Donald Curry, showing off one of boxing's most complete arsenals, proved himself a viable junior middleweight contender today with a sixth-round TKO over veteran Pablo Baez.

Curry, the World Boxing Association welterweight champion, improved to 23-0 with 18 knockouts. Baez fell to 17-13-1.

Curry, of Fort Worth, stopped Baez at 1:40 of the sixth after a left hook and right cross to the head drove Baez into his own corner. Curry jumped after him, hitting Baez with both hands until referee Larry Hazzard stepped in to give Baez a standing eight-count, then stopped it.

Curry said he was concerned about moving up a weight class for the fight. "I hadn't been six or seven rounds before so I didn't know if I could make the bigger men fall," he said.

The end was merely a continuation of the pattern that began at the opening bell. Curry, countering smartly and using superior hand speed, hit Baez with shots to the body and head at will.

The WBA today told Curry he must defend his welterweight title against Panamanian fighter Eduardo Rodriguez in the near future. Because of problems making weight, however, it is questionable Curry will defend his 147-pound title again.

Curry, 23, is expected to fight for the junior middleweight title in September against one of three 154-pound champs. Thomas Hearns holds the WBA title, Mike McCallum is the World Boxing Council champ and Carlos Santos holds the International Boxing Federation title.

Curry said he would rather not vacate the 147-pound title before gaining a junior middleweight title shot. Promoter Bob Arum said he hopes to pit Curry against Santos this fall. Curry also hopes to oppose WBC welterwight champion Milton McCrory in a title unification bout.

Curry went to the scale three times before making weight against Green. He came in at 153 3/4 at Friday night's weigh-in. Baez weighed 153.