Far from being the end of Anthony Mundine's career, his rematch with Daniel Geale might be just the second in a series of bouts between the pair.
Geale avenged his loss to Mundine in Brisbane in 2009 with a unanimous points win to retain the IBF middleweight belt, although the Mundine camp were far from impressed by the decision.
Whatever the result, all parties agreed it was one of the greatest fights seen in Australia, and Fairfax Media understands both camps would be interested in another fight.
Watched by a large and vocal crowd at Sydney Entertainment Centre, which included the likes of Sonny Bill Williams, Ricky Ponting, Quade Cooper, Paul Gallen, David Gallop and NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell, Mundine and Geale went at each other from start to finish.
With many believing a loss would end his 13-year career, Mundine was like a caged tiger. After the decision, he left the ring without speaking.
While the defeat is a severe blow to his aspirations to fight against some of boxing's biggest names, the 37-year-old showed he was far from a spent force.
For Geale, the fight was about revenge. ''I put things to rest,'' he said. ''I wanted to make up for what happened in the first fight.
''It was enjoyable tonight, I took a great deal of enjoyment from punching him. I was a little bit disappointed I couldn't finish it.
"We want the big hard fights now, we want to head overseas, we want to bring big fights to Australia."
The pair stood toe-to-toe in the centre of the ring for most of the first round, probing for an opening and moving evasively when the other tried to land a shot.
Aware that it was the second round that counted so heavily against him in their last bout in 2009 after Mundine landed more punches and knocked him down, Geale came out aggressively.
Initially forced back onto the ropes, Mundine fought his way out of trouble and managed to find his way through Geale's defence on several occasions with his lightning left jab.
But it was Geale who had been landing the heavier blows and Mundine had to get more aggressive in the thir round, twice being warned for using his head when he found himself in trouble.
There was some concern in the Mundine camp at the beginning of the fourth round, with one supporter calling for him to ''send Geale back to Tasmania''.
But Geale wasn't going anywhere and the pair continued to trade punches in one of the best wars Australian boxing has seen.
As in their first fight, Geale threw the greater volume of punches but Mundine landed with a higher percentage of his.
Who landed the most overall was difficult to tell but neither boxer was prepared to yield.
Mundine was again cautioned for leading with his head when he found himself on the ropes in the sixth round but the seventh was arguably his best and he looked to be getting on top.
A frustrated Geale was warned in the eighth round punching Mundine in the back of the head but in the ninth he came out showboating and virtually dared the Man to go after him.
It appeared as if Geale was determined that the fight be decided by knockout and he did his best to lift the intensity at a time when both boxers should have been tiring.
But the closest that looked like happening was when Geale twice slipped in the 11th and 12th rounds, and the fight finished with both boxers giving their all to ensure victory.
Bring it on again.
- Sydney Morning Herald