Tony Bellew was knocked out in the eighth round with his brave bid to overcome the unbeaten cruiserweight champion Oleksandr Usyk ended up in a grieving Manchester stadium.
In his last bout, Bellew attempted to be the first British to have all four major world titles and prestigious ring magazine belts simultaneously in the weight class.
The heavy loser made a brave start in a brave atmosphere, but his fairy tale finish was denied, showing Usyk (now 16-0, 12 KOs) as one of the best fighters on the planet.
Usyk slowly began to dominate and overturned the show with his rivals on the floor in intense 1-2 rounds. After eight rounds two minutes later, Terry O'Connor asked the referee to make the count-off.
Now he has a WBC, WBA, IBF and WBO title at 200 pounds and can now have a heavyweight scene – especially Anthony Joshua – in his sights.
It's my last walk – I've been doing this for 20 years. And now it's over.
Emotional Bellew told BBC Radio 5: "I gave him everything I have, he is an excellent champion, he is everything I fear, he is the best I have ever fought.
"He had a great plan, but he did his best, but not enough. He is too hard, awkward, pressurized, lightly knocked and knocked.
"He's probably the best cruiserweight so far. He or (Evander) is Holyfield – I'd like to see that fight.
"The heavyweights stay away, and he takes a great shot, and I do not even know if I hurt him.
"I've been doing this for 20 years, and it's over."
Bellew was tempted to postpone his retirement plan after Ukraine was convened by Usyk shortly after winning the World Boxing Super Series.
Liverpudlian acknowledged the London 2012 gold medalist, who made considerable strides in his 15 fighting adventures, and "needs to shock the world."
Bellew recalled British rival David Haye as a heavyweight from two lucrative outings, retired to the 200-pound division, and stole a round cage on the back of the bell's last invasion.
Usyk started to establish his left-handed jab at the beginning of the second round but Bellew proved he would not be satisfied simply to absorb the punishment.
Before Bellew stood in the center ring and urged his opponent to move forward, two right-handers of the counter walked in. He was formally moved to the left by two leads in the third round of Bellew.
Usyk landed the best punch of the fight in the fourth round when Stunning Bellew left a short moment.
Usyk, 31, age 4 Bellew's senior began to bruise slowly and beaten Merseyside's opponent. The opponent of Merseyside was saved by a bell at the end of the sixth.
Bellew started to slow down and was noticeably tired when the end came. Usyk followed the sharp right jab with a punishing left hook behind Bellew.
Having finished his career with 30 wins, 3 losses, and 1 draw, the 35-year-old averaged two judges scorecards up to that point and bravely attempted to move his foot.
But the fight ends by O'Connor and leaves Bellew with tears after being led to his corner.
Usyk praised Bellew's early efforts. "I knew I would do it because I have nothing to lose.
"A good champion is like a good opponent.
Regarding his future and possible moves to the heavyweight division, Usyk added: "I had the toughest year in my life, now I want to rest and spend time with my family."