Former two division world champion Paulie Malignaggi was not happy with the ending to the light heavyweight rematch between Andre Ward and Sergey Kovalev.
On Saturday night at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, Ward stopped Kovalev in the eight round to retain the WBA, WBO, IBF world titles.
Ward (32-0, 16 KOs) rocked Kovalev (30-2, 26 KOs) bad with a right hand and then landed numerous body shots to force referee Tony Weeks to wave off the fight.
Malignaggi was ringside, working the broadcast for the UK television feed on Sky Sports.
He felt referee Tony Weeks should have allowed the contest to play out further to give Ward the chance to properly finish or see if Kovalev could recover.
"I thought the stoppage was terrible," said Malignaggi. "Guys get hurt in fights. It doesn't mean you stop a fight every time somebody gets hurt. It wasn't like he was hurt to the point where you had to stop the fight. It was a typical situation where a guy got hurt, but you see guys get that hurt a lot of times in fights - and you don't even think about stopping the fight.
"You've got to be really hurt to stop a fight, especially to stop a championship fight. Kovalev also was probably up in the fight, at least by a little bit. I had him up one going into the last round. "How much more hurt was he than Ward in round two of the last fight. Let's put it that way."
After the fight, Kovalev complained that Ward's body shots at the end were low blows. Malignaggi admitted it was difficult to rule whether they were illegal punches. Malignaggi was more upset with the ending than any dispute over punches straying low.
"It was hard to tell. Weeks has a better perspective than us, because we couldn't really tell in the replay," said Malignaggi.
"They were definitely borderline, so they could have gone either way. At the end of the day, listen I think Ward was hurting Kovalev to the body. This also takes away from a proper stoppage from Andre Ward. But give the fight the proper ending. What is going on? What was with that stoppage? All of a sudden he stopped the fight, I wasn't even sure what he was doing. I thought maybe he was calling a low blow. The last thing on my mind was that he was stopping the fight right now."