Viva Las Vegas! Jamie McDonnell is heading for the Strip after retaining his title of WBA king in Liverpool.
But there will be plenty of tuning up required if he is going to add to his collection of belts in the fight capital of the world if the distinctly off-key performance on Saturday night is anything to go by.
Game opponent Javier Chacon retired early in the tenth round after suffering a suspected dislocated shoulder. It was a disappointed way to go out for a late change opponent who definitely was not there to make up the numbers.
Had he not withdrawn, there would likely have been a somewhat nervy wait for a points decision after McDonnell had struggled to take control of what proved to be a difficult encounter.
Argentina’s Chacon was a tricky foe to tackle and he adeptly prevented McDonnell from using his greater height to his advantage.
Instead, the height difference became somewhat of a burden to the Doncaster fighter who struggled to find his jab.
Chacon made it even more difficult as he squatted low to throw shots, targeting the body in particular.
Early rounds proved very difficult to call with both men having patches of success.
Body shots for both were particularly useful.
In pure aggression terms, Chacon was the more in control as he consistently walked McDonnell down, backing him up onto the ropes and looking for power shots.
There was little of the McDonnell to which we have become accustomed – one that can tie foes in knots with superb movement.
And throughout he seemed to struggle to move through the gears, looking rather sluggish at times and lacking his usual zippiness in attack.
It was only in the third when McDonnell looked like he could establish some control. A jab was followed up with a pair of body shots, the second of which was a wince-inducing left hook that certainly troubled Chacon.
There were other moments when his accuracy shined but the first half of the fight was pick-em.
After a difficult seventh round when Chacon had perhaps his most regular success with clean shots and landed a particularly flush overhand right, McDonnell began to go into the ascendency.
Chacon’s efforts were on the wane, whether down to injury or general fatigue.
It is unclear exactly when Chacon suffered the injury which would end the bout.
But he was certainly is some discomfort after landing a right hook straight to McDonnell’s hip bone in the eighth round.
It was in those three minutes that McDonnell showed his best accuracy and his right hook was landing almost every time it was thrown.
He began to unpick a rather basic approach from Chacon in the ninth and was somewhat beginning to find his stride as the fight ended.
Less than 40 seconds into the tenth, Chacon backed off and walked to his corner, gesturing to his shoulder.
It was a slight let-off for McDonnell and when he travels to the US early next year for his unification bout with WBO champion Tomoki Kameda, he must be better.
His tough time with Chacon must prove to be a timely wake-up call.