By Ben Dirs
BBC Sport in Las Vegas
Floyd Mayweather put on a vintage display to stop Ricky Hatton in the 10th round and retain his WBC welterweight crown in Las Vegas.
Hatton is floored by Mayweather's stunning left hook
Manchester's Hatton, 29, applied most of the pressure in the early rounds and found some success with some big lefts.
But Mayweather let his hands go in the middle rounds, with his fierce left finding its target as Hatton attacked.
And the champion floored Hatton with two big lefts in the 10th before ending it with a devastating left hook.
Official figures put the British attendance at 4,000, but there must have been close to three times that number in the MGM Grand Arena by the time the bell rang for the opening round.
With the strains of Blue Moon still ringing in his ears, light-welterweight king Hatton started quicker and wobbled Mayweather with two big right hands in the first round.
Mayweather started to find his range in round two, landing with one sweet right from way back, although Hatton appeared to nick the third courtesy of some powerful lefts to the body.
Hometown fighter Mayweather stepped up a gear in round four, sending home one huge right to the head and picking the challenger off with some dazzling combinations.
Hatton's corner went to work on a cut over his left eye at the end of the round and it was becoming clear that the champion's slick shots were taking their toll.
Mayweather was happy to soak up Hatton's constant pressure in round five, but round six proved to be the turning point of the fight, with Mayweather landing at will with flashing left hooks and jabs and Hatton having a point deducted by referee Joe Cortez for clubbing right to the back of the neck.
Surprisingly, Mayweather was happy to fight inside for long periods and by the seventh round it was clear he was as strong as Hatton and had the measure of him at close range.
He continued to pick Hatton off with counters before jolting 'The Hitman' with a crunching right hand just before the end of the round.
Mayweather started to show the full range of his talents in round eight, sending home a stinging right cross and a left-right combination to the body that had Hatton grimacing.
Mayweather then let go with two lefts that sent Hatton reeling before befuddling Hatton further with nine or 10 unanswered punches.
Hatton became an easier target the longer the fight wore on, and in the battle of the jabs, Mayweather was king, landing 40% to the Englishman's 17%.
I'm the best at light-welter and I fought the best at welter
Round nine was all Mayweather, the Michigan native teeing off on Hatton with quicksilver lefts and stiff rights and finishing off the round with two stabbing jabs.
Before the 10th round, Hatton's fans were acutely aware that their hero was in need of a knockout, but the fairytale ending was not forthcoming.
Mayweather landed with two huge left hooks that sent Hatton sprawling and sent him to the canvas again with a tremendous left hook.
Referee Cortez called a halt to proceedings before Hatton had hit the floor, a minute and 35 seconds into the round, leaving 'The Hitman's' legion of fans stunned.
The judges' scores at the time of the stoppage were: 88-82, 89-81, 89-81.
Mayweather, often maligned for being cocky, was admirable and gracious in victory, hurrying to check up on and praise his vanquished foe.
"He kept coming and I see why they call him the Hitman. He's one hell of a fighter but I took care of business and did the job," said Mayweather.
"I wanted to show the fans that I still got it. I have nothing else to prove to the world."
Hatton, who lost his first fight in 44 contests, suggested that he would continue to box despite the pain of defeat.
"I'm the best at light-welter and I fought the best at welter. I'd rather give praise to my opponent. My pride is hurt more than the punches."