Matthew Macklin was hearty and brave, but there was no escaping the deep sense of disappointment at the 3Arena on Saturday night.
This was supposed to signal Macklin's passage to another world middleweight title shot, but Argentina's Jorge Sebastian Heiland finished a gruelling battle with a brutal 10th round combination.
Macklin was on the canvas and left to ponder on what might have been. “He stepped it up when he needed to and I paid the price,” the 32-year-old admitted minutes after the fight.
“I believe I’m world class and that I’m capable of winning a world title so I will have to see where I go from here,” Macklin reflected following the loss.
Promoter Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Sport paid tribute to Macklin's honesty. "He is a credit to the sport, it is tough to walk away, Matthew will always have bundles of desire and heart. Beforehand I looked at the odds and the bookmakers were way off," Hearn said about the generous 13 to 2 which was available on a Heiland victory.
It was a real pity it concluded in such harrowing fashion for Macklin as a passionate Dublin audience filled the North Wall venue offering evidence of the interest which exists in the fight game.
The undercard was loaded with promising Irish fighters with the convalescing John Joe Nevin enjoying a smashing success inside 85 seconds against Jack Heath.
Nevin, an Olympic silver medalist in 2012, was thrilled to box professionally for the first time in Ireland.
“Of course there will be tougher tests, but that is what I want. I’m here to test myself. I’d like to bring the Irish fans a world title.”
There was a similarly short bout in the 'grudge clash' involving Gary 'Spike' O'Sullivan and Anthony Fitzgerald.
Seventy five seconds is all it took for O’Sullivan to land the blows which truly mattered.
Macklin is who O’Sullivan wants to fight now. “There were a few harsh words prior, but it is finished now. I’d like to fight Matthew Macklin next and I’m worthy of that fight. It’s the one I want,” O’Sullivan revealed.
Dubliners Patrick Hyland and Luke Keeler and Belfast's Tommy McCarthy were others to enjoy victories earlier on in an evening which offered nuggets of hope for the future of Irish boxing.