Ricky Hatton can stand tall among the British boxing legends after overwhelming the great Kostya Tszyu to seize the IBF light-welterweight title on a fight night to remember in Manchester.
Hatton forced proud champion Tszyu to quit on his stool at the end of the 11th round in at the city's MEN Arena, sending the 22,000 sell-out crowd into uproar and Hatton hurtling straight into the pages of history.
Not since Lloyd Honeyghan clubbed Donald Curry to seventh round defeat to claim the undisputed welterweight crown in Atlantic City 19 years ago, has a British fighter upset such unfavourable odds to earn the accolade of the best in his weight division in the world.
The 35-year-old Tszyu had entered the seething Manchester ring as a strong favourite, having held a world title for the best part of a decade and flattened some of the greatest lightwelterweights in recent history with his feared right hand.
Thirty-three minutes after the first bell, Tszyu was slumped on his stool offering only a proud champion's token resistance to his longtime trainer Johnny Lewis' whispered pronouncement that he was pulling him out to spare him further punishment.
This was no pitiful, Duran-style 'No Mas' surrender from Tszyu, but a quiet and dignified acceptance that his days at the top were finally numbered, and that youth had got its day.
Amid tumultuous scenes, referee Dave Parris was summoned to Tszyu's corner, and after a short period of consultation, responded with the unmistakable sweeping hand gesture which signalled the end of one era and the start of another which may also end in greatness too.
The unassuming and utterly grounded 26-year-old, who lives just around the corner from his parents' house, had beaten up and broken the man who had struck terror into so many 140lb-ers across the globe.
Ringside stars like Frank Bruno, Ronald 'Winky' Wright and Amir Khan rose to their feet to hail the devastating performance to which they had just been party, while celebrities including Tszyu supporter Russell Crowe shook their heads in awe.
Just like the studious Honeyghan, who hit upon Curry's aversion to body shots to systematically break him down through seven rounds, Hatton and his trainer Billy Graham devised the perfect plan to negate Tszyu's right hand and ride the storm.
Barging in close in order to minimise the leverage for Tszyu's punches was a high-risk strategy, fraught with the danger of walking into the kind of accurate counter-punching which has laid out some of the best in the early rounds.
Hatton banked on getting inside, glueing himself to Tszyu and slowly drawing the strength out of a champion whose recent inactivity represented his most obvious weakness.
Then he would rely on his supposedly bottomless reserves of stamina to dominate his great old opponent in the later rounds for a convincing win.
Audacious? Yes. Successful? After 11 of the most irresistible rounds seen in a British ring for a considerable period of time, the crowd's reaction said it all.
There had certainly been no danger of Hatton's army of raucous supporters falling asleep after the 2am start to accommodate live prime-time pay-per-view coverage in the United States.
Tszyu's early right hands landed with unfailing accuracy but Hatton's superb head movement was enabling him to deflect enough of Tszyu's power to enable him to keep out of the danger zone at arm's length.
As Hatton's plan had expected, Tszyu ended the first half of the fight in front but the beginning of the sixth round saw a significant shift change when the challenger swarmed from his corner and launched an assault which had Tszyu briefly lolling in the ropes.
In the seventh, Tszyu kept his nose in front with two fine rights and a well-judged body shot which winded Hatton but was somewhat harshly deemed a low blow by referee Parris.
The crowd in a frenzy and the scorecards more or less level, Hatton pushed on into the final quarter, ignoring swelling around his eyes which despite all the punishment mercifully did not leak the blood which blighted many of his previous fights.
A shocking low blow from Hatton in round nine earned Tszyu a 30-second recovery time-out and by then it was clearly the champion who needed the rest more than the challenger nine years his junior.
Hatton's 11th round was arguably his best of the lot as he sensed imminent success and contemptuously flicked away two more Tszyu right to land a cracking right of his own and finish the round on top.
The home favourite returned to his corner to the roars of his crowd and prepared himself for one final assault.
Meanwhile across the ring, Tszyu was being gently coaxed to the conclusion that, clearly behind on all three of the judges' scorecards, he had no reason to put his body through three more minutes of punishment for no reward.
Tszyu immediately sought the embrace of his successor and Hatton dutifully acknowledged that if his own champion's legacy is one day to be even halfway as proud, great and dignified as the man he had just overcome, then the superlatives will continue for a long time to come.