Filipino fighters Donnie Nietes and Aston Palicte fought to a controversial split draw in their clash for the vacant World Boxing Organization super flyweight belt at The Forum in Inglewood, California.
One judge scored it 118-110 for Nietes, who was aiming for a title in a fourth weight class, while another had it 116-112 for Palicte and a third scored it an even 114-114. The title clash, the second between two Filipinos this year, was part of Super Fly 3 which featured two other bouts at the 115-pound limit.
Most ring observers had Nietes winning comfortably. According to CompuBox, Nietes connected on 194 of 523 punches (37.1%) compared to Palicte's 124 out of 830 (14.9%). Nietes also had the edge in jabs (82 to 35) and power punches (112 to 89) landed.
Had he won, Nietes would have been just the third Filipino fighter to claim belts in at least four different weight classes after Manny Pacquiao and Nonito Donaire. Instead, the title remains vacant and put a stop to Nietes' plan to secure big-money fights against other 115-pound champions.
Nietes is now 41-1-5 (22 KOs) while Palicte absorbs his first career draw for a 24-2-1 (20 KOs) record.