Tyson Fury's shot at completing a remarkable return to the top of world boxing saw him survive two knockdowns in an enthralling, edge-of-your-seat stalemate with WBC Word heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder in Los Angeles.
In one of the most thrilling heavyweight contests of this millennium, the Briton was floored in the ninth round and dropped heavily in the final moments, setting up an incredible finish where the Mancunian had to survive the remaining two minutes.
Mexican judge Alejandro Rochin scored the fight 115-111 to Wilder, Canada's Robert Tapper scored it 114-112 to Fury and the third judge, Britain's Phil Edwards, had it 113-113.
Former undisputed World heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis was sat ringside and was in no doubt that his fellow Brit was the deserved winner of the contest, stating that he was reminded of his draw with Evander Holyfield in 1999 at Madison Square Garden.
"It happened to me and I knew it was going to hapen to him," said Lewis.
He added, "Tyson won the fight for me, I thought Deontay boxed very poorly."
"To take something away from someone who has come from hell and back, to ruin the biggest comeback in boxing history, probably in sports history, is a disgrace," raged Fury's trainer Ben Davison.
"What sort of sick people have you got to be. Disgraceful!"
Fury's promoter Frank Warren added: "I didn't think he was going to get up. And after he got up, Fury was pushing him back. He's a natural born fighter.
"It's a draw but everybody knows he won it."
Fury displayed his evasive, mobile, counter-punching skills that made his name before his 30-month spell away from the sport and he enjoyed success in the middle rounds.
It was the 12th and final round where he lay motionless on the canvas after a savage combination from the Alabama puncher and it looked like the writing was on the wall, but 'The Gypsy King' just managed to beat the count and see out the contest in dramatic fashion.
Fury - and much of the ringside media - felt he had won and that the WBC title should have been his.
After 36 minutes of the most tense and absorbing action, both men spoke of a rematch, which appears a certainty.
Fury, whose promoter Frank Warren claimed "everyone knows" his man had won, said: "We're on away soil. I got knocked down but I still believe I won the fight. I'm showing total professionalism.
"The Gypsy King has returned. I'm a professional athlete who loves to fight. He is a fearsome fighter. The world knows the truth."
Wilder said his two knockdowns meant he "definitely won the fight".
"I don't know if [a rematch] will be my next fight but would love it to be. We need to do it again."
Those at ringside - who included boxing greats Floyd Mayweather, Evander Holyfield, Lennox Lewis and James 'Buster' Douglas - and the rest of the world watching on were all astonished at how Fury managed to get up from seemingly looked like total knock out. The right hand and left hook Wilder landed cleanly in the final round were crushing and looked certain to have ended the contest.
"I saw his eyes roll into the back of his head. I was like it's over," Wilder said afterwards.
The 17,698 in the Staples Center had seen Fury contribute immensely, landing punches time and again and goading his rival with confidence.
The Briton frustrated his big-hitting American counterpart but produced blows of his own, landing a stunning left-right in the seventh that prompted Wilder to give chase and swing to no avail as Fury evaded.
But the threat from a man with 39 knockout wins remained always in evidence, as some at ringside watched through their hands.
The power punches duly came, a chopping right hand behind Fury's ear sending the Briton down in round nine. He held on, ducked, bravely punched back and survived.
The knockdown in the 12th would have turned 99% of the world heavyweights' lights out and Wilder looked totally stunned to see his rival come back for more after crashing to the canvas and the final bell brought roars of appreciation from the satisfied crowd.
A rematch is already being talked about in the UK.
Britain's Jason Welborn suffered defeat in pursuit of two light-middleweight world titles as reigning champion Jarrett Hurd secured a fourth-round stoppage in Los Angeles.
Birmingham's Welborn, 32, aggressively came forward early on and peppered the IBF and WBA world champion in the fourth round with his trademark combinations. American Hurd got his back off the ropes to land a crippling body shot. Welborn bravely rose to his feet to beat the count, just, but the bout was waved off, giving Hurd his 23rd straight win.