Ardreal “Bossman” Holmes relied on his superior height, boxing chops and movement to win a split decision that didn’t seem as close as the scores indicated against the aggressive Ismael “Maelo” Villarreal in a 10-round super welterweight contest Friday live on Showtime from Stormont Vail Events Center in Topeka, Kan.

After he stood in the pocket and absorbed too many shots in his March win on ShoBox against Vernon Brown, the undefeated Holmes, an amateur standout, took a safer path to victory on Friday, or so he thought, tying up the aggressive Villarreal when he got too close and banking on his jab to pile up points.

Holmes of Flint, Mich., won by scores of 96-94, 97-93 and 94-96 to move his record to 13-0 with 5 KOs, while Villarreal (12-1, 8 KOs) became the 224th undefeated boxer to sustain his first loss on ShoBox, a sign of the competitive matchmaking of the long-running series. Holmes’ jab was the difference as he out-landed Villarreal 50-8 and overall, 422 punches to 269 in a show of authority that wasn’t really reflected in the scorecards.

“I felt like he won two, three rounds,” Holmes said. “I don’t know where that one card came from. I feel like I dominated the fight and felt like he might have gotten two or three middle rounds, but that was the max. I felt like I out-jabbed him and out-fought him. I felt like this was a step-up from last time I fought, and this was a tougher fight. I’m only 13 fights in so I’m going to keep improving.”

The main event was a classic matador vs. bull contest as the six-foot-two Holmes kept his distance with his jab and right hand and Villarreal tried to bully his way inside with wide, looping shots. Both had success but Holmes seemed to control the pace of the fight and frustrate his hard-charging opponent. 

Villarreal of the Bronx, N.Y., landed a flush right a minute into the sixth as Holmes was bullied into the corner, but Holmes timed Villarreal with an uppercut to back him up and comfortably fought on the inside when he chose to. Villarreal landed a short right a minute into the seventh, but Holmes danced away. At that point, the southpaw Holmes began to come forward and back up Villarreal with his jab.

Villarreal landed a hard right that briefly shook Holmes with a minute left in the eighth round. But he never followed up, and Villarreal, who had just boxed past the sixth round once before this fight, appeared to tire a bit down the stretch. Holmes connected with a left hand in the final minute of the ninth, but Villarreal rammed home a right hand that seemed to stun Holmes as he lay against the ropes to end the frame. In the final round, Villarreal went for broke with a barrage of punches as Holmes covered up.

After knocking out undefeated LeShawn Rodriguez last July in an upset, Villarreal couldn’t duplicate those heroics on Friday as Holmes boxed his way to victory.