LAS VEGAS -- Victor Ortiz and Lamont Peterson both hoped to parlay a victory into a title shot. Instead they settled for a surprising majority draw that could delay that desire Saturday night on the Amir Khan-Marcos Maidana junior welterweight title fight undercard at the Mandalay Bay Events Center.
Judge Robert Hoyle had it 95-93 for Peterson while judges Dave Moretti and Patricia Morse Jarman each had it 94-94. ESPN.com and HBO unofficial scorer Harold Lederman both had it 97-91 for 23-year-old Ortiz (28-2-2, 22 KOs).
Both fighters thought they had won.
"I feel like crap," Ortiz said. "I thought I pulled it off. He didn't even hit that hard. But, you know, s--- happens."
Said Peterson, "I feel good. I knew the fight was close so I wanted to try to win as many rounds as I could."
Peterson (28-1, 14 KOs), 26, started well and Ortiz suffered a cut on the left side of his hairline in the first round after an accidental head butt. But Ortiz turned up the offense in the third round, scoring two knockdowns and badly hurting Peterson.
Peterson went down for the first time from a right hand that finished a four-punch combination. Peterson got up quickly and did not appear hurt. But he was moments later from another punch and he grabbed on to Ortiz as they tumbled to the mat.
But when the fight resumed, Ortiz was on Peterson again and knocked him hard into the ropes, which held him up and caused referee Vic Drakulich to call the second knockdown of the round with about 30 seconds to go.
Without the knockdowns, Ortiz, of Oxnard, Calif., would have lost, surprising considering he appeared to hurt Peterson far more than the way other way around.
But Peterson, of Washington, D.C., appeared to come on strong over the final three rounds -- including a big eighth round -- while Ortiz played it more cautious.
According to CompuBox statistics, Ortiz landed 95 of 457 punches (but just two jabs) for 21 percent while Peterson landed 111 of 331 shots for 33 percent.
Ortiz entered the fight having won four in a row since quitting in the sixth round against Maidana in June 2009, a loss he is still trying to live down. Ortiz and Peterson were hoping for a shot at the winner of the main event.
Peterson has already had one title shot, losing a lopsided decision challenging titleholder Timothy Bradley Jr. last December, but he rebounded to stop Damian Fuller in the seventh round in April.
Joan Guzman (31-0-1, 18 KOs), who missed weight yet again, dispatched Jason Davis (11-8-1, 3 KOs) in the second round when Davis' corner threw in the towel.
Guzman, a former titleholder at 122 and 130 pounds, has a history of failing to make weight and missed again Friday when he weighed 144 pounds for a fight contracted at 141. Davis, however, also missed weight. He was 143 and the camps agreed to let the fight go on.
Whether it was at 141 or 144, it didn't seem to matter. Guzman thoroughly dominated the journeyman, although he landed some questionable punches, such a low blow that floored Davis in the first round.
In the second round, Guzman continued to pour punches onto Davis, who was trapped in a corner with his hands held high trying to block the shots as they rained down. Finally, his corner threw in the towel and referee Robert Byrd stepped in to stop it 29 seconds into the rounds.
Despite the victory, Guzman's inability to make weight probably will cost him a significant fight in the near-future. He was a possible candidate to face the winner of the Khan-Maidana winner, but promoter Golden Boy was furious that he missed weight again and HBO was also disappointed and likely would not approve him as an opponent because of his unreliability.
Guzman was fighting for the first time since March, when he came in a whopping nine pounds over the lightweight limit of 135 when he was supposed to face Ali Funeka for a vacant belt. The fight went on anyway with the title at stake only for Funeka, but Guzman won a split decision.
• Seth "Mayhem" Mitchell (20-0-1, 14 KOs), the top American heavyweight prospect in a thin class, knocked out the experienced Taurus Sykes (25-7-1, 7 KOs) in the fifth round.
Mitchell, 28, of Brandywine, Md., dominated the fight, although Sykes was giving a good effort. But New York's Sykes, 35, was fighting for only the second time since ending a two-year layoff and it showed. By the fourth round, he was clearly tiring, huffing and puffing as Mitchell's shots, especially his body work, began to take their toll.
In the fifth, Mitchell, 6-foot-2 and 243 pounds, cracked Sykes with an overhand right to the top of the head to knock him the to canvas. He beat the count, but was down moments later from another right hand. This time, Sykes did not attempt to beat the count and it referee Jay Nady counted him out at 1 minute, 42 seconds.
"It was good to get the rounds in," Mitchell said. "He's a veteran and he got me with his jab a few too many times. He was very durable and it was the first time I've been in with someone my size that could give me the experience I need. In 2011, I'm expecting a big year. I want to get the fights that will make me a contender."
Sykes lost his fourth in a row and has dropped five of six, including losses top contender Alexander Povetkin and former champion Hasim Rahman.
Mitchell, the former standout college football linebacker at Michigan State, scored his fifth consecutive knockout.
• Lightweight Sharif Bogere (18-0, 11 KOs), the exciting prospect from Uganda living in suburban Las Vegas, beat and bloodied Chris Fernandez (19-11-1, 11 KOs) in a one-sided eight-round decision. All three judges had it an 80-72 shutout for Bogere, who pounded Fernandez at will throughout the fight, nearly stopping him in the fifth round.
• Las Vegas junior welterweight Jessie Vargas (13-0, 7 KOs) outpointed journeyman Ramon Montano (17-9-2, 2 KOs) over eight rounds, winning by scores of 80-72, 79-73 and 78-74.
• Junior welterweight prospect Jamie Kavanagh (4-0, 2 KOs) of Ireland swarmed Jacob Thornton (2-2) immediately after the opening bell rang and stopped him in 44 seconds. Kavanagh dropped him with a flurry and although Thornton made it to his feet, he didn't want to continue and referee Jay Nady waived it off.
• Coachella, Calif., featherweight prospect Randy Caballero (6-0, 4 KOs) dropped Robert Guillen (5-9-3, 1 KOs) in the first round and cruised to a shutout decision, winning 40-35 on all three scorecards.
• Middleweight Alfonso Blanco (2-0, 1 KO), a 2008 Olympian from Venezuela, stopped Gustavo Medina (1-3-1) at 2 minutes, 45 seconds of the third round in the opening fight.