Donnie Nietes extended his seventeen-year unbeaten streak in bizarre—and potentially controversial—fashion.

It also comes without a win.

The former four-division titlist from Phiilppines showed signs of laboring in the twilight of his incredible career in settling for a ten-round split decision draw with Dominican Republic’s Norbelto Jimenez. Scores were 96-94 Nietes, 96-94 Jimenez and 95-95 even in their battle of hard-luck junior bantamweights, both of whom received conflicting instructions as to the length of the fight.

Jimenez was furious after the tenth round, which he was surprised to learn was the last of the bout. The Dominican boxer was convinced that the fight—which was advertised as a title eliminator—was scheduled for twelve rounds. Further confusion over the matter came at the very start, when it was introduced as a twelve-round affair by the ring announcer who accepted responsibility by fight’s end.

Nietes came out with purpose at the start of the bout, forcing an abnormally aggressive pace. Jimenez didn’t seem prepared for the moment, as the former title challenger was rocked at the end of round one.

Adjustments were made by Jimenez, who picked up steam as the bout progressed. Both fighters were guilty of an assortment of fouls, none more glaring than a low blow from Nietes as both fighters spilled to the canvas at the end of round four.

Nietes was effective with combination punching, though oddly found himself in the rare position of taking the lead. The approach was necessary as both boxers are counterpunchers by nature. Jimenez refused to budge from that approach, perhaps costing himself some of the early rounds and ultimate the fight.

Nietes managed to stun Jimenez with a right hand in round eight, interestingly in a round that Jimenez managed to otherwise control. It set the tone for clean combinations down the stretch, as Jimenez inexplicably slowed down.

His post-fight body language revealed that reason, as Jimenez appeared poised for a strong finish in what he thought were the final two rounds of the fight. It wasn’t until several minutes after the tenth round did Jimenez—who remained on his stool in receiving instructions—learn that there was no more fighting to be had.

Nietes is now 43-1-6 (23KOs), having not lost since 2004, going 32-0-5 during that stretch. The legendary Filipino southpaw has claimed titles at strawweight, junior flyweight, flyweight and junior bantamweight, and remains hopeful of one more title run. The fight was his second of 2021 after having not previously fought since a twelve-round, split decision win over Kazuto Ioka on New Year’s Eve 2018 to claim the WBO junior bantamweight title.

Jimenez is now 30-9-6 (16KOs), enduring his second draw in three fights. The 30-year-old veteran contender came up short in a twelve-round points loss to then-unbeaten WBA junior bantamweight titlist Khalid Yafai in June 2019, followed by a draw with undefeated Aliu Bamideli Lasisi last March in Dubai.

Nietes-Jimenez served as the AXS TV-aired co-feature to IBF flyweight titlist Sunny Edwards (16-0, 4KOs) in a mandatory title defense versus Philippines’ Jayson Mama (16-0, 9KOs).

Jake Donovan is a senior writer for Twitter: @JakeNDaBox