Despite predicting a knockout of Joey Dawejko on Friday, it was Amir "Hardcore" Mansour's footwork and speed that lifted him to victory.
Mansour (22-1, 16 KOs) relied on activity to outbox Dawejko by unanimous decision (96-94, 98-92, 97-93) in the main event of ESPN's Friday Night Fights at the 2300 Arena in Philadelphia.
While trash talk from both during the fight's buildup promised violence, the heavyweight clash played out at a slow, tactical pace for much of the 10 rounds. Both fighters pawed with their jabs at close range, showing too much respect for each other's power.
Mansour, 42, was the fresher fighter late despite giving up 16 years to Dawejko, who faded late despite entering at his lightest weight in three years (230 pounds). The southpaw Mansour worked off the jab and went to the body often, remaining the aggressor throughout.
While Dawejko (14-4-2, 7 KOs) had success switching stances and landing quick, hard counter shots, he was never active enough to steal rounds.
Constant clashing of heads played a key role early as Mansour was cut above the right eye in Round 2 before Dawejko suffered the exact same fate the following round.
With blood flowing from the faces of both, the intensity picked up in Round 4 after Dawejko wobbled an off-balance Mansour with a left hand. But despite the two-way action to close the round, the fight quickly devolved into a passive chess match.
Mansour, a New Jersey native, finished strong in Round 10, closing the fight with a pair of uppercuts and a right hook to leave no doubt.
The victory was Mansour's second straight since an exciting decision loss to Steve Cunningham in April 2014, in which Mansour scored a pair of knockdowns. He rebounded with a knockout of the year candidate against Fred Kassi last November.
Dawejko, a Philadelphia native, snapped a six-fight win streak and suffered his first defeat since being stopped by Charles Martin in 2013.