CONTROVERSIAL was one way of describing Arnold Barboza Jr's split decision verdict over Sean McComb at the Barclays Centre in Brooklyn on Saturday night as the boos which greeted the decision told their own story.

The West Belfast man appeared to have done more than enough to have his hand raised and the first card of 98-92 in his favour seemed to paint a true picture of what had unfolded.

However, that was shot down when the Californian was given a 96-94 nod on one card and inexplicably, 97-93 on the decisive verdict as the wry smile from the Belfast man told its own tale.

Just how that could have been awarded is hard to fathom as although the rounds were fairly competitive, there was no doubt the formed Holy Trinity amateur was getting the better of it and Matchroom boss Eddie Hearn shared the sentiments that seemed to dominate the arena.

“How on earth do you have a scorecard that is 98-92 for McComb and 97-93 for Barboza?" he questioned.

"Makes absolutely no sense at all. I thought McComb won. The wideness of the scorecards, that has to be impossible. It just doesn’t make sense."

McComb opened confidently, working well off his right jab and bringing the left hand into play. He did take a couple of right hands flush but there was nothing to trouble in what was a round he could claim to win.

As expected, this fight was a battle of skill and Barboza opened the second well, beginning to throw downstairs, but the Belfast man was more than holding his own, landing a good right to the ribs as it became clear this was a hugely competitive fight that made a mockery of McComb's rank outsider status prior to the opening bell.

The American was looking to slow down the moving object in front as he whipped in shots to the body, but there was nothing to trouble McComb or disrupt his groove.

The Belfast man was moving, countering and refusing to be the static target Barboza needed him to be, exposing the flaws of the Californian who didn't seem capable of taking this by the scruff.

Indeed, by the middle rounds, Barboza was sporting a welt under his left eye as a souvenir of the countless right jabs McComb was landing.

It was in the trenches where Barboza wanted to take this, but McComb has always been fighter with excellent movement and the better work was coming from him as he repelled the crude attacks.

Confidence was oozing from McComb by the sixth, landing an early combo to body and head, this a fight on the terms he had hoped for and thriving in the process. 

For those pondering why the Californian had yet to fight for a world title despite being perfect through 29 previous outings were getting their answer as the limitations of Barboza were apparent with McComb out-manoeuvring, out-foxing and and out-boxing him, getting busier and timing his work superbly, a right behind the guard typifying his work.

In fairness, Barboza wasn't completely out of it, landing the occasional right of his own, but it was hard to make a case for him winning the rounds as the Belfast man was busier, his jab setting up the left and heading into the final round, it seemed to be going only one way.

Barboza knew he needed something special in the 10th and final round, fighting with more urgency, but he didn't have the weaponry to hurt McComb aside from opening a cut.

It didn't appear to be enough as it seemed to be McComb's night, yet depressingly, and unfortunately not surprising, the judges went for the American by way of split decision, greeted with boos from the crowd.

His post-fight summation that he had been the better fighter booed even louder. It was clear what transpired despite Barboza's attempts at claiming he'd done enough.

"Of course I did (enough to win)," as his comments were almost drowned out by the crowd reaction.

"A shout-out to Sean McComb - a tough guy, a lefty. His movement, reach and being a lefty on top of that, so it was a tough task and I knew it would be tough coming in - he's ranked number eight for a reason."