Joe Calzaghe believes he answered his critics last night when he outclassed Roy Jones Jr at Madison Square Garden.
Calzaghe, 36, moved to 46-0 (32 KOs) with an impressive and convincing unanimous points decision win over eight-time, four-weight champion Jones after getting up off the floor following a first-round knockdown.
Scoring a 118-109 victory on all three judges' scorecards, former undisputed super-middleweight champion Calzaghe won the remaining 11 rounds to retain his de facto world light-heavyweight title, the Ring Magazine Championship belt he won in April with a split decision victory over Bernard Hopkins in Las Vegas.
With his second fight on American soil and his polished victory over Jones, Calzaghe said he felt his perception Stateside of being carefully matched in Europe throughout his career was now well and truly buried.
"I'm just overwhelmed at the moment," Calzaghe said. "It took me eight years to get a unification fight and I was more frustrated than anybody.
"I wanted to show the world that I've always been a true champion. It was through no fault of my own that I didn't get the big, big fights that I always wanted.
"I beat Mikkel Kessler, and became undisputed (super-middleweight champion in 2007) and after that there was only two more things I wanted to do.
"That was to come to the States because you guys never thought I'd come over and beat two legends in the ring, one in Bernard Hopkins and a bigger legend in Roy Jones Jr."
Like the Hopkins fight, Calzaghe was floored in the opening round, this time by a jolting straight left from 39-year-old Jones that momentarily stunned his travelling fans from Wales who formed roughly half of the 14,152 fans inside the legendary venue.
Calzaghe came back to wear down the American, causing a damaging cut above the former four-division champion's left eye in the seventh round that Jones' corner could not staunch.
Jones went to hospital shortly after the fight to be stitched and did not appear at the post-fight press conference.
"Deja vu, man, I got put on my arse in the first round in both fights," Calzaghe said.
"It was not in the script but I think I showed what a true champion is all about, by coming back."
Despite having promised before the fight that he would retire following his meeting with Jones, the Welshman said it would be his intention to go away and think about any decision on his boxing future.
"I'm 36, nearly 37 and I'm not going to announce anything right now. I said before the fight it would possibly be my last fight but I'm just really happy. I enjoyed it, except the first round of course.
"I can't answer those sort of questions right now. Those are the answers I'm going to go away and evaluate.
"I don't really like to do rematches. I just want to spend some time with my family, have a rest. I'm so happy with what I've achieved this year."
Jones, one of the true modern legends of the sport, had been looking to make his mark once again following three devastating losses in 2004-05, twice against Antonio Tarver, either side of defeat to Glen Johnson.
Both Tarver and Johnson delivered crushing knockout blows that left many critics believing Jones' career was all but over.
Jones, who with the defeat moved to 52-5 (38 KOs) thought otherwise but Calzaghe was too strong to let the American's comeback continue.
It did not start that way. Jones caught Calzaghe with a jolting straight left that floored the Briton with under a minute of the opening round to go.
Calzaghe appeared hurt but rose to his feet and quickly had Jones on the defensive.
He reappeared for the second round with a mark on his nose that began to bleed as the round progressed and Jones looked perfectly at ease dealing with the combinations his rival was throwing.
Calzaghe, though, was beginning to gain the upper hand and with his own cut being well managed by his corner he began to land decisive blows on Jones.
Calzaghe made the first telling breakthrough in the fifth when Jones dropped his hands and was caught with a glancing right and then a more punishing left that rocked his head back.
In the seventh, Jones was repeatedly caught with jolting punches to the head and Calzaghe rocked him with a short left that quickly drew blood over the American's left eye.
It was the turning point in the fight as Jones's corner could not stop the bleeding for very long and Calzaghe repeatedly sought out the problem area, growing with confidence as Jones began to look increasingly tired.
Calzaghe targeted the afflicted area before moving downstairs to the body when the Jones instinctively covered up.
Calzaghe also felt he had proved a point to those critics that questioned his punching power, labelling him 'Slappy Joe'.
"I've had problems with my hands for years and years but I was able to train good for this fight. I've belief in my punching power and I felt I grew into the weight (for the light-heavyweight division) much better for this fight than I did for the Hopkins fight and I felt stronger.
"I knew I had to make Roy Jones respect my punches and I felt I did. I think I stunned him on a few occasions, so I was happy with it."