Josh Warrington suffered a brutal ninth round knockout defeat in London on Saturday night but, for most observers, the fight should have been stopped long before then.
The Brit was on the end of a huge upset as he was beaten by the unheralded Mexican Mauricio Lara in what was supposed to be an easy night’s work.
Warrington was dropped in the fourth round and never recovered, with Lara closing the show in the ninth to become the first man to beat the former IBF world featherweight champion.
While the 30-year-old was praised for his bravery in continuing on, both the referee, Howard Foster, and the Leeds fighter’s corner have come in for strong criticism for allowing it to continue beyond the fourth.
“I would have stopped the fight in the fourth round, and I would have stopped the fight in the fifth round when he walked out,” boxing trainer Adam Booth, working ringside for Sky Sports, insisted.
“If I was in his corner, I would have thrown the towel in. You could see from his legs that he hadn’t recovered in the fifth round.
“He actually got caught with a heavy shot in the first round. He was more disciplined in round two and three, but then with a limited, heavy-handed puncher, stood with his head up in the air trading.
“He paid the price in the fourth round. I don’t think he knew what he was doing from that point on. He didn’t look like he knew where he was and it looked like a knockout waiting to happen, from that point on. I didn’t enjoy watching it, if I’m honest, because I don’t think it should have carried on.”
Johnny Nelson, the former cruiserweight world champion, agreed that Warrington shouldn’t have been allowed to fight on.
“I’m a massive fan of The (British) Boxing Board of Control, but they had a stinker tonight,” he said.
“I bet Josh Warrington cannot remember anything past the first knockdown. That’s madness.”
Warrington had to be given oxygen in the ring and was taken straight to hospital after the brutal KO that ended the fight.
talkSPORT’s Adam Catterall believed he should have been spared further punishment too.
He reflected: “From a performance point of view, Josh looked flat from the first very moment. After about 30 seconds, I thought ‘why is he fighting this style of fight?’
“He wanted to absolutely trade and throw bombs with an extremely heavy-hitter from the very first moment.
“In the fourth round he got clipped clean on the chin. He went down, got up and was taking clean, heavy shots and Howard Foster stood there and let it crack on.
“It was coming towards the end of the round and the bell saved him, there’s no doubt about that. Howard Foster has to carry him to his corner. He knows full well he was out.
“The fight should have been called there and then. I can’t believe what I witnessed.”