Perth's Daniel Dawson threatened to pull off one of boxing's biggest upsets of 2014 before losing on points to former WBA light-middleweight champion Austin Trout this morning.
Dawson had the New Mexico southpaw down twice in the third round in Temecula, California, but was unable to finish the job, and Trout's quality eventually told in a thrilling encounter.
All three judges gave it to the American 97-90 over the 10 rounds but for a brief moment Dawson, now 40-4-1, looked like delivering a massive shock to end a month of misery for Australian boxers in the US.
After shipping the first two rounds, Dawson suddenly exploded as he punished his opponent for overreaching and smashed in a straight right which sent Trout to the canvas.
Then, as 25-1 on favourite Trout let his guard down, Dawson struck again, this time a shorter right delivered almost with disdain and once more the home fighter was on the floor.
TV statistics showed Kalgoorlie-born Dawson threw only five punches for the entire round, yet two had his man down.
But that was as good as it got for Dawson as Trout, who holds a win over Miguel Cotto, began to work his way back into the fight.
Trout's superior jab and speed ensured Dawson wasn't able to build on his success and the former two-weight Australian champion was caught with a big left late in round six.
Trout, coming off successive losses to Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez and Erislandy Lara, then started opening up a bit, and Dawson's cause wasn't helped when he seemed to roll an ankle in the seventh round.
He was heard to say he had damaged his calf but it was soon his jaw that was hurting when Trout flashed in an upper cut. Then in the eighth another left from Trout had Dawson down for the first time in his career.
Dawson's head was sent back with a straight left in round nine, and he was rocked again by a left as Trout, who won every round but that spectacular third, looked to claim a stoppage win.
But much to his credit 36-year-old Dawson, eight years older than Trout, dug deep and saw out the fight.
Trout, now 27-2, will use the win to get back in the frame for a world title shot, while Dawson will return home and probably angle for a domestic bout against Anthony Mundine.
But for all Dawson's courageous efforts, it was another loss for an Aussie in America, following defeats for Daniel Geale, Blake Caparello, Jarrod Fletcher and Sakio Bika in recent weeks.