Jerwin Ancajas retained his junior bantamweight belt for the sixth time but had to settle for a draw in a very competitive fight with Alejandro Santiago on the Top Rank Boxing on ESPN+ card Friday night at Oracle Arena in Oakland, California.
Fighting in the co-feature of the nontitle bout between super middleweight world titlist Jose Uzcategui and Ezequiel Maderna, Ancajas and Santiago fought a scrappy, action fight the judges saw entirely differently. One judge had it 116-112 for Ancajas, one scored it 118-111 for Santiago and one had 114-114. ESPN.com scored the fight 115-113 for Ancajas, who is co-promoted by his Filipino countryman and idol Manny Pacquiao.
Naturally, Ancajas and Santiago each thought he should have had his hand raised in victory.
"It was a good, entertaining fight. My timing was a little off. He was a little awkward," Ancajas said. "I felt like I pressed the fight and did enough to win. I still want all the champions at 115 [pounds]. Nothing has changed."
Said Santiago: "Everyone saw the fight, and everyone saw that I won the fight clearly."
Santiago (16-2-5, 7 KOs), 22, of Mexico, fighting in his first 12-round bout, gave a very spirited effort on a difficult day. His promoter, Hall of Famer Don Chargin, died earlier Friday at age 90.
But he and Ancajas put on just the kind of scrappy fight Chargin would have loved.
The action picked up late in the second round when they traded toe-to-toe with both men getting nailed with solid punches, one of which appeared to wobble Ancajas (30-1-2, 20 KOs), 26, just before the bell ended the round.
It was competitive all the way, with both fighters landing their share of shots, but it was Ancajas, who had swelling over his right eye late in the bout, who hit a little harder and landed a little cleaner than Santiago, who fought to a draw for the second consecutive fight. He also got his jab going in the second half of the fight.
The fight essentially came down to battle between the southpaw Ancajas' straight left hand and Santiago's overhand rights.
The CompuBox punch statistics illustrated just how close the fight was. Ancajas landed 127 of 589 blows (22 percent) and Santiago connected with 108 of 519 (21 percent).
Also on the undercard
Bantamweight Joshua "Don't Blink" Greer Jr. (17-2-1, 9 KOs), 24, of Chicago, had his first fight since signing with Top Rank and scored an explosive third-round knockout of Giovanni Delgado (16-8, 9 KOs), 27, of Mexico. Greer unloaded more than a dozen unanswered punches, including several clean right hands to the head, that had Delgado out on his feet before referee Dan Stell jumped in to stop the bout at 1 minute, 49 seconds.
"I came here to make a statement, and I did," Greer said. "Nobody has ever stopped him that fast. I'm ready for anyone at 118 pounds. I'm the best. Watch out because 'Don't Blink' is coming!"
Filipino featherweight contender Genesis Servania (32-1, 15 KOs), 27, won his third fight in a row since a decision loss to world titlist Oscar Valdez in a slugfest last September. Servania knocked out Carlos Carlson (23-5, 14 KOs), 28, of Mexico, with a counter right hand that dropped him for the full count from referee Marcos Rosales at 44 seconds of the third round.
"I am ready for any of the champions at 122 pounds," said Servania, who is looking to move down in weight. "I'll fight [Isaac] Dogboe, [TJ] Doheny, [Rey] Vargas. Any of the champions. I am ready to go."
Featherweight Rico Ramos (30-5, 14 KOs), a 31-year-old former junior featherweight world titlist from Pico Rivera, California, won his sixth fight in a row as he cruised to an 80-71 decision on all three scorecards against Daniel Olea (13-6-2, 5 KOs), 24, of Mexico, whom he knocked down in the first round. Ramos was supposed to fight former junior featherweight titlist Jessie Magdaleno, but he pulled out of the fight and Ramos wound up with a downgrade in opponent.
Welterweight Askhat Ualikhanov (4-1, 2 KOs), 27, of Kazakhstan, won a unanimous decision over Angel Hernandez (13-11-2, 8 KOs), 27, of McAllen, Texas, by scores of 59-55, 58-56 and 58-56 in his first fight since signing with Top Rank.
"Everything went well. It was a good experience," Ualikhanov said. "Hernandez was a tough guy who made me work hard every single round."
Super middleweight prospect Janibek Alimkhanuly (4-0, 1 KO), 25, a 2016 Olympian from Kazakhstan, routed Carlos Galvan (16-8-1, 15 KOs), 27, of Colombia. In his first fight since signing with Top Rank, he won 60-54 on all three scorecards. "I felt very good in there. I'll be back soon and perform even better," he said.