Joseph Parker has crashed to defeat in London against raw but brave Londoner Dillian Whyte amongst a barrage of criticism from the TV commentators.
Parker - who had been down twice - dropped Whyte to the canvas in a final frantic round, with both men absolutely exhausted. Whyte clung on, when he looked ready to fall.
It was a fantastic contest, with a storming finish from Parker coming too late and Whyte winning a fully deserved unanimous decision.
Our earlier report:
The weight is good and the wait is over.
After going nose-to-nose with opponent Dillian Whyte in London today, a supremely relaxed and confident Joseph Parker has pronounced himself ready to make the first step back to where he believes he belongs.
In front of a large crowd at a sweltering Spitalfields Market, Parker weighed in at 109.8kg, slightly heavier than the 107.3kg he weighed for the Anthony Joshua world heavyweight title unification bout in Cardiff in April.
But as has been typical of this camp, characterised by self-examination and change after Joshua relieved Parker of his WBO world title belt, the New Zealander didn't do his usual six-round pre-weigh-in work-out which would have had a small effect on his weight.
Trainer Kevin Barry told the Kiwi media after stepping from the stage: "I told Joe yesterday, 'you look fantastic, you're not training tomorrow'."
Whyte weighed in at 117.3kg, meaning he has an 8.5kg weight advantage over Parker, but perhaps significantly, Whyte tipped the scales more than 2kg heavier than his last fight – a knockout win over Lucas Browne – in March.
The 26-year-old Parker is in better physical condition. He is also faster and possesses a better punch variety – a least two reasons why he will be a big favourite to win once he steps through the ropes at the O2 Arena.
A disparate collection of fight fans and office workers enjoying a cool drink or a bite to eat watched as Whyte and Parker went literally nose-to-nose on the stage, the Englishman having a final attempt to intimidate in their last meeting before the fight.
"He tried to act like the tough guy," Parker said in the team bus afterwards before travelling back to a relaxing afternoon at his hotel on the south bank of the Thames.
"He tried to intimidate me by going nose to nose. It was lucky he wasn't breathing and I wasn't breathing or we would have had some issues.
"I went to the side to get a breather," Parker said, adding pragmatically: "It's not going to affect me and I'm not going to affect him."
Earlier, Parker said in a Sky Sports interview after stepping down from the stage: "That's the first time I've been nose to nose with someone - it was interesting."
Whyte said: "I was always going to come in as the heavier man because I'm the naturally bigger man.
"It was a short camp so we didn't want to focus on draining. We just wanted to get the weight down to somewhere we could move and be effective and move as quick as I could.
"I am cool, calm and collected which he has taken for weakness. I'll show him that the Junkyard Dog is still here - he's just behaving himself. Don't take my kindness for weakness."
Before Parker's bus left, Dereck Chisora, who fights Carlos Takam on the undercard, stopped by to wish Parker luck. Fellow heavyweight Chisora, who maintains a well-known feud with countryman Whyte (the pair were separated by security on their way to and from the stage), told Parker: "Bro, sleep well. I tell you man – get on your bike for six rounds and get him to play catch-up. That's your game, bro."
He also complimented Parker on a certain punch he landed against Joshua in his unaminous points defeat. Parker thanked Chisora for his advice, saying to those at the front of the bus later: "It makes sense, but as Kev says, 'if you get the opportunity…' There are a few punches we've been working on, a few surprises."
As he has said all week, Parker is determined to put on a display in order to re-build his reputation as he plots a route back to the top of the world. A win is mandatory, a stoppage in a crowd-pleasing scrap pretty close behind.
"It's just another day in the office," he said. "We enjoy it. The whole team comes on the bus to the weigh-in. We enjoy that. We're heading back now. We've already planned a nice lunch at Nando's. I'll have a steak for dinner.
"You have to enjoy it because if you don't you miss the whole experience."
Tale of the tape
Joseph Parker (NZL)
Dillian Whyte (ENG)
Fighting for: World Boxing Council silver heavyweight title and vacant World Boxing Organisation international heavyweight title
The fight at the sold-out O2 Arena will be screened live on Sky Sports pay per view from 5am on Sunday NZT.