As expected, David Starie and Eamonn Magee lost on points over 12 long rounds against German champions on Saturday night in Magdeburg.
Starie was a disappointment in his fight against the unbeaten Sven Ottke for the International Boxing Federation and World Boxing Association super-middleweight titles. The 25-year-old was the underdog, but had chances that he simply let slip away.
There was little in the fight to inspire excitement, but that was not exclusively Starie's fault because Ottke has left a trail of bemused men behind him since turning professional in 1997. Starie was victim number 31 and the 18th person that the German has beaten in defence of the IBF title.
During the last three or four years Ottke has been imaginatively paired in bouts bordering on fantasy with the unbeaten Welshman, Joe Calzaghe, who holds the World Boxing Organisation version of the title. On Saturday's performance Calzaghe would start as a clear favourite, and that would rule out the German's participation in any unification fight because Ottke is the principal boxing attraction in Germany.
When it was over Starie returned to his corner and waited patiently for confirmation that his often uninspiring performance had failed to convince the judges that he had done enough. The three votes arrived all in favour of Ottke, but surprisingly they were by slender margins of two rounds, three rounds and four rounds, which suggests that the fight was close and competitive.
Starie said: "I've mentioned retirement and I'm certainly going home thinking about it. I've accomplished much in boxing and need to think of it. I've had a good career - I've been boxing since the age of 10. It might perhaps be time to call it a day."
In Saturday's joint main event, Otkay Urkal narrowly retained his European light-welterweight title over 12 messy and bloody rounds against Belfast's enigmatic Magee.
Urkal survived a controversial and brief knockdown in round 10 to keep the title in a fight that was not a classic, but had its intense and vicious moments. Magee finished with cuts around both eyes and an ugly bump under his right eye that clearly affected his vision and his ability to move away from Urkal's punches.
At the end of round five there was an urgent and frenzied discussion in Magee's corner when cutsman Mick Williamson told the fighter that his wounds were so serious that they could threaten the fight's completion. Magee did indeed increase the pace, but more importantly Williamson, a London taxi driver by trade, performed miracles with his adrenaline and swabs between rounds to keep the blood at bay.
Magee and Starie have domestic fights in the future to keep them earning - Magee might soon face Junior Witter - but they might look back on Saturday evening and consider it the time when their careers reached a barrier they have failed to clear.Reuse content