Ricky Burns surrendered his WBO lightweight title as he was beaten on points by Terence Crawford in Glasgow on Saturday night.
Crawford got the nod 117-111 from one official and 116-112 from the other two, meaning he not only remains unbeaten but becomes the first born-and-raised world champion from Omaha, Nebraska.
Burns was diplomatic in defeat, his first since being beaten by Carl Johanneson back in 2007, and insisted the broken jaw he had sustained against Beltran was not an issue.
The injury had forced him to switch away from his usual aggressive style and instead go into survival mode last September, but after overcoming the injury with the help of a metal plate it was hoped Burns would be back to his best, particularly in front of a capacity crowd at the SECC.
Crawford had come across the pond with a big reputation and backed by Top Rank, and after a cagey opening three minutes he began to show off his talents as the rounds wore on.
Constantly switching from orthodox to southpaw, the 26-year-old consistently landed while Burns was unable to find his range.
Burns was backed up against the ropes in the fourth round and blood began to trickle from his nose in the seventh, by which time it was already looking like a tall order to come back.
He was fast off his stool at the start of the ninth, showing some commitment to his attacks to lift his compatriots watching on. However, the intent soon disappeared, with Crawford continuing to dominate with slick combinations.
In the last it seemed Crawford could force an early finish, though he was happy to wait for the final bell and accept a landslide victory after going the championship distance for the first time.
Burns raised his hand at the finish but it was more in hope than expectation. He admitted afterwards to Sky Sports that he had been second best, though declared his wish to get a second chance against the man who had ended his lengthy reign.
“The best man won on the night but I’ll be back,” he said. “First thing I said to Eddie (Hearn, promoter) after the fight was ‘we’ll be chasing for a rematch’. Hopefully, we can get that sorted.”