David Haye insists there was "no way" he was going to pull out of tonight's showdown with heavyweight rival Wladimir Klitschko despite a toe injury which he blamed for the one-sided defeat.
After more than two years of trash talking he failed to produce at the soaking wet Imtech Arena football stadium, unable to back up his distasteful and aggressive bravado by instead fighting defensively and losing with scores of 117-109, 118-108 and 116-110.
He insisted those tactics were enforced by injury, however, with a broken toe suffered in training.
"I feel okay physically, I took a few shots, a few more than I normally do, but that is heavyweight boxing, you are going to take some punches," he said.
"There were some big exchanges, Wladimir boxed the perfect fight and used his size and reach, so I wasn't able to land attacks like I like to do.
"There are two factors [in the defeat].
"He has got a very good defence, he moves back a lot, but I feel the majority of the reason - and it makes me sick when boxers make excuses - is I broke a toe three weeks ago.
"There was no way I was going to pull out of this fight. But I was unable to push off my foot to shoot off my right hand and that's why I feel it didn't allow me to throw big, powerful punches.
"That's boxing. You don't get it your own way all the time.
But the victorious Klitschko, who by winning the WBA title and adding it to his IBF and WBO belts ensured he and brother Vitali hold all four major crowns, mocked his fierce rival.
"You have a broken toe? I would give David some advice - don't say anything right now, like you have a broken toe and couldn't compete.
"You'll be called a sore loser. It won't look good.
"Take it like it is. I could pull out certain things [injuries] as well but I have learned it is definitely wrong to do that.
"Do you have a medical statement?"
Haye responded by showing him the little toe on his right foot, to which Klitschko said: "It's a bee sting!"
Haye, who headed into the bout with a record of 25-1 with 23 knockouts, ended over two years of waiting when he finally came face to face with Klitschko (55-3, 49KOs).
Haye went in as the clear betting underdog, conceding three inches in height, two stone in weight, years in experience and home advantage against a 35-year-old who had reigned since his last knockout defeat seven years ago.
Roared on by around 10,000 British fans among the approximately 40,000-strong crowd, Haye started the fight warily.
A cagey opening saw Haye down from a slip as Klitschko jabbed from distance. Klitschko was edging it and a right got through late in the second.
Haye remained open to the jab but had his own success with a right over the top early in the third and the same shot, doubled up, before the session ended. Klitschko fired back with Haye against the ropes.
It remained conservative fare for the most part.
The fifth was particularly laborious until a Klitschko straight right landed cleanly on Haye's chin and the Londoner did well to swallow it and carry on.
Haye kept slipping and referee Genaro Rodriguez docked Klitschko a point for pushing Haye down in the seventh. A right from Klitschko at the end of the ninth seemed to hurt Haye slightly.
Haye landed a right hand in close then fell yet again in the 10th as the pair traded short rights at the bell.
When he went down again easily in the 11th, referee Rodriguez gave him a count and therefore effectively docked him a point.
Haye edged the final round as both opened up more in the final three minutes and when it went to the scorecards it was rightly Klitschko who took the win.