Delvin Rodriguez and Joachime Alcine knew very well that their respective careers were hanging in the balance heading into an unofficial loser-leaves-town match.
After 10 hard fought rounds, not all of which were pleasing to the eye, neither fighter managed to win - and it's possible that both wound up losing.
A stalemate was produced between Rodriguez and Alcine in their ESPN2 Friday Night Fights-televised main event at Olympic Stadium in Montreal, Canada.
Scores were 97-93 Rodriguez, 96-94 Alcine and 95-95 even.
Neither fighter gave an inch during the early rounds, both going about their business as if their careers depended on a win - which in fact was the case.
The first sign of an edge in either direction came early in round two. Rodriguez was able to land a straight shot flush on Alcine's chin, briefly rocking the former super welterweight titlist.
Momentum didn't last very long for Rodriguez. Immediately recovering, Alcine scored with a right hand before bullying his way in to force a hectic pace that made for a fun round.
Alcine continued to charge forward in the third, though Rodriguez grew wise to the strategy. The Dominican boxer implemented a subtle touch of defense into his arsenal, picking off a lot of the incoming even if sacrificing offense as a result.
Rodriguez began letting his hands go midway through the fight, although the tactic surprisingly played into Alcine's hands. The 38-year old wisely clinched when he needed to, but for the most part was able to match Rodriguez' punch output thanks to consistent use of his jab and a steady body attack.
Action slowed in the later rounds, and understandably so given the fast pace both fighters forced early on. Rodriguez remained the busier of the two, but was deliberate in his attack. Alcine failed to take advantage, opting to play defense.
The makeshift game plan didn't sit well with trainer Buddy McGirt, who gave his fighter an earful prior to the 10th and final round. Even with his corner lighting a proverbial fire under him, Alcine struggled to step up his game down the stretch. Both fighter lumbered through the final three minutes, Rodriguez attempting to let his hands go while Alcine boxed at times, held on other occasions, and neither fighter landing anything of note to make a compelling case for a deserved victory.
Rodriguez is now 28-7-4 (16KO), standing at .500 over his last 13 fights (5-5-3 over that stretch). The bout was his first since suffering a 3rd round knockout versus a comebacking Miguel Cotto last October. The win helped Cotto plead his case to challenge for the World middleweight title, facing Sergio Martinez next month at Madison Square Garden.
Meanwhile, Rodriguez - who turned 34 earlier this month - is left searching for his next opportunity to help resurrect his fledging career.
Alcine is in the same boat, although the 38-year old is still unbeaten in his last three contests. Still, the draw puts his record at 35-7-2 (21KO), with all nine non-winning performances coming within his last 15 fights after having sprinted out to a 30-0 start in a career that saw a temporary stay as a super welterweight titlsit..