Light heavyweight Bernard Hopkins finally ran into a problem he couldn't solve on Saturday night as the ageless master lost his IBF and WBA titles to WBO champion Sergey Kovalev at Boardwalk Hall in America's Atlantic City, NJ.
The extensive bag of techniques that the 49 year old has used to great effect to neutralize opponents for the past two decades were employed this time to simply survive against the hammer-fisted Kovalev.
Any ambition that Hopkins held was extinguished in the very first round when a Kovalev right hand to the temple floored the former middleweight champion.
Hopkins was quickly back up on his feet and not seriously hurt but had gained an instant respect for the awesome power possessed by his 31 year old opponent.
From that point on it was rare that Hopkins launched an offense but did on occasion catch Kovalev with enough shots to keep the Russian respectful of the still dangerous abilities of "The Alien".
It was quite a defensively artistic performance from Hopkins, repeatedly put on the ropes and cornered yet very rarely caught flush by Kovalev as the Philadelphian used angles and head movement to escape catastrophe.
Kovalev did stun Hopkins in the eighth with another temple shot but the veteran somehow managed to avoid touching down on the canvas. Hopkins did launch several small rallies where he put a surprised Kovalev on the back foot but he could not maintain the initiative.
"Krusher" went for broke in the 12th and final round, absolutely battering Hopkins, who showed amazing durability and heart to withstand the biggest puncher in the sport's best efforts.
Kovalev deservedly swept the cards by margins of 120-107, 120-107 and 120-106 to go to 26-0 (23) while Hopkins, now standing at 55-7-2 (32), becomes the first Kovalev opponent since to go the distance since 2010.
Next up for Kovalev could be another unification, this time against Canada's WBC kingpin Adonis Stevenson should the southpaw come through his defense against Dmitry Sukhotsky in December.
Hopkins could very well call it a well-deserved day after a long and glorious career that began 26 years ago.
The undercard in Atlantic City saw an upset as welterweight Sadam Ali, 21-0 (13), halted the more experienced Luis Carlos Abregu, 36-2 (29), in nine rounds for the WBO Intercontinetal strap.