A Split Decision happens when both Little Mac and the opponent last three rounds without being KO'd or TKO'd. When this happens, the referee steps in and thinks for a moment. After this, he will raise his arm and point to either the left (Little Mac) or the right (Opponent). Sometimes, he will play tricks with the player and look like he points to the right, but he then swings his arm and really points to Little Mac and vice versa. His decision is final and cannot be overturned.
When the referee points to Mac, the player gets the animation of Mac barely winning the match. (The scene when Doc Louis steps in and says "He can always take a whoopin'! Hahahaha!") The player can also hear heavy breathing and a heart beating in the background. It is assumed that this is Mac's breathing in anticipation of who the referee will choose.
- In the NES version of Punch-Out!!, to win by decision, Little Mac must acquire a certain score (Ex: 5000 points in the match against Glass Joe).
- Not all fights can be won by decision; for example, matches against Mr. Sandman and Super Macho Man in the NES version will always be decided in their favor.
- In the SNES version of Super Punch-Out!!, the player automatically loses if the fight lasts a full round.
- In the Wii version of Punch-Out!!, knockdowns or health left determine the winner, with health being the decider only if both fighters have the same number of knockdowns.
- In the Wii version of Punch Out!!, Glass Joe has a Contender challenge that involves knocking him down three times, but then losing to him by decision.