Vasyl Lomachenko was dethroned as world champion as Teofimo Lopez signalled a changing of boxing’s guard.
The Ukrainian was bidding to become the undisputed lightweight king against the young upstart but started slowly and rallied too late.
Lopez, in just his 16th fight at the age of 23, was given the nod by all three judges as Lomachenko looked resigned to his fate.
The New Yorker added the WBA and WBO straps to his IBF belt, although technically Lomachenko remains the WBC’s ‘franchise’ champion.
Lopez said: “I had to dig deep. I had to keep pressuring him and putting the gas on him.
“All you’ve got to do is not give him the opportunity to set up and when he did want to throw I had something for him.
“On top of that he had a 14-month lay-off and I knew it was going to take a while for him to catch up.”
Lomachenko, a notoriously slow-starter, barely threw a punch in the opening round as Lopez looked for openings, landing a solid right to the body.
Lopez, much the bigger man, increased the pressure in the second with a right to the body followed by the same shot to the head but Lomachenko began to find his range with his left hand as the round wore on.
The three-weight champion continued to be cautious in the third session as he looked to counter Lopez who was beginning to build a lead on the scorecards.
Lomachenko continued to ship body shots in the fourth round while remaining reticent to let his own hands go, throwing just 36 punches through the opening 12 minutes, 100 fewer than his younger opponent.
And the elder statesman continued to appear wary of Lopez’s power as he fell further behind on the scorecards.
Lopez had predicted a sixth-round stoppage but instead he had taken complete control of the bout on the cards with Lomachenko arguably needing an unlikely knockdown to win.
And the fight continued to slip away from the Ukrainian as it entered the second half.
Lomachenko was warned for leading with his head in the eighth stanza as he finally showed some urgency, closing the distance and exchanging with Lopez to notch his first round of the fight.
Both men by now had swelling around their eyes but it was Lomachenko who began to assert his authority – albeit too late – as he forced Lopez on to his back foot for the first time.
Lomachenko continued to wrestle back control of the fight heading into the championship rounds but had by now given himself too much to do.
Lopez was clearly feeling the pace as the bout entered its final six minutes but Lomachenko fell short of securing the knockdown he needed.
And the younger man had enough in the tank to edge the last round before his arm was raised following scores of 116-112, 119-109 and 117-111.