If the sellout crowd of 1,200 at Michael's Eighth Avenue in Glen Burnie last night had voted on the outcome, Maryland lightweight Jermaine Fields would no longer be unbeaten.
Fields, now 20-0-1, escaped with a majority eight-round draw against aggressive Awel Abdulai (6-9-1) of Ghana. Judge Don Rischer shared the feelings of the fans in voting 78-74 in favor of Abdulai. But Bill Holmes and Malik Waleed both called it 76-76.
It was still a setback for Fields, who was being billed as a future contender and recently added Lou Duva as his co-manager. But the slender left-hander had difficulty solving Abdulai's swarming style and was knocked off balance several times by the Ghanan's clubbing rights.
The frustration was not new for Abdulai, who lost a controversial decision here three months ago to Del Matchett, another undefeated fighter.
"You heard the crowd after the decision," said Abdulai, now living in Las Vegas. "I hurt him, and I beat him. He's a good boxer, but he wouldn't fight me. He wanted to run."
Fields, who failed to land any meaningful hooks behind his light jab, felt he had done enough to win. "The crowd wanted me to brawl, but I decide my own fate in the ring," Fields said. "He's the strongest fighter I've fought, but he butted me two or three times. You've got to take the bitter with the sweet."
The same fate awaited previously unbeaten junior middleweight Haru Carter of Capitol Heights, who had to settle with a majority six-round draw with rugged Shawn Garnett (3-2) of New Carrollton.
In a relentless super-middleweight brawl, Alan "Boogaloo" Watta (12-8-1) survived a second-round knockdown to stop Maryland rival Mo Adams (16-3-1) at 2:05 of the fourth round of their scheduled eight-rounder. Watts caught Adams on the ropes and landed a barrage of solid punches before referee Holmes intervened.
Youthful Baltimore cruiserweight Russ Shifflett, 20, won his second straight by outpunching Terrance Wood (1-4) of Upper Marlboro.