London's James DeGale fought Badou Jack to a majority draw at Barclays Centre in Brooklyn last night, but can consider himself rather fortunate to escape without defeat.
Both men tasted the canvas and both left with their world titles after a pulsating World super-middleweight title fight - the perfect way to kick off a potential resurgence for the sport in 2017, with more feverishly anticipated scraps already in the pipeline.
Floyd Mayweather was among those to voice his displeasure at the judges' decision, with one awarding the fight to the Brit and the other two scoring it 113 apiece. Mayweather claims his man Jack will now move to light-heavyweight, but it seems likely that DeGale and Jack will throw down again sometime in 2017.
Ahead of tonight, did this on the rarely-seen humility of boxing's misunderstood nice guy, James DeGale. Class act. https://t.co/IXRv0bPRCa
— Gavan Casey (@GavanCasey) January 14, 2017
Between DeGale's first round knockdown of Jack and the Swede's returning of the favour in the final stanza, however, it was referee Arthur Mercante Jr who ate glove.
Jack had already loaded up on a thumping left hook when the bell sounded to end the round, and Mercante Jr's intervention only resulted in a wallop to the chin - which sent him sprawling towards the deck. Jack, embarrassed by what transpired to be a rather wild and wayward swing, caught the referee and duly apologised.
— Sky Sports Boxing (@SkySportsBoxing) January 15, 2017
That might technically be ruled a knockdown against Mercante Jr, who used the ropes to keep himself on foot, but he did well not to faceplant after taking a full-blooded shot from the WBC World super-middleweight champ.