American Roy Jones Jr. has reclaimed his World Boxing Council light-heavyweight title with a hard-fought split decision over countryman Antonio Tarver.

Jones' backers say he is boxing's best pound-for-pound fighter. He seemed to tire in the late stages of the 12-round bout, but the judges decided that he out-boxed Tarver.

Two judges scored it a win for Jones, and the third had the two 34-year-old fighters tied. The decision was Jones' 14th straight win. The Las Vegas, Nevada fight late Saturday was Jones' first bout since he won the World Boxing Association world heavyweight crown eight months ago.

Jones moved up to the heavyweight category to challenge sluggers such as Lennox Lewis of Britain and Americans Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield. But when his backers could not arrange a suitable contract, Jones sweated off more than 11 kilograms and returned to the light-heavyweight division to fight Tarver.

Jones says he would like to fight as a heavyweight once again, to take on Mike Tyson, and would then retire.