New Faces: Oscar Negrete
Hometown: Tierralta, Colombia
Weight class: bantamweight
Height / reach: 5-foot-5 (165 cm)/ 67 inches (170 cm)
Amateur record: 190-25
Turned pro: 2013
Pro record: 13-0, 5 knockouts
Trainer: Jose Santa Cruz
Manager: Cesar Garcia and Silvio Malagon
Promoter: Golden Boy Promotions
Best night of pro career: In early March, Negrete (pronounced Neg-ret-ay) fought Neftali Campos (11-0, 9 KOs) and won a shutout decision on all three scorecards. Unsurprisingly, he views it as his best performance to date.
“My last fight against and undefeated fighter,” Negrete told RingTV.com through Cecilia Zuniga of Golden Boy Promotions. “I felt l dominated every single round.”
Worst night of pro career: Last February, Negrete failed to live up to his “Jaguar” nickname, struggling with his 5-3 opponent before ultimately winning a six round split decision.
“My worst performance was against Fernando Fuentes,” he said. “I felt really slow, I felt tired in the second round, I felt sluggish. I think it a lot of it had to do with how I started cutting weight and when I ate after the weigh in instead of eating something healthy I gave into cravings and had something heavy and greasy.
“I definitely made sure to look back on the fight and remember I how I felt and made those adjustments moving forward to make sure I start the weight cutting process at a specific time and make sure I’m continually eating healthy.”
Next fight: Negrete heads back to his home away from homes, the Belasco Theatre in Los Angeles, for the sixth consecutive time when he faces Jose Bustos in a scheduled eight-round main event.
“I know Jose Bustos and the kind of fighter he is,” he explained. “I’ve seen him before, he’s a boxer that’s very strong, always well prepared, he’s the kind of fighter who will attack and come forward. He’s not an easy opponent by any means and I’m definitely ready for anything he brings to the table on July 1.”
The 24-year-old Bustos sports a record of 11-6-3, 7 KOs. He’s currently on a three fight winning streak – all by KO – since a four-fight losing sequence. Bustos has dropped decisions to Frank De Alba (UD 8) and Lamont Roach Jr. (UD 6) and been stopped by Christopher Diaz (RTD 6) and Dennis Galarza (TKO 1).
Although Negrete will be widely favored to win, a stoppage would be impressive.
Why he’s a prospect: Negrete had an extensive amateur career. He was 2010 South American games champion, and runner up in the Central American and Caribbean games the same year. He also won the Bolivian games in 2009.
He fought at the 2007 and 2009 World Championships but failed to medal. The Colombian attempted to fight at the 2012 Olympics in Rio but lost in the qualifying rounds to highly-touted Oscar Valdez.
He’s gained valuable experience sparring regularly with Leo Santa Cruz as well as Daniel Ponce De Leon and Giovani Segura.
RingTV.com editor Doug Fischer has commentated on several of Negrete’s fights for RingTV Live and knows him well.
“He gets good sparring with Leo, that’s as good as it gets, it gets you ready for power and pressure,” said Fischer. “He’s a pretty good all-around athlete.
“Negrete is a lot like Yonnhy Perez [former IBF bantamweight titleholder in 2009-2010, also from Colombia], whose conditioning was crazy and he threw a lot punches. But Negrete has more talent, he’s light on his feet, he can stick and move, he’s got much better hand speed. I don’t think he hits as hard as Yonnhy Perez but he can match Yonnhy Perez in the volume department.
“One thing [Jose] Santa Cruz has instilled in him is a body attack. He breaks guys down to the body. He’s going to win fights by out-boxing or outworking an opponent. As the class of his opposition increases, he’s not going to be able to outbox everybody he’s going to have to get in the trenches and he can do that, his work rate is better than the average professional fighter, even for his weight class.”
Negrete feels his biggest strength to be his aggression: “I’m an attacking fighter, I’m always coming forward, even when I’m moving away I’m also attacking, throwing shots walking away.”
Fischer feels this is the last mid-level opponent Negrete will face before Golden Boy start to make their move with him.
“By the end of the year, they’re going to toss him in with a top contender,” he said. “Then they’re going to target a champion in 2017.”
Why he’s a suspect: Negrete isn’t the most obviously talented fighter but what he lacks in skill he makes up for in work rate.
“His problem is he’s not very big even for a bantamweight,” said Fischer. “He’s not physically imposing, his strength is average and his power is average, he’s got to rely on volume. Most standouts from Colombia they can crack.
“He can be in good fights but he’s not going to blow people away with his natural talent. He’s not one of these blue-chip amateur standouts.”
Negrete feels he wants to concentrate on working to the body.
Story lines: Negrete grew up in a large family of five children (three boys and two girls). His father Felipe was the main bread winner, while his mother was a housewife. The elder Negrete earned money as a boxing trainer and soon brought all of his children to the gym to train.
“My father loves the sport, all three of the boys became boxers,” he explained. “I remember I was around 8 years old when I began. I started liking the sport when I was 12 years old.”
Negrete didn’t always love the sport. He stepped away, albeit briefly: “I had told my dad I didn’t want to train anymore, all I did was go to school and train. I realized after a couple of days of not training I missed boxing.”
His family was poor, living off his father’s wage as a trainer, however, he simply says, “Things were tough but we survived.”
Initially, Negrete’s older brother boxed professional but had to retire with a hand injury. His younger brother also boxed but for the national team but after a spell in the military, he never returned to the sport. His two sisters also boxed in their youth.
He says his boxing hero is Julio Cesar Chavez Sr.
Negrete signed with Golden Boy in 2014 and has lived in Rosemead, California for the past three years. He has a girlfriend but maintains his commitment to boxing.
“I love boxing and am 100 percent committed to the sport,” he said. “I am committed to being a big figure in the sport not only in Colombia but also internationally.
“I want to win a world championship, that’s my first goal, second goal would be to defend it. To make history and fight the biggest names in my weight class. I want to fight [Roman] Chocolatito [Gonzalez], I want to win, I want my name to be recognized as a fighter who has defeated other good fighters and known as one of the best.”
Away from boxing, he enjoys relaxing at the beach, going to seafood restaurants eating his favorite foods and going up into the mountains riding four-wheelers.
May 24 – Cristian Ciciliano – UD 4
June 28 – Ramon Barboza – UD 4
Oct. 8 – Jesus Domenech – SD 6
June 6 – Pablo Cupul – RTD 2
July 9 – Carlos Medina – UD 4
Sept. 11 – Gabriel Braxton – TKO 1
Oct. 10 – Salvador Perez – TKO 2
Feb. 27 – Fernando Fuentes – SD 6
May 7 – Luis Maldonado – Tech. Dec. 5
July 2 – Ramiro Robles – UD 8
Sept. 18 – Jose Estrella – RTD 6
Dec. 4 – Ernesto Guerrero – KO 3
Mar. 4 – Neftali Campos – UD 8