Oscar De La Hoya made an impressive return to the ring after a 20-month absence, knocking down Ricardo Mayorga in the first round before finally stopping him in the sixth to claim the WBC's 154-pound title on Saturday night.
Showing no signs of rust or reluctance, the 33-year-old De La Hoya knocked down Mayorga in the opening minute and never let up, unleashing waves of punishing head shots until Mayorga went down for the third time at 1:25 of the sixth.
It was the best fight for De La Hoya since he stopped Fernando Vargas four years ago and a near-perfect result in what De La Hoya claims will be the penultimate fight of his storied career.
De La Hoya (38-4, 30 KOs) clearly hadn't lost his passion for the ring since Bernard Hopkins stopped him in the ninth round with a devastating body punch in September 2004. Spurred by Mayorga's pre-fight insults toward his family and courage, De La Hoya overwhelmed the wild-punching Mayorga with clinical right hands and a handful of devastating left hooks, stalking him around the ring and controlling nearly every moment of the fight.
"No matter what, I was going to stand up to him, let him know right away that I was here to fight," De La Hoya said. "I had to show the bully that I wasn't going to back down. He fought recklessly, but I stood my ground, and he saw I wouldn't back down."
He sent Mayorga to the canvas just 60 seconds in, artfully ducking a wild punch and responding with a strong right and a brutal left hook. The crowd stood, and De La Hoya cast a disdainful glance over his shoulder as he walked to the neutral corner.