An apparent mistake by referee Luis Pabon probably cost Lamont Roach Jr. a decision victory over Orlando Cruz on Thursday in a bout that was ruled a 10-round draw.
The fight headlined a Golden Boy on ESPN card at the Coliseo De Puerto Rico in San Juan.
It was a close, uneventful bout between junior lightweight counterpunchers until the ninth round, when Roach, 22, connected with a left hook to Cruz's head.
Cruz, 39, staggered and then fell to the floor. It appeared to be a clean knockdown, but Pabon ruled it was a slip.
It was a tactical match between a pair of cagey fighters, both of whom seemed reluctant to engage.
Cruz (25-6-2, 18 KOs), a southpaw, seemed slightly ahead after six rounds, but Roach (16-0-1, 6 KOs) began to let his hands go more down the stretch, as Cruz moved and showboated for the hometown crowd.
Cruz, a native of San Juan, celebrated as if he had won when the stalemate verdict was announced. Roach, of Upper Marlboro, Maryland, appeared to be disappointed, but Cruz's slick style gave the unbeaten prospect more problems than anticipated.
In the co-feature, Jose "Wonder Boy" Lopez won a unanimous 10-round decision over Miguel Angel Gonzalez by scores of 97-93, 99-91 and 99-91 in a junior lightweight bout.
Lopez (20-2-1, 14 KOs), a 24-year-old from Carolina, Puerto Rico, utilized his superior boxing skills to thwart a determined effort by Gonzalez (21-4, 19 KOs), a 22-year-old from Los Mochis, Mexico.
Gonzalez, who suffered a cut over his left eye in the opening round, pinned Lopez on the ropes numerous times and dug both hands to the body.
After a few rounds, however, the Mexican's punches seemed to lose power, and Lopez surged ahead, countering effectively from long range.
In the TV opener, middleweight Magdiel Cotto, of Comerio, Puerto Rico, won a majority six-round decision over Elie Augustama, of Miami. Augustama (6-8, 3 KOs) fought hard but was outworked by Cotto (9-0, 7 KOs). The scores were 57-57, 58-56 and 58-56.