Manny Pacquiao slipped to a unanimous decision defeat to Yordenis Ugas in their world welterweight championship fight in Las Vegas on Saturday night.
The boxing legend was making his comeback at the age of 42 after two years out of the ring but had little of his trademark speed and power remaining.
He will now face questions about whether he has boxed for the final time, or whether his Hall of Fame career that makes him the only man to win world titles in eight divisions can be extended to a 73rd fight.
He was expected on Saturday night to fight IBF and WBC champion Errol Spence Jr, who withdrew injured, but eventually toiled behind WBA titleholder Ugas’ jab.
Ugas held his feet in the centre of the ring and pumped out a jab which earned him the better of the earlier rounds. When Pacquiao attempted a trademark flurry, Ugas caught him with a right hand.
Marking around Pacquiao’s eye by the fourth round was evidence that the great man wasn’t having this fight all his own way.
Pacquiao just couldn’t muster the blistering speed and crushing power that he has displayed so brilliantly over the past two decades.
Ugas, however, was content to fight on the counter so Pacquiao’s activity levels were keeping him competitive.
A right hand from Ugas in the eighth round struck its target and the legendary Filipino wasn’t able to reply.
Pacquiao’s famous left hand stung Ugas for the first time in the 10th round. Ugas nailed him back.
The work-rate from Pacquaio intensified and he was clearly throwing a higher volume of punches.
In the 12th round, and the 498th and perhaps last of his esteemed career, Pacquiao piled forwards but there was a sense of desperation about his effort.
He ended the fight with damage around both eyes.
The judges scored it 115-113, 116-112, 116-112 for the Cuban.
Pacquiao’s official record now stands at 62 wins, eight losses and two draws.
The sensational southpaw has had career-defining wins against Erik Morales, Oscar De La Hoya and Ricky Hatton. He shared four incredible fights with Juan Manuel Marquez. He lost the highest-grossing fight of all time to Floyd Mayweather but became one of the biggest US-based attractions in the history of the sport himself.