Ricky Burns has made it clear that he would continue boxing after losing his WBA super-lightweight belt to Julius Indongo in a unification clash at the SSE Hydro in Glasgow.
The 34-year-old was outclassed in a unanimous points decision - one of the judges awarded Indongo all 12 rounds - but Scotland's first three-weight world champion suggested post-fight that a tough night against the awkward and rangy southpaw from Namibia would not be his last in the ring.
The impressive Indongo extended his own record to 22-0 and now holds the IBF, IBO and WBA titles.
Indongo had made a cut-throat sign to Burns at the weigh-in on Friday afternoon at the St Enoch centre in Glasgow, but there appeared to be little real niggle between the two fighters in the build-up to the encounter.
Burns was on the back foot from the first bell as Indongo came in swinging, marking the cheek of the Coatbridge fighter in the first round, albeit it may have come from a clash of heads.
The African connected with a couple of fine left hooks in the second and kept Burns on the retreat, although the home fighter's defence was solid enough.
The local fighter showcased more of his talent in the next couple of rounds and the fans came alive in the sixth when a thumping right hand found its way through but Indongo's reach advantage continued to pose problems.
The man from Namibia looked to be running out of steam which made it easier for Burns to connect and the seventh was his best round with a couple of good combinations no doubt impressing the judges.
The fans sensed the contest might be turning towards their man but Indongo responded in the eighth with some powerful rights and once again Burns was on the defensive and looking ill at ease.
In the final round Burns fell to the floor. It was deemed a slip but a sense of foreboding enveloped the arena, confirmed by the judges' scorecards.
Burns said: “I’ve still got a few years left and big fights ahead of me. I’m certainly not finished yet. Losing is the most gutting feeling. It’s not nice but I’ve always said I will fight anyone. I’m not afraid to lose.
“I’ve done it before. Everyone knows what I’m like. Just give me a time and a place and I’ll go in with the best. This is all I’ve ever wanted to do. I’ll take a few weeks off, have a holiday with my family then look at my options.
“The crowd in the Hydro on Saturday was unbelievable. When the bagpipes stopped and they were singing Flower of Scotland, the hairs were standing up on the back of my neck. It would be good to get another big fight here.”