Arnold Barboza Jr. was awarded a controversial split-decision victory over Sean McComb in the fight that represented the chief support to Devin Haney-Ryan Garcia on Saturday at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.

Barboza, who had been on standby to replace Garcia in the main event, consistently struggled with McComb’s height, reach and southpaw stance – and to the extent that there is little question a fight between he and Haney would have proved a significant mismatch.

He was awarded scores of 96-94, 97-93 and 92-98 at the conclusion of their 10 rounds at super lightweight, but the third score, in McComb’s favor, was perhaps the most accurate of the three, contributing to loud boos from the crowd.

Barboza (30-0, 11 KOs) wasted time attempting to get inside against McComb (18-2, 5 KOs), and largely because McComb’s inability to hurt him meant he was unconcerned about the extent to which the Northern Irishman was landing.

The seventh round was McComb’s strongest, on account of his increased aggression and his success in repeatedly landing. But after hearing the scores announced, he may have regretted the extent to which his work rate dropped in the eighth and ninth.

Bektemir Melikuziev had by then been scored a 79-73, 79-73, 78-74 victor over Pierre Dibombe, and therefore via unanimous technical decision, when their fight was stopped early in the eighth round of their super middleweight contest because of the cut over Melikuziev’s left eye.

France’s Dibombe had already suffered a significant cut on his right eyelid in the first round, and therefore immediately started fighting with aggression – to the extent that he and Melikuziev frequently traded throughout the second and third.

It was in the fifth when Melikuziev (14-1, 10 KOs) recorded a debatable knockdown – when he landed at the same time that his and Dibombe’s feet became tangled and Dibombe (22-1-1, 12 KOs) fell. The Frenchman swiftly returned to his feet, and the course of the fight was then changed when an accidental clash of heads cut Melikuziev.

They continued to trade – Melikuziev, of Uzbekistan, regularly hurt Dibombe with the left hand but was open to Dibombe’s right when he did – until the increasing damage over Melikuziev’s left eye led to the intervention of the ringside physician and the announcement of the scorecards in his favor.

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