ATLANTIC CITY - There is a saying in boxing: "Win this one, look good the next time out." It is a variation of the Oakland Raiders' familiar "Just win, baby" mantra.

The Raiders aren't very successful these days, but the idea that it's all right to win ugly is just as valid now as it was when team owner Al Davis was considered a genius instead of a clueless curmudgeon. Every football game can't be a high-scoring classic. The same holds true for boxing matches involving welterweight contenders who score workmanlike victories instead of registering high on the "wow" scale.

If Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr., the welterweight superstars who are in training for upcoming bouts, tuned in to Saturday night's Fox Sports telecast of Mike Jones' NABA title defense against Henry Bruseles, it's a safe assumption neither went to bed thinking that the Jones who won a 10-round, unanimous decision at Bally's Atlantic City is a threat to their exalted positions.

"I'll let the fans be the judge of that," Jones (20-0, 16 KOs), from North Philadelphia, said when asked if he had turned in the sort of exclamation-point performance needed to boost his stock as a threat in the talent-drenched 147-pound division. "I'm sorry I didn't get the knockout for them, but I went in there to get the win, and that's what I did."

The fact that Bruseles (28-4-1, 15 KOs) went the distance is hardly a shocker. The Puerto Rican has been stopped only twice in his 13 1/2-year professional career, and he had strung together seven consecutive victories since he was a technical-knockout victim of Mayweather in a WBC super lightweight title eliminator on Jan. 25, 2005. He represented a step up from most of the guys Jones had been beating up, and it showed.

"Some guys you just can't knock out," shrugged Doc Nowicki, Jones' co-manager. Jones agreed, describing Bruseles as "granite-chinned."

Although Jones did some things well - he made better and more consistent use of an often-underutilized jab, for one thing - those who tend to grade more harshly probably noted that he didn't go to the body as often as he might have, fought backing up for curiously long stretches and put too much faith in his ability to deliver a single, loaded-up shot instead of putting combinations together.

Judges Alan Rubenstein and Waleska Roldan each had Jones winning easily at 98-92, with Luis Rivera turning in a scorecard nearly as favorable at 97-93. Jones also won on the Daily News card, 97-93, taking the last six rounds after losing three of the first four.

J Russell Peltz, who promotes Jones, said the winner is a victim of unreasonably high expectations, based on the string of spectacular knockouts he has registered while moving up the ladder.

"There's so much hype for Mike, who is just starting to fight at the next level, that people are disappointed if he doesn't blow everybody out in three or four rounds," Peltz said. "I fall into that trap myself sometimes."

Jones, 25, who is rated No. 8 by the WBA and No. 11 by the IBF, can take solace in the knowledge that former WBO junior welterweight champion Kendall Holt didn't even have the satisfaction of winning ugly. Holt (26-4, 13 KOs) quit on his stool at the end of the sixth round after being systematically broken down by South African underdog Kaizer Mabuza (23-6-3, 13 KOs), effectively removing himself from title contention for the foreseeable future.

Another upset was pulled off by North Philly junior middleweight Gabriel Ropsado (14-4, 8 KOs), who won a 10-round split decision over Mexico's Saul Roman (32-6, 27 KOs).

Punch lines

The Wharton School of Business went 3-1 against Penn Law, the highlight of which was Wharton heavyweight Jason Carter's third-round TKO of Drew Pinkston, to help raise a record $65,000 for the Boys and Girls Club of Philadelphia Saturday night at the Blue Horizon . . . New Castle, Del., welterweight Michael Stewart (45-7-2, 24 KOs) knocked out Brandon Baue (12-4, 10 KOs) in the fifth round of the main event Friday night in Dover, Del.