Badou Jack is still chasing that elusive first title.
The 168-pound Las Vegas resident from Sweden thought he had taken a belt Thursday from NABF super middleweight champion Marco Antonio Periban at the Premier Ballroom in the MGM Grand Conference Center. But their 10-round bout ended in a majority draw.
Judges Al Lefkowitz and Steve Morrow scored the fight 95-95, and Jerry Roth had Periban winning 96-94.
“I thought I had the fight won,” said Jack (15-0-1). “He started every round the same way. He came out fast every round and then he would get tired. There’s no way he won that many rounds.”
Jack was facing a veteran fighter who almost won the WBC super middleweight title in June but dropped a 12-round majority decision to Sakio Bika. But Jack wasn’t intimidated. He opened up a cut over Periban’s right eye in the second round, and Periban admitted it bothered him the rest of the fight.
“It was my first time getting cut, and it threw me off,” said Periban (20-1-1). “It was a hard fight. He elbowed me and head-butted me twice early, and it affected my momentum.”
Jack appeared to be in control from midway through the fight through the ninth. He was a bit defensive-minded in the final round, but he said he thought he had the fight won and didn’t want to be reckless.
“The judges? Unreal,” said Jack’s trainer, Eddie Mustafa Muhammad. “I don’t know what they were drinking, but there’s no way he lost as many rounds as they said he did.”
Muhammad said he was happy with his fighter, who had a 41 percent to 20 percent edge in total punches connected.
“He did what I asked him to do, step around, work the jab and bust (Periban) up,” Muhammad said. “But one thing I know — I’m not going to let what happened get him discouraged. We know who won this fight. So do the people.”
In the main event, Shawn Porter won the vacant NABO welterweight title with a 10-round unanimous decision over Julio Diaz. Judges Patricia Morse-Jarman and Herb Santos had Porter ahead 97-93, and Ricardo Ocasio scored it 98-92. Porter improved to 22-0-1, and Diaz fell to 40-9-1.
The two’s first meeting, on Dec. 15, ended in a 10-round draw. On Thursday, Porter made sure there would not be an encore, as he attacked Diaz from the start and kept the pressure on him.
Contact reporter Steve Carp at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-387-2913. Follow him on Twitter @stevecarprj.