It wasn't the result Brad Pickett wanted in the final fight of his over 12-year career on Saturday, but as commentator Dan Hardy told the beloved Brit after his third-round TKO loss to Marlon Vera at the O2 Arena in London, it didn't matter what the result was.
For the fans that cheered their favorite son on and celebrated him throughout fight week, Pickett went out like a fighter, the way he always conducted himself. And while he will be sorely missed, the 38-year-old does retire on his own terms.
In the process, Ecuador's Vera, who took the fight on a week's notice, replacing Henry Briones, now has a new lease on his fighting career after this memorable effort.
Aggressive from the start, Vera was accurate with his kicks and knees, keeping Pickett from unleashing his own arsenal. But the veteran had plenty of tricks up his sleeve, including a couple takedowns and a left hook that scored a flash knockdown in round one.
But in the third, Vera came out looking to finish strong, and he did, with a flush kick to the head putting Pickett on the canvas. Two follow up shots then brought in referee Grant Waterman to stop the fight at 3:50 of the final round.
With the win, Vera moves to 9-3-1; Pickett retires with a 26-14 record.