Considering his opponent entered the ring for his stateside debut undefeated with 23 wins, some might have viewed local featherweight Gabriel "Gapo" Tolmajyan as a stepping stone for the rising Colombian Daulis Prescott.
But Tolmajyan and his camp took a decidedly different angle, looking at Friday night's eight-round clash as an opportunity for their taking.
Looking to take a step up in his own burgeoning career and grab some attention with a statement win, Tolmajyan handed Prescott his first loss and notched his 12th win via split decision at Chumash Casino in Santa Ynez in a match Tolmajyan's trainer Edmond Tarverdyan claimed wasn't nearly close as close as the judges made it.
"It wasn't close at all," said Tarverdyan of the decision that had two judges score the fight narrowly in favor of Tolmajyan (12-1-1, three knockouts), while the third gave it to Prescott (23-1, 17 KOs) by a slim margin. "Gapo dropped him and we won the last two rounds, as well, and at least four or five rounds in between. I don't know what the judges were thinking.
"Sometimes I don't know what happens with the referees, they think [Prescott's] 23-0 and it's the end of the world. They gave him a little bit of an edge not to crack his record, but we outboxed him."
Tolmajyan dropped Prescott in the fifth round with a straight left, according to Tarverdyan, following a flurry of combinations traded by both fighters with Tolmajyan getting the better of the exchange.
Tolmajyan also set the tone in the early rounds with a controlled game plan, Tarverdyan said.
"He listened to me perfectly this time and did exactly what I wanted him to do," said Tarverdyan, proprietor of the Glendale Fighting Club. "I knew if it was close they were going to give it to [Prescott], so I pushed him a little bit to do better.
"I think his jab was the big key to beat this guy."
Tolmajyan's fight occurred on the undercard of a ShoBox promotion, but was not televised. Tarverdyan hopes the win, even as close as it was made by the decision, will be the beginning of bigger things for the third-year pro.
"The No.1 thing is he's gaining confidence that he can fight," Tarverdyan said. "He's a great boxer, he knows how to move, but he needs to start placing his shots better so he can be a crowd-pleasing fighter and he's learning how to do that.
"[Friday night] was a very good step for him."