-90) and Fernando Villarreal (100-90).
DAZN streamed Rios’ win as part of the Joseph Diaz Jr.-Shavkatdzhon Rakhimov undercard.
The 31-year-old Rios (33-3, 16 KOs), of Santa Ana, California, is 4-0 since Hovhannisyan knocked him out in the sixth round in March 2018. He fought for the first time Saturday night since November 2019.
Colombia’s Negrete (19-3-2, 7 KOs) moved back up to the junior featherweight limit of 122 pounds to face Rios. The 33-year-old veteran’s previous five fights, including his entertaining trilogy with Joshua Franco, were contested at the bantamweight limit of 118 pounds.
Negrete has never been knocked out.
His only losses before Saturday night were a 10-round split decision to Joshua Franco and a 12-round unanimous decision to Rey Vargas. Negrete fought Vargas at the 122-pound limit as well because he got a shot at Vargas’ WBC super bantamweight title.
Though way ahead on the cards, Rios didn’t let up in the 10th and final round, when he continued unloading on Negrete.
Rios landed a right uppercut and then a straight right during an exchange in the ninth round. By then it was obvious Negrete needed a knockout he doesn’t possess the power to produce.
Rios remained busy during a productive eighth round in which he threw several effective combinations.
Rios blasted Negrete with multiple lefts to his body just before the midway mark of the seventh round. Negrete waved Rios forward, but he clearly was impacted by those thudding shots.
Rios rocked Negrete with a sweeping right hand to his head later in the seventh round.
Negrete was active in the fifth and sixth rounds, but he couldn’t stop Rios from firing combinations to his body and head. Rios really let his hands go during the second half of the sixth round and caught Negrete with several left hooks to the body and right hands to the head.
Rios looked sharp again during the fourth round, when he landed numerous left hooks to Negrete’s body. Negrete kept coming forward, but his punches didn’t affect Rios.
Rios spent much of the third round viciously unloading body shots on Negrete. His left hook up top caught Negrete at the halfway point of that third round as well.
Negrete and Rios traded hard shots for much of the first half of the second round. Rios’ right hand to the side of Negrete’s head made Negrete back away from him with 1:15 to go in the second round.
Later in the second round, Rios snuck a left hook to the body around Negrete’s guard that made Negrete wince.
Hernandez warned Rios for a low blow with just under a minute to go in the first round. That didn’t stop Rios from firing more body shots until the opening round ended.
Rios backed Negrete into the ropes and unloaded hard shots to his body and head 1:15 into the opening round.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing