LAS VEGAS -- Emanuel Navarrete floored Robson Conceicao twice but settled for a majority draw in a WBO junior lightweight title defense Saturday at T-Mobile Arena.
Navarrete (38-1, 31 KOs) dropped Conceicao in Round 4 and again in Round 7. He was on the verge of stopping the challenger in the penultimate round as the referee inched closer to the action, but Conceicao never wilted.
Conceicao, an Olympic gold medalist from Brazil, won the final round on all three scorecards to avoid defeat in his third challenge and likely earn a rematch.
One judge scored the 130-pound title bout 114-112 for Navarrete but was overruled by two 113-113 tallies.
"I'm happy to come away with the belt," Navarrete, ESPN's No. 1 boxer at 130 pounds, said through an interpreter. "We both did what we said we were going to do. ... He's a tremendous fighter. His technique is next level, and that's what it makes it so hard.
"If it's up to me, I would definitely give Robson a rematch because he definitely deserves it."
Navarrete (38-1-1, 31 KOs) dropped Conceicao in the fourth with a right hand to the temple and then knocked him down again three rounds later with a right hand to the body.
Conceicao (17-2-1, 8 KOs) was happy to stay in the pocket, though, regardless of the power disparity. He jabbed and moved and connected on combinations while Navarrete swarmed him with his patented awkward angles.
With both eyes swollen, Conceicao saved his best for the final round as he took the fight to the champion.
"I think we both deserve a rematch," Conceicao, ESPN's No. 7 junior lightweight, said through an interpreter. "I proved what I'm capable of. I give 'Vaquero' Navarrete a lot of credit. He's a powerful fighter, but I know what I did tonight. I deserved the victory."
If it weren't for the two knockdowns, Conceicao, 35, would have earned the win. But instead, he likely earned a rematch with a career-best performance.
His first two title shots didn't come on an even playing field. When he challenged Oscar Valdez in 2021, he did so weeks after Valdez tested positive for a banned substance but was allowed to compete. Conceicao settled for a controversial decision loss.
One year later, Conceicao challenged Shakur Stevenson for a title, but Stevenson weighed in over the 130-pound limit and cruised to victory.
Navarrete, meanwhile, was coming off a win over Valdez in August in his first title defense. The 28-year-old also won titles at 122 and 126 pounds.