Mon. Dec 4th, 2023

The much respected, all-action Colombian boxer Oscar ‘The Jaguar’ Negrete announced his retirement from the ring on Thursday. Speaking to the hosts of Boxeo de Colombia (while wrapping Deiner Berrio’s hands ahead of his matchup with Juan Pablo Romero on Ring City USA’s fight card in West Point), Negrete stated. “Today… on the microphones of Boxing in Colombia, I am officially retiring as a boxer.”

Negrete is best known for his fantastic, back-to-back-to-back trilogy with Joshua Franco. Their first fight in October 2018 ended in a disputed split draw. The rubber match six months later resulted in Negrete’s second career loss, a split decision that went against him. Four months later, and less than a year removed from their first showdown, the judges once again could not split the two. No fourth matchup was to come; I’d have happily watched another 30 rounds of high paced in-fighting, but presumably neither wanted to try for that inevitable third draw.

Prior to his participation in one of the most enjoyable trilogies in recent memory, Negrete challenged for Rey Vargas’ WBC junior featherweight title in 2017, but was comprehensively out-pointed in his first career loss.

He fought twice more after his last draw with Franco, first with Argentinian amateur star Alberto Melian in February 2020. In what was now something of a theme in Negrete’s career, this too was a rematch. Negrete beat Melian for the gold medal in the 2010 South American Games a decade earlier, and left little doubt as to who was better in their pro match, outclassing the younger Melian in what was a fun but ultimately one-sided fight.

Negrete’s final fight came in February of this year against the streaking (and much larger) Ronny Rios in a weight class that he hadn’t competed in since losing to Rey Vargas over three years earlier. The Jaguar lasted the ten-round distance, but simply couldn’t seem to give Rios the kind of fits Negrete’s opponents had come to expect, partly due to an eye injury that previously nixed a matchup with Jason Moloney.

“Since I had an eye injury, the doctors let me know that they recommend that I retire. I told my promoter when I lost to Ronny Rios, I could not fight loose, I could not see the same ‘Jaguar,’ aggressive and come forward, you kill me or I kill you. I was more careful thinking about my eye. I cannot risk my health if I am not 100%, so I prefer to retire and focus 100% on my process as a manager and as a coach.”

Just like he did in his fighting career, I’m sure Negrete will elevate the sport and bring along the next generation of Colombian fighters as a coach and manager.

“Every time I go into the ring I would go up well prepared and I would go up to give everything. Every time you saw that I fought, you know that lose or win you will always lift the name of Colombia aloft. The objective of crowning us world champion were not met, but I am satisfied that my name in boxing is respected.”

Oscar Negrete has been one of my favourite fighters to watch over the past several years, and I know I’ll miss him in the ring. But I’m also glad to see him prioritize his health and retire after what was a very fan-friendly career. Best wishes to Oscar, we hope that he enjoys his retirement and transition to managing and coaching.

By senior