The ravages of a 21-year ring career filled with grueling fights finally became enough for former four-time, two-division world titleholder Orlando Salido.
Salido, who won world titles at featherweight and junior lightweight and thrilled boxing fans with a series of epic slugfests over the years, announced his retirement from boxing on Saturday night.
Salido had just suffered a ninth-round knockout loss to Mexican countryman Miguel "Mickey" Roman in yet another all-out slugfest at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas.
"As they say, father time is undefeated," Salido said after the loss in the HBO-televised main event. "All the wars I had caught up with me. I am leaving the ring knowing that I gave the fans as great a fight that I can give them. I hope they enjoyed it."
The 37-year-old Salido (44-14-4, 31 KOs) and Roman (58-12, 45 KOs) put on an action-packed fight of the year contender, just as expected when the fight was announced.
Salido badly hurt Roman with a right hand in the first round, but Roman, 32, came back to knock Salido down three times. Roman dropped Salido in the fourth round with a right hand on the chin and in the eighth round with a left hook, and when he went down yet again under a hail of punches in the ninth round, referee Robert Byrd waved off the fight at 1 minute, 43 seconds.
"The mind and heart were there, but my body just was not responding," Salido said. "Roman is a young fighter who gave his all, and I was not able to keep up with him. I [am] just an old fighter now."
It was the biggest win of Roman's career.
"It was a great win against a legendary fighter," Roman said. "I came to fight in a war, and that is what it was. It was a great learning lesson, and it will make me a better fighter in the future."
Salido's career won't soon be forgotten, as his name became synonymous with action-packed fights in recent years.
He and then-junior lightweight world titleholder Francisco Vargas fought to a bloody draw in a sensational battle that was the slam-dunk 2016 fight of the year selection.
Salido also was in several other fight of the year contenders, including two junior lightweight title battles with Roman "Rocky" Martinez in 2015 (a close decision loss and a draw in the rematch); a victory in an unforgettable, eight-knockdown slugfest with Terdsak Jandaeng in a 2014 interim junior lightweight title win; and upset knockout victories against Juan Manuel Lopez in 2011 and 2012 featherweight title bouts.
But all of those fights have taken their toll, which Salido acknowledged after the loss to Roman.
"I've beaten young fighters before, but this time, it was a matter of age," Salido said. "Time takes its toll, and obviously, I just couldn't do it. This was my last fight. Thank you to all, to those who will remember me for all the great fights that I had and to the people who have followed me."