Joseph Adorno and Jamaine Ortiz went well beyond their pre-fight vow to steal the show.

The unbeaten lightweights waged war for eight rounds, with a winner being the only thing missing in the end as they fought to an eight-round majority draw Saturday evening in front of a sellout crowd at Silver Spurs Arena in Kissimmee, Florida.

Ortiz won 76-74 on one scorecard, overruled by scores of 75-75 on the other two cards to produce the stalemate.

Neither boxer seemed interested in a feeling out process, immediately trading punches early in the fight. Adorno—a heavy-handed Puerto Rican prospect from Allentown, Pennsylvania—relied on his heavy artillery to contend with Ortiz’s volume punching which was key in the opening round. Ortiz connected on several occasions with crisp left hooks on the inside while Adorno looked to trade during his first fight in fifteen months

Ortiz continued his furious pace in round two, though it cost him on the scorecards. A multi-punch combination from the Worcester, Massachusetts native was trumped by a left hook from the 21-year-old Adorno. The shot caught Ortiz near the back of his head to produce the bout’s first knockdown.

Momentum didn’t last very long, as Ortiz went to work in round three. He did so while fighting through a bloodied nose and mouth, though not allowing the wounds to discourage him as he continued to outwork Adorno in rounds three and four. Adorno was still landing the heavier shots, though at the expense of being outworked by the 24-year-old Ortiz, who missed weight on Friday and appeared to be the much bigger man in the ring.

Adorno looked to impose his will in round five, committing more to his punches while also picking up the pace. The issue was that Ortiz refused to slow down, scoring with telling shots of his own including a straight right hand which caught Adorno’s attention.

Action slowed in round six, understandably so considering the furious pace in the preceding rounds. Ortiz used the slight lull to control the tempo from the outside, flicking his jab and right hand while Adorno pressed forward looking to land a fight-ending bomb. The tactic wasn’t appreciated by Ortiz’s corner, who wanted their charge to apply constant pressure in the final two rounds to ensure that the judges wouldn’t steal the fight.

Ortiz just didn’t seem to have it in him at that point in the fight. Adorno was able to seize control in round seven, never more so than in the final minute. Ortiz came forward with his guard down, leaving himself open for a left uppercut that nearly sent him through the ropes for an accurately ruled knockdown.

With the fight hanging in the balance, Ortiz closed the show in the eighth and final round. Adorno looked for a fight-ending shot, allowing Ortiz to outwork him and land the more telling blows.

Adorno’s record moves to 14-0-2 (12KOs), fighting to his second straight draw. He struggled in his previous appearance last January, his lone fight of 2020 while watching scheduled bouts fall through for varying reasons. Adorno missed weight and wound up fainting while attempting to make the rehydration weight limit for his canceled bout with Alexis Del Bosque last June. Four months later, Adorno was left standing at the altar after Avery Sparrow was a no-show for their planned clash last October.

Ortiz is now 14-0-1 (8KOs), though his stock improving in his second straight fight. The 24-year-old left an impression in a 7th round knockout of Sulaiman Segawa on the undercard of the celebrated exhibition between legends Mike Tyson and Roy Jones last November in Las Vegas.

The bout aired live as part of an ESPN+ preliminary undercard preceding an ESPN doubleheader. Headlining the ESPN telecast, Emanuel Navarrete (33-1, 28KOs) marches into enemy territory, as the streaking Mexican defends his WBO featherweight belt versus Puerto Rico’s Christopher ‘Pitufo’ Diaz (26-2, 16KOs).

Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox