Sugar Shane Mosley wanted a victory that would earn him another big-money fight. Sergio Mora wanted to re-establish himself as an elite boxer.
Neither left Staples Center satisfied after their 12-round draw Saturday night.
The junior middleweight bout was an anticlimactic end to a solid card that featured spectacular knockout wins by Victor Ortiz, Saul "Canelo" Alvarez and Daniel Ponce De Leon.
In a sometimes dull fight, the 39-year-old Mosley (46-6-1, 39 KOs) didn't get redemption for his one-sided loss to Floyd Mayweather Jr. in May, and Mora (22-1-2, 6 KOs) fell short of his biggest victory.
Both fighters were booed by the crowd, which chanted "Canelo! Canelo!" — the nickname of the rising 20-year-old Mexican star — during the main event.
"We both fought hard," Mosley said. "It was good fight, a good decision."
The fight was very difficult to score, with judge Kermit Bayless calling it 115-113 for Mora, David Denkin giving Mosley a 116-112 edge, and Lou Moret ruling it even at 114-114. The scores at press row were equally divided, from a six-point victory for Mosley to a four-point win for Mora.
Mosley had an edge in the CompuBox punchstats, landing 161 of 522 punches to 93 of 508 for Mora.
Mora, who held the 154-pound title in 2008, said he actually let up because he thought he was winning the fight down the stretch.
"I should've listened to my corner," he said. "They were telling me that it was a close fight. I thought I was winning, so I didn't fight as hard because I have respect for Shane. I didn't want to hurt him."
Mosley was the aggressor from the beginning, but had a difficult time landing clean punches because Mora is a standout defensive fighter. The former 154-pound titleholder consistently danced out of harm's way or tied up Mosley when he got inside.
Mora threw many fewer punches than Mosley but landed more clean shots, giving him several rounds. Neither fighter hurt the other or even had a particularly big round, making it even more difficult to separate them.
Before the main event, junior welterweight contender Ortiz (28-2-1, 22 KOs) took a round to feel out Vivian Harris (29-5-1, 19 KOs) before unloading, stopping Harris early in the third round after knocking him down three times in the second.
Ortiz was too quick and sharp for his aging opponent. He landed a right hook and then a quick right uppercut to knock down Harris 45 seconds into the third round, with referee Raul Caiz waving off the fight right when Harris hit the canvas.
Ortiz's handlers have been talking to WBO titleholder Timothy Bradley, and Ortiz likes the idea of facing the winner of the Dec. 11 fight between WBA champion Amir Khan and Marcos Maidana, who knocked out Ortiz in the sixth round last year at Staples Center.
Harris, a former titleholder from New York, is 1-3 with one no-contest in his last five fights.
Earlier, Alvarez had a spectacular third-round knockout of veteran Carlos Baldomir.
Alvarez (34-0-1, 26 KOs) hurt Baldomir (45-13-6, 14 KOs) with a number of punches toward the end of the final round before a straight left put the Argentine on his face. Baldomir, who had failed to go the distance only once before, was able to get to his feet, but was too wobbly to continue.
Baldomir was a good test for the 20-year-old star from Guadalajara because of his experience and awkward style, but Alvarez was much quicker than Baldomir, and he patiently outboxed his 39-year-old foe. Baldomir, who has one of the best chins in boxing, took most of the big shots, but was slowly worn down.
Ponce de Leon (40-2, 33 KOs) also stopped Antonio Escalante (23-3, 15 KOs) with a single right hook at 2:40 of the third round in a 12-round featherweight bout.