LAS VEGAS -- Victor Ortiz and Lamont Peterson fought to a majority draw Saturday night, with Peterson coming back from two knockdowns to keep alive his 140-pound title aspirations.
Also, Joan Guzman remained unbeaten, stopping journeyman Jason Davis in the second round on the undercard of Amir Khan's WBA 140-pound title defense against Marcos Maidana at the Mandalay Bay Events Center.
Ortiz (28-2-2) knocked down Peterson against the ropes twice in the third round and pressured his opponent throughout, while Peterson (28-1-1) did his best work counterpunching against Ortiz's strength.
Ortiz jumped on the ropes in celebration after the 10-round bout, but two judges scored it a 94-94 draw, and a third had Peterson winning 95-93.
"I thought I pulled it off," Ortiz said. "He didn't even hit that hard."
Ortiz threw 457 punches, 126 more than Peterson, but connected with just 21 percent. Ortiz also threw 336 power shots to Peterson's 187, but Peterson connected with 44 percent of those blows to Ortiz's 28 percent.
The bout matched two rising stars whose careers took detours last year. Peterson took his first loss last December in one-sided fashion against junior welterweight champion Timothy Bradley, while Ortiz was on track for a major title shot before Maidana took him apart in a sixth-round stoppage in June 2009.
After the draw, both Ortiz and Peterson are still players in the stacked 140-pound division, but neither will get the immediate boost of a victory. Ortiz, a protege of Golden Boy promoter Oscar De La Hoya, seemed much more frustrated than Peterson, who appeared grateful for the decision.
"I knew the fight was close," Peterson said. "I wanted to try to win as many rounds as I could."
Ortiz was cut on his hairline by an accidental head-butt in an otherwise cautious opening round, leaving him with blood on his white trunks. He turned the bout in the third round, flooring Peterson with a combination capped by a left hand.
Ortiz put Peterson into the ropes again late in the round, and the referee ruled it a second knockdown. Peterson escaped the round and regained his composure. Ortiz kept up his aggression in the middle rounds, but the judges apparently were more impressed by Peterson's responses.
The eighth round was a slugfest, with Ortiz staggering Peterson on a pair of huge right hands to the side of Peterson's head. Peterson connected with two big punches, and Ortiz replied by weakening Peterson's knees with a left.
Peterson is a Washington, D.C., native who overcame childhood homelessness to become a title contender. Ortiz's childhood in Kansas included stints in foster homes after both of his parents abandoned the family before his boxing talent was discovered.