Aaron Pryor overcame a sluggish start, knocked down challenger Gary Hinton in the 14th round, and scored a 15th-round split decision to retain the International Boxing Federation junior welterweight title Saturday.
The victory was the 36th straight for Pryor, but it did not come easily.
He suffered a cut high on his right forehead in the second round after being accidentally butted, and Hinton constantly beat him to the punch in the early going.
The champion's best round was the 14th, when he hit Hinton with a combination left hook and straight right that sent the Philadelphia boxer to the canvas. Hinton was up at the count of four, but Pryor was unable to finish him off.
Judge Phil Newman scored the fight 143-141 for Hinton while Judge Frank Cairo favored Pryor by the same margin. Judge Lawrence Wallace had it 146-139 for Pryor, who was fighting only his second bout in two years.