Robert Guerrero kept hold of his 'interim' WBC welterweight title with a points victory over Andre Berto in California.
'The Ghost', who only recently stepped up to 147lb after failing to make big fights lower down the scales, dropped Berto twice early in the fight.
And although the former champion was competitive to the end, Guerrero was a clear winner with all three judges scoring the fight 116-110.
A combination of punches in the final minute of the opening round saw Berto take a count, and it was a similar story in the second with Berto pinned on the ropes.
Berto hit back with some crisp shots in the next couple of rounds and Guerrero attempted to smother his work thereafter with the fight taking place at close quarters.
Berto was swelling up badly around both eyes but continued to have his successes, hurtful uppercuts on the inside providing him with his best round in the ninth.
The pair continued to trade in the 11th and 12th rounds but Guerrero finished the stronger of the two to claim a deserved unanimous decision.
"I did tell Andre that I was going to beat him down, so I had to be a man of my word," Guerrero said. "I had to get on the inside with him and work his body. I knew I had to turn it in with him because he's got fast hands."
The win takes Guerrero - a three-weight champion - closer to even bigger matches in 2013 with the Floyd Mayweather - the WBC's champion at 147 - now a distinct possibility.
On the same bill in Ontario, Keith Thurman took the step up to light-middleweight in his stride, stopping former title contender Carlos Quintana inside four rounds.
The latter was dropped by a left to the body in the opening session and was on the retreat thereafter, but Thurman (18-0) eventually caught up with him and a heavy barrage saw the referee jump in.
Quintana, who briefly held the WBO welterweight title in the past, announced his retirement shortly after suffering his fourth career defeat.