Two of the judge's decisions were in. Gabriel Rosado raised his right arm and waited for the final verdict.
The first score had gone to the North Philadelphia middleweight, the other to J'Leon Love.
Rosado had knocked Love down in the sixth with a right to the jaw, staggered him in the eighth with a right hook, and rocked him with an uppercut in the eighth.
But Love won the 10-round bout by split decision at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
Rosado, dejected by the ruling, put his face in his gloves and leaned into the corner.
The fight, for the vacant NABF middleweight title, opened the pay-per-view telecast of the Floyd Mayweather-Robert Guerrero 12-round light-middleweight bout, which ended too late for this edition.
After a slow first round, Rosado (21-7) dodged an errant uppercut by Love (16-0) and tagged him with a right to the jaw as the round expired. Rosado relied on his right hand throughout to pick apart Love's defense.
In the third, Rosado baited Love with a soft left hand before connecting with a strong right hand. The punch, not as strong as Rosado's second-round right, left Love vulnerable and bent over against the ropes.
Rosado battled through Love's left jab in the sixth round to hand Love his first career knockdown.
After losing a fight that was stopped because of a bludgeoned eye, Rosado rebounded and looked strong with his precise right hand.