Oscar de la Hoya produced one of the greatest performances of his career to stop Ricardo Mayorga and take the WBC light middleweight crown in Las Vegas.
De La Hoya (right) turned back the clock with a classic display
"Golden Boy", who has been out of the ring since 2004, stopped Mayorga in the sixth round after a blistering assault.
Mayorga had insulted De la Hoya in the build-up and paid the price as his opponent launched into him with awesome power from the opening seconds.
De la Hoya said: "That has to be ranked up there in my top five fights ever."
De la Hoya had Mayorga on the floor after just 30 seconds with two scything left hooks.
The Nicaraguan held on and fought back in the second round with an excellent overhand right.
But he was throwing too many loose punches and left himself open to more punishment.
De la Hoya needed no second invitation and proceeded to give Mayorga a lesson in ring craft.
A series of thudding body shots opened up Mayorga's defences before a left-right combination left him on his knees.
Mayorga climbed back to his feet but was a broken man, and De la Hoya finished him off with another flurry of hooks.
Mayorga's ill-advised claims pre-fight that he wanted to stop De la Hoya's heart or detach his retina - among other things - served only to motivate his illustrious opponent.
The new champion said afterwards: "The message was that I was going to stand up to the bully.
"He motivated me so much by talking about my life. He was going to talk bad about me and that motivated me.
"This guy was perfect because he was throwing wild punches. I stood my ground, and that showed the bully - 'hey - you're not pushing me back'."
De la Hoya is now aiming for a farewell fight in September - possibly against ring superstar Floyd Mayweather, whose father trains De la Hoya - before returning to the promoting business.
He said: "I'll sit down with my people and my wife and work out which fight can get me the most glory."
Jose Antonio Rivera won the WBA light middleweight title with a unanimous decision over defending champion Alejandro Garcia.
The 33-year-old Rivera, a former WBA welterweight champion, dropped Garcia five times in Worcester Massachusetts.
On the undercard, Nicaragua's IBF super flyweight champion Luis Perez won a controversial split decision over Russia's Dimitri Kirilov.