Manchester's John Murray failed in his bid to claim the WBA lightweight title as he was stopped in the 11th round by Brandon Rios in New York.
Murray matched his American rival early on but Rios started to take control after he drew blood in round six.
The 11th round was all one-way traffic with Murray taking punch after punch, prompting the fight to be stopped.
It was Murray's second successive defeat following a loss to domestic rival Kevin Mitchell in July.
Rios, 25, had earlier been stripped of his title, which is now vacant, after failing to make the weight limit.
A win for Murray would have seen him declared the WBA 'world' champion, although Mexico's Juan Manuel Marquez is the governing body's 'super' champion, meaning the bout was not for a world title in the strictest sense.
Ahead of the fight, former European lightweight champion Murray said he would "shock the world" by beating Rios at Madison Square Garden.
Murray made a promising start before Rios, who is now unbeaten in 29 fights as a professional, showed the kind of form which made him champion.
Rios drew blood in the sixth and subsequently pressed home his advantage, while Murray was docked a point for a low blow in round seven.
A brave Murray briefly sparked into life in round nine, indicating he might find a way back into the contest, but it was only a temporary flurry and he landed few meaningful shots.
By contrast, Rios was making his punches count and come the 11th round it was one way traffic as Murray, with his face badly swollen, began to take some fierce shots.
Rios had reportedly been on a water-only diet for two days in a bid to make the weight, but Murray could not make his better preparation count.