Former lightweight titleholder Antonio DeMarco announces retirement

Former lightweight titleholder Antonio DeMarco, who lost a shutout 10-round decision to Rances Barthelemy on Sunday at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, announced his retirement Tuesday.

"I want to apologize to all who had confidence in me and to my family. I feel at peace and at the same time disappointed with myself," DeMarco said in a statement. "I thank God and boxing and the people who always supported me for all they gave me during my career. It's tough, but I know God will show me new goals and dreams to conquer.

"God bless you today and always, and all my fights were for you, my family and people that helped me in my beginnings. Thanks to God for allowing me to fulfill my dream. I will miss the ring and all the people, but will always have them in my heart."

DeMarco (31-5-1, 23 KOs), 29, of Mexico, relied more on his grit and determination than smooth boxing skills and found himself in many tough, action-packed fights.

The junior welterweight bout Sunday was not one of them because Barthelemy, a former junior lightweight world titleholder, dominated the bout from start to finish, knocking DeMarco down in the fourth round and winning 99-89 on all three judges' scorecards.

DeMarco, a southpaw, who was raised in abject poverty, turned pro in 2004 and got his first shot at a lightweight world title in 2010. He faced the late Edwin Valero and suffered a ninth-round knockout loss in Monterrey, Mexico.

Three fights later, DeMarco got another opportunity and met the heavily favored Jorge Linares for a vacant lightweight belt in 2011. DeMarco was way behind on the scorecards but severely cut Linares, who was running out of gas in the late rounds when DeMarco came storming back and knocked him out in the 11th round for a major upset at Staples Center in Los Angeles on the Bernard Hopkins-Chad Dawson I undercard.

DeMarco made two successful title defenses, returning to his hometown of Los Mochis and defeating Miguel Roman by fifth-round knockout and knocking out John Molina in the first round on the Andre Ward-Dawson undercard in Oakland, California. In his next bout, DeMarco lost the belt in a one-sided eighth-round knockout to Adrien Broner in Atlantic City, New Jersey, in 2012.

Following a nine-month layoff, DeMarco moved up in weight and won three fights in a row, which paved the way to challenge junior welterweight titlist Jessie Vargas in Macau, China, in November on the Manny Pacquiao-Chris Algieri undercard. Vargas won a unanimous decision, 116-112 on all three scorecards. DeMarco's next fight -- and he said his last -- was Sunday's loss to Barthelemy.