Ricky Hatton's fairytale return to the ring ended in defeat after he was knocked out by a ninth-round body shot from fellow former champion Vyacheslav Senchenko.
Hatton, 34, was back in the ring for the first time since a devastating second-round knockout by Manny Pacquiao in 2009.
The Mancunian started aggressively without landing anything of note, until a left hook and short right connected.
But as the fight went on the Ukrainian landed several power shots which did seem to take their toll in the eighth as his momentum built.
Then Hatton was floored in the ninth by a left to the body which sent him crashing to the floor.
The crowd urged their hero to rise but he was simply in too much agony as referee Victor Loughlin stopped the fight with eight seconds left in the round.
Hatton was hoping to prove something to himself, his critics and his demons after seeing his life fall to pieces since the Pacquiao loss.
He had decided not to warm up against a soft touch and instead opted to fight against credible opposition in the form of former WBA champion Senchenko.
After the fight an emotional Hatton said he was retiring from boxing for a second time.
"I needed one more fight to see if I had still got it - and I haven't. I found out tonight it isn't there no more. I can look at myself in the mirror and tell myself I did my best, but there is always an excuse to find.
"I got in the best shape I possibly could but if I hadn't been hit with that body shot I would have just scraped over the line with a points win and I honestly think I would still be telling you all the same thing.
"A fighter knows and I know it isn't there any more. I got the opportunity and I got the answers and, no matter how upsetting it is, I have got to be a man and say it is the end of Ricky Hatton."