Scott Quigg could be retired from boxing after being beaten by Jono Carroll through an 11th round stoppage at Manchester Arena.
Quigg, a former WBA super bantamweight champion, hoped to prove that he was still capable of fighting at an elite level but he fought against his Irish enemy.
Although he never appeared to be seriously injured, Quigg faltered a few times and it looked like he could have been removed before coach Joe Gallagher finally threw in the towel on the penultimate lap.
The 31-year-old offered no excuses after being arrested for the first time in his 40-fight professional career before admitting that he would most likely withdraw from the sport.
“He was the best man of the night,” Quigg told Sky Sports. “After the fourth lap, I didn’t feel like I was there, I was chasing after him. But no excuses, the best won and fair play for him.
“I’m realistic, I’m not kidding anyone. I think at my peak, I would have won that, no problem, and that doesn’t take anything away from Jono. In my day, I think he would not have lived with me.
“On this performance and on what I felt, I don’t know if there is much left, to be honest.”
Quigg (35-3-2, 26KO) has defended his version of the 122-pound world title six times, four times in Manchester, where he lost to Carl Frampton in a unification bout four years ago.
After joining the highly respected trainer Freddie Roach, Quigg went down to featherweight and challenged Oscar Valdez in March 2018, but was underweight, which means that the WBO title from Mexico was not at stake.
In 12 brutal rounds in which the two fighters suffered injuries that would have kept them away for several months, Quigg abandoned a unanimous decision.
A low-key victory over the unannounced Mario Briones followed later in the year and it was his last outing until his date with Carroll (now 18-1-1, 4KOs), after returning to trainer Gallagher .
Quigg added, “I couldn’t have done more because I gave it my all; I did not back down, I gave him 150%. I was world champion, I had a great career.
“I am here, I sold arenas. There is no place where I would have preferred to box and if it is the case, thank you to all those who came to support me throughout my career . “
On the undercard, British heavyweight Hughie Fury (24-3, 14KO) returned to victory with a third-round save from little-known Pavel Sour.