Teofimo Lopez suffered a flash knockdown in Round 2 but picked up a controversial 10-round split decision victory over Sandor Martin on Saturday night at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
One judge scored it 95-94 for Martin but was overruled by scores of 96-93 and 97-92 for Lopez.
"You were running the whole time," Lopez told Martin afterward. "Every time you landed that counter, I hit you. That's why you were running. That was a boring-ass fight. I can't believe it. I need a better dance partner. ... You were dancing and running."
Full recap from Mike Coppinger
Meanwhile, in Omaha, Nebraska, one dynamic combination showed Terence "Bud" Crawford remains one of boxing's pound-for-pound best.
In front of a raucous hometown crowd, Crawford floored David Avanesyan with a sixth-round TKO at the CHI Health Center. A left uppercut followed by a textbook right put Avanesyan on his back, quickly prompting the end of a tricky fight for Crawford.
With the win, Crawford retains the WBO welterweight title.
"I started picking up the pace, planting my feet, and I caught him with a hook," Crawford said in the postfight interview on BLK Prime.
Results in New York
Jared Anderson (13-0, 13 KOs) def. Jerry Forrest (26-6-2, 20 KOs) by second-round TKO
Jared Anderson continues his dominance in the ring, securing a second-round knockout win on Top Rank Boxing.
Anderson announced his arrival as a bona fide heavyweight contender with a two-round drubbing of gatekeeper Forrest.
The referee was on the verge of halting the bout during the opening round as Anderson trapped Forrest in the corner and unloaded nonstop punches. Anderson threw 114 punches in Round 1 and connected on 54. Forrest was in serious trouble again in Round 2. Anderson buckled him with a series of shots that doubled him over, and the ref stepped in as Forrest was about to hit the canvas. The stoppage came at 1:34.
Anderson, 23, said he'd like to step up to an opponent ranked in the top 15 of the four sanctioning bodies and named Filip Hrgovic, Frank Sanchez, Dillian Whyte and Daniel Dubois.
"We got to make those fights," said Anderson, who fights out of Toledo, Ohio.
Forrest proved his status as a gatekeeper last year with back-to-back draws against Michael Hunter and Zhilei Zhang in fights many believed Forrest won. The 34-year-old from Newport News, Virginia, dropped a lopsided decision to former title challenger Kubrat Pulev in May.
What's next: Any of the opponents Anderson mentioned would serve as legitimate tests for the best heavyweight prospect in the sport. He clearly has graduated to contender status, and a fight against a world-class opponent could come next.
Xander Zayas (15-0, 10 KOs) def. Alexis Salazar (24-5, 9 KOs) by unanimous decision
Zayas, one of boxing's top prospects, continued his development with a unanimous decision victory over Salazar in a junior middleweight fight. The scores: 80-72, 79-73 and 79-73.
"We can improve on everything I feel," Zayas, 20, said.
The Puerto Rican boxer unleashed his impressive offensive arsenal on Salazar, who did little to dissuade him. Zayas concentrated much of his attack on the body with 71 connects. Zayas has now lasted the eight-round distance in two of his past three fights.
Jared Anderson with the holiday entrance 🎄#LopezMartin pic.twitter.com/DYyXsSkA0f— ESPN Ringside (@ESPNRingside) December 11, 2022
Salazar has now lost two of his past three fights, including a third-round TKO loss versus middleweight contender Carlos Adames.
What's next: Zayas will likely continue to fight this level of opponent. He is raw and needs the experience. At just 19 years old, there's no rush.
Keyshawn Davis (7-0, 5 KOs) def. Juan Carlos Burgos (35-7-3, 21 KOs) by unanimous decision
Davis remained undefeated with a shutout unanimous decision victory over Burgos. The Olympic silver medalist won via scores of 80-77 on all three scorecards.
Davis, who was extended past the sixth round for the first time, hurt Burgos several times with body shots and outlanded his foe 247 to 48.
Burgos, 34, challenged for a world title on three occasions but came up empty each time. In 2018, the Mexican boxer went the 10-round distance with Devin Haney, the current undisputed lightweight champion.
Davis, 23, of Norfolk, Virginia, is one of the best prospects in boxing.
The Garden EXPLODED for @XanderZayas and @SugarDiaz39 🇵🇷 pic.twitter.com/Fc0RMYkkMp— ESPN Ringside (@ESPNRingside) December 11, 2022
What's next: Davis is clearly ready for better competition. Burgos was easily the most experienced opponent of Davis' career yet didn't manage to remotely test Davis. The past-his-prime veteran did, however, lend Davis valuable rounds. Expect Davis to fight three to four times in 2023 with his competition gradually raised, preparing him for a title shot in 2024.
Joe Ward (8-1, 4 KOs) def. Frederic Julan (12-2, 10 KOs) by unanimous decision
Damian Knyba (10-0, 6 KOs) def. Emilio Salas (7-4-1, 3 KOs) by second-round TKO
Tiger Johnson (7-0, 5 KOs) def. Mike O'Han Jr. (16-2, 7 KOs) by fifth-round TKO
Results in Omaha
Cris Cyborg def. Gabby Holloway by unanimous decision
MMA legend Cris Cyborg cruised to an easy victory in her official boxing debut. Cyborg crushed Gabby Holloway 40-34, 40-35, 39-35 in the co-main event. Cyborg, the current Bellator MMA featherweight world champion, had little resistance from Holloway, who is now winless in three boxing matches.
The 37-year-old Brazilian fighter dropped her opponent in the third round with a barrage of body shots. To show how green Cyborg is to boxing, she admitted in her postfight interview that she didn't realize that Holloway had an eight-count after the knockdown and wasn't immediately finished, which is usually what happens when the referee stands over a fighter in MMA.
Arnold Khegai (19-1-1, 11 KOs) def. Eduardo Baez (21-4-2, 7 KOs) by split decision
Khegai squeaked out an ugly split decision win over Baez, 96-93, 94-95, 95-94. It was a bout that featured a lot of awkward exchanges, too many clinches to count and a fair amount of roughhousing in lieu of any significant punches.
Khegai was eventually docked a point by the referee for shoving Baez's head down. That nearly cost the Ukrainian fighter the victory.
Baez was coming off a knockout loss to WBO featherweight champion Emanuel Navarrete in August.
The lack of applause after the final bell for both fighters summed up how those inside the CHI Health Center in Omaha felt about watching Khegai and Baez after 10 rounds.
Jeremiah Milton (8-0, 6 KOs) def. Dajuan Calloway (5-2, 5 KOs) by unanimous decision
Milton got through a unique opponent in Calloway in a battle of heavyweights, 59-55, 59-55, 58-56.
Milton had a tricky time with Calloway, who carried a significant weight advantage. Calloway officially weighed in at 387.6 pounds, 136.8 pounds heavier than Milton, a gap equivalent to a junior welterweight fighter. However, Calloway's shoulder roll defense and counterpunching gave the Tulsa, Oklahoma, native fits and didn't allow Milton to land many clean punches.
Steven Nelson (18-0, 15 KOs) def. James Ballard (10-5, 3 KOs) by first-round TKO
Nelson kicked off the pay-per-view portion of the Crawford-Avanesyan card with a first-round stoppage against the overmatched Ballard.
Nelson was fighting for the first time since September 2020 and was coming off a torn Achilles tendon. Nelson caught Ballard with a left hook to the body before an overhand right sent Ballard to the canvas to end the fight.
While Nelson was coming off a long layoff, Ballard had lost three consecutive bouts, more than four years removed from his last win. Most recently, Ballard lost in a second-round TKO in October 2021, according to BoxRec.