Andy Lee’s world title bid ended in a seventh round stoppage in El Paso on Saturday night.
The American-based Limerick man simply had no answer to the power of Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. in their WBC middleweight fight.
Chavez took six rounds and two minutes 21 seconds to stop the 28-year-old in his first world championship decider.
Watched by fellow Irish contender Matthew Macklin, Lee began well with his jab causing Chavez problems in the first two rounds.
But once the champ recovered from a slow start – which he later blamed on leg cramps – there was no disputing who was going to win the Texas battle.
A right uppercut which snapped Lee’s head upwards and sideways began the damage.
Chavez then landed a series of unanswered punches before referee Laurence Cole called a halt.
Afterwards the champion said: “I began by studying him. I saw he had nothing, and I dove in.”
“He’s strong, he’s young, he’s big. He gave me everything he had, but he couldn’t do anything to me.”
Chavez even taunted Lee in the fifth round before stepping up another gear in the seventh.
Lee admitted: “I couldn’t hold him off. He was too big and too strong.”
The Irishman’s trainer Emmanuel Steward agreed. He said: “Junior fought a smart fight. He’s very strong. He passed the test.”
Chavez now wants title-unification fight with recognized world middleweight champion Sergio Martinez.
“Martinez moves a lot,” Chavez said. “That’s a fight I have to make.”