Kell Brook had promised to bring the X factor.
And even Simon Cowell would have struggled to find fault with the Sheffield super-talent who passed his latest public audition with flying colours.
There was a hint of Cowell in the form of referee Howard Foster.
He waved his hands high in the air in the sixth round in the way Cowell - or this season Gary Barlow - does when he wants the music to stop.
In Foster’s case, he was bringing to an end six rounds of comprehensive punishment for Brook’s opponent, former European champion Rafal Jackiewicz.
While it was indisputable that Brook had bossed the fight - and the Pole was getting a right tanking - the decision by Foster to step in divided opinion among some of the boxing fraternity packed into the sold-out Ponds Forge.
Brook’s trainer, Dominic Ingle, said he’s have liked to have seen it carry on.
Another trainer in the crowd, Chris Smedley, deemed it premature.
Another, Mat Mowett, said it was a good call on the basis that Jackiewicz was showing signs of being mauled.
Even Doncaster Rovers footballer Billy Sharp also weighed into the debate. He tweeted: “I thought the ref stopped it too early”
From my vantage point, Jackiewicz’s left eye was on the verge to closing and his right one was also starting to show signs of wear.
And while the handful of noisy Polish fans didn’t like this, perhaps the referee was simply recognising the one-sided nature of what was never really a contest. The Scawsby ref, Foster, was clearly aware that the outclassed visitor might get seriously mashed up.
Jackiewicz and his team held their hands apart, openly challenging the decision to stop it. That’s hardly surprising, considering he was protecting a record of one loss in the last 24 in a career in which nobody else had stopped him.
From the start of this WBA intercontinental welterweight title and WBA title eliminator, the Pole was under the cosh.
That first round wasn’t comfortable. He seemed to get hurt by an accidental shoulder to the nose and couldn’t see past Brook’s rapier jab.
Assertive and direct, Brook began to vary his shots, clearly imbued by the confidence of a man who knew he was more
powerful and dominant.
By round three, Jackiewicz’s head was reddening and a fighter with a proud history (W38 L9 D1= 48) was being made to look decidely average.
Brook’s assault became more accurate and sustained. If Jackiewicz went on the back foot he was pummelled, if he came forward he was picked off.
And when the sixth and what turned out to be final round started with a
hammer left hook to his ribs, Foster clearly started to become concerned for his welfare.
A straight right followed by a flurry of uppercuts and pressure on the ropes indicated there was no where to hide for the east European and Foster handed Brook his 25th win in his 25th year.
Jackiewicz, aged 34, must dislike England intensely. It was a third defeat here.He lost in Essex to Ted Bami and in Widnes to Michael Jennings, both in 2004.
So what next for a win that makes Brook Sheffield’s highest profile boxer of the moment? He has his eyes ultimately on superstar Manny Pacquiao, which at this stage is optimistic.
But Ukraine’s WBA boss, Viacheslav Senchenko, or the IBF champion, Andre Berto of the United States and possibly even Bolton’s Amir Khan (who steps up to 147lbs in 2012) are achievable.Brook’s handler, Eddie Hearn, has already laid the groundwork with Berto, after negotiations with New York promoter Lou DiBella.
But the nation would rather see a Khan v Brook tear-up ...