Promoter Eddie Hearn is considering putting Ricky Burns into a high-profile domestic fight away from Scotland after attempts to get him back in the world-title mix backfired spectacularly.
Burns was floored within 30 seconds of his comeback from losing his WBO lightweight belt before suffering a points loss to Montenegrin Dejan Zlaticanin in an official WBC eliminator.
The 31-year-old looked shaken after getting up from the early left-hook counter and Zlaticanin dominated the early stages, putting Burns under pressure with some intense flurries.
The Coatbridge fighter steadied himself and looked better in the latter stages but diminutive southpaw Zlaticanin, fighting outside the Balkans for the first time, continued to cause him problems with his left hook and consistently threw the more dangerous punches before winning a split decision.
However, his victory looked clear-cut to most inside Glasgow's Braehead Arena and left Burns facing an ongoing struggle to rediscover the form that made him a two-weight world champion.
The counter left that the unbeaten Zlaticanin found such joy with had been utilised to good effect by Raymundo Beltran when he broke Burns' jaw in the Scot's last successful, but highly contentious, defence of his title, and in a skilful display by Terence Crawford that ended his long reign as world champion.
Hearn said: "Probably take the first four rounds away, I thought he won the fight quite comfortably, but it's the same mistakes, throwing hooks with your chin in the air and getting caught by a hooker. It was a nightmare start.
"I think we need to take him away from Scotland for his next fight, because every time he fights there is so much pressure and expectation. He is going to have a holiday and see how he feels but I can't see him quitting in a million years because he loves to fight. It's not as if he's an old man, he is physically fit and loves to fight.
"He trains harder than anyone else down the gym, his sparring is better than anyone else, but he is not delivering it in the ring. I don't know what it is. It's not desire, he still has the desire."
Hearn will now look to set up an all-British fight to see if Burns can recapture his form, with the likes of Tommy Coyle, Anthony Crolla, Derry Matthews and possibly Kevin Mitchell all potential opponents.
"I don't believe Zlaticanin will go on to win a world title," he said. "If you can't beat him, you are not going to go on and win a world title.
"His next fight will have to be a tough domestic fight. You have to win that and then have another fight like Zlaticanin to get in the world title mix.
"This was about winning back the confidence of the people and Ricky Burns but we have taken another step back.
"But Ricky was sitting in the dressing room saying he feels he has let people down and needs to get back into the gym and improve. He was crying his eyes out."
There was plenty to cheer for the home crowd earlier in the bill with Willie Limond winning a Lonsdale at the third time of asking by beating Curtis Woodhouse in a convincing points victory.
The 35-year-old Commonwealth champion, whose previous attempts ended in defeat by Alex Arthur and Crolla, twice put the spirited Woodhouse on the deck with upper-cuts and boxed skilfully throughout despite the defending champion's brave comeback bid.
Hearn could now fix the Glaswegian up for a shot at Italian Michele di Rocco's European belt.
Edinburgh's Stephen Simmons won his grudge match with Wadi Camacho with a 10th-round stoppage following a close affair for the WBC Silver International cruiserweight belt.