Ricky Hatton's hopes of a big-money showdown with Arturo Gatti went up in smoke when the popular Canadian failed in his bid to beat WBC welterweight champion Carlos Baldomir in Atlantic City.
Gatti, a former world title holder at super-featherweight and light-welterweight, found the Argentinian just too strong as he fell to a ninth-round stoppage loss.
Baldomir could now enter the equation as a future opponent for WBA welterweight champion Hatton, but the 35-year-old carries nowhere near the same pulling power with American fight fans.
Hatton's trainer, Billy Graham, said: "That's just cost me an absolute fortune, but that's the way it goes. I enjoyed the fight but I'm just deflated, we really needed Gatti to win.
"I've got to be honest, the money that was on offer (for a fight with Gatti) was way too much to turn down.
"Baldomir has got the belt and we could do some stuff, but he's not really attractive just yet."
Graham is convinced Hatton could extend his unbeaten record to 42-0 against the durable South American, who after his win called for a showdown with either the Mancunian or IBF kingpin Floyd Mayweather.
"I think he's very beatable," said Graham. "Obviously he's strong, he's competent and he's got a good chin, but he's beatable.
"I think Mayweather will be desperate to fight him, let's put it that way."
Graham believes 27-year-old Hatton would be better served by a return to light-welterweight after struggling to overcome Luis Collazo on his debut at 147lbs in May.
However, he admitted: "You've got to be realistic, all the big fights are in the welterweight division, all the big money is in the welterweight division.
"The decision won't be mine. I've said what I believe, I think Ricky Hatton is a light-welterweight, but money dictates."
Gatti, meanwhile, admitted he will now consider hanging up his gloves, but was also full of praise for Baldomir.
The 34-year-old said: "By the time I had neutralised him with my boxing ability it was already too late - I was already tiring under his pressure, he's very strong.
"He was getting stronger as the rounds went on and I was getting weaker. I tried to box him but he knew what he was doing and fought a very good fight.
"After a beating like that I don't know what I'm going to do, but I'll be having a long rest before I decide."