Now that he's a champion again, Donald Curry has his eyes on a big payday.

Curry, showing the form that once carried him to the World Boxing Association welterweight title, knocked down Italy's Gianfranco Rosi five times in nine rounds Friday to take the World Boxing Council junior middleweight title.The 26-year-old from Fort Worth, Texas, showed no effects from his last two fights - knockout losses to Britain's Lloyd Honeyghan in a welterweight title bout and to WBA junior middleweight champ Mike McCallum.

Rosi, battered and bleeding, did not answer the bell for the 10th round, with the American leading on points by a wide margin.

Now, Curry said, he's thinking about a multi-million-dollar defense against Sugar Ray Leonard - who, according to matchmaker Bob Arum, has said he may come out from retirement.

"I trained hard for five months for this opportunity which I could not miss," said Curry, who earned $200,000 for the fight, $100,000 less than Rose. "Now I want to relax, and think of Leonard."

Rosi went to his knees seven times in the nine rounds, though two were regarded as slips, before losing the title in his second defense.

Curry floored Rosi for the first time in the second round with a sharp left hook that caught the champion on the jaw and sent him down for an eight count and appeared to give Curry confidence.

He began to batter Rosi with a quick, two-fisted attack that stunned the Italian, who seemed confused by powerful onslaught.

Curry's flashy combinations were reminscent of the style that earned him the nickname "Cobra."

Rosi went to his knees twice in the fourth round and again in the eighth.

Bleeding from a cut near his left eye, and wobbly from Curry's punishment, Rosi stayed in his corner when the bell sounded for the tenth round.

Curry's handlers hoisted the new champion on their shoulders.

"I trained hard for five months to win this title and it paid off," said Curry, who also was bleeding from a cut under his left eye.

"Rosi never hurt me, but I could feel his strength. I was surprised when he quit. But the more I knocked him down, the stronger I got. I could not miss this chance."

The 30-year-old Rosi, who won the title from Mexican Lupe Aquino last October, now has a 43-3 record.

He said he hurt his left hand in the second round.

"I knew at that very moment I could not beat a fast boxer like Curry with only the right," he said.

Curry improved to 30-2, with 22 knockouts.

A crowd of 2,000 fans saw the fight at the Portosole, an outdoor arena, in this Italian Riviera resort.