James DeGale was denied victory by a last-round knockdown as his unification fight with Badou Jack was scored a majority draw in New York.
IBF champion DeGale floored WBC title-holder Jack in the first round, but was dropped in the 12th and although one judge scored the fight 114-112 in his favour, two scores of 113-113 meant both men retained their super-middleweight belts.
Appeals for a rematch from DeGale in the post-fight interview might not be granted as Jack suggested afterwards that he might step up to light-heavyweight instead of taking a return fight.
DeGale prised open Jack’s tight defences in the opening three minutes as a straight left hand sent his opponent stumbling backwards onto the canvas.
With only seconds remaining in the round, DeGale could land just a few more punches, and Jack looked stunned as he returned to his stool.
The Harlesden man showed off his hand speed with a cluster of hooks in the second round, but Jack found his range in the third and fired back with right hands.
A left hook from Jack caught the eye in a closely contested fourth, while the referee was even hit by a late punch from the ‘The Ripper’ at the end of a tight fifth, which saw DeGale unload crisp combinations.
But Jack enjoyed clear success in the sixth round as a body shot seemed to trouble DeGale, who withstood more stinging shots on the ropes.
The British fighter was being forced to trade at close quarters in a damaging dogfight and was hurt in a torrid eighth round.
A jolting uppercut from Jack dislodged the gumshield from the mouth of DeGale, who had to withstand a ferocious assault.
DeGale would show his grit in the ninth, hammering back with his own hooks, despite losing his gum shield again in another fierce exchange.
With the fight evenly balanced, DeGale stepped up his attack and a flurry of punches seemed to briefly hurt Jack in the 10th.
Victory would be snatched from DeGale in the last round as he switched off for a second and was dropped heavily by a short uppercut from Jack, but ‘Chunky’ clambered to his feet and fired back bravely in the closing minute.