George Groves may have lost his unbeaten record and failed to win his first world title, but in outclassing Carl Froch for some nine rounds he proved that he deserves his place amongst the super middleweight elite.
The 25-year-old was given little hope of causing the upset when he squared off with three-time world champion Froch but just over two minutes into the contest he showed just why he had been so confident in the build-up to the fight.
Working behind a snaking jab, Groves boxed beautifully as he used little faints to bamboozle a vastly more experienced opponent, before cocking his right hand and delivering a brutal straight that scrambled Froch and took away his senses.
The Nottingham-fighter's powers of recovery are quite sensational as few fighters would have survived the rest of that round, but for the next 21 minutes he was completely outsmarted, and outperformed by Groves.
Froch was showing signs of desperation as he launched in with wild attacks, consistently hit while on the break and generally used any means possible to find a dent in Groves' armour.
There were a few signs of a recovery in round eight but by this stage Groves should have been five points clear on most scorecards. When the end did come it was too early, referee Howard Foster saw the challenger take two clean punches and stepped in - thus bringing to an end one of the best contests in this country since Chris Eubank fought Nigel Benn back in November 1990.
Froch felt he was denied the chance of a definitive ending. He truly believed his opponent was there to be hit and that he would have sent him to the canvas and unable to beat the ten count. Groves says he wasn't hurt by the shots and had his wits about him, claiming he was ready to hold and survive a rare bad period in the fight.
Foster has the fighters safety at his priority and he will feel he did the right thing. Most feel he stopped proceedings prematurely but what was perhaps even more frustrating was the judges scorecards when the bout was ended.
Two judges had Groves ahead by just point (76-75) while the other in attendance saw it the way of the rest of the boxing world with the challenger 6-2 up in rounds at 78-73. It is not the first time in recent months that we have seen controversial scoring as Raymundo Beltran was frankly robbed against Ricky Burns, while Floyd Mayweather's near shutout victory over Saul Alvarez was scored as a draw by one incompetent judge.
You cannot blame Foster for his decision to stop the fight. He was not being biased; it was not a fix, he was simply doing what he felt was right for the safety of Groves. What the two judges were doing with their scorecards is frankly unbelievable. They must be shown the fight and forced to explain just how they saw such a one-sided contest so close.
Unfortunately there will be little scrutiny of their performance which is a real shame. Had Groves survived the remaining three rounds then it seems he would have lost on points, which would have been an outright travesty.
Coming back to the fighters, Groves told me back in July that he felt he could beat the Cobra. I'll admit that I was sceptical - despite being a huge admirer of the Saint - but on Saturday he well and truly proved that he deserves to be considered one of the best super middleweights in the world.
He wants a re-match but with Froch now 36-years-of-age you have to wonder whether he will want to share a ring with a fighter that schooled him for nearly nine rounds.
Groves may well be offered a different route to a world title. With Sakio Bika facing Anthony Dirrell for the WBC crown, he may have another path to take. Should he emerge victorious from that bout then his reputation will have been even further enhanced and he would have the added bonus of bringing his own title to the negotiating table.
He may feel heartbroken at the way the fight ended, but he has earned an army of supporters and will now be viewed as genuine superstar. The battle may have been lost, but his war is only just beginning.