Vasyl Lomachenko retained his WBA, WBO and Ring lightweight titles with the brutal dismantling of Anthony Crolla in Los Angeles, though, the huge win was marred by questionable refereeing, much to the dismay of Sky Sports' commentary team.
While the savage knockout took place in the fourth round, the pundits were unanimous in the thought that the fight should’ve been stopped in the previous round as Crolla was defenceless, taking hit after hit against the ropes.
Even Lomachenko himself believed he had done enough, wheeling away in celebration, his trademark backflip followed by a fist pump to the crowd only to find that the referee had refused to call an end to the one-sided affair.
More chaos ensued at the Staples Center with commission members and television crews attempting to enter the ring, unaware that the verdict from the referee was only a knockdown.
With the stadium chock full of disbelief, the fourth round got underway. An inevitable knockout duly arriving within the first minute.
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Sky Sports commentary team Spencer Oliver and Darren Barker could not hide their disappointment with referee Jack Reiss – claiming he did not offer enough protection to the Manchester challenger.
Oliver said: “Yeah, he should’ve stopped it in the previous round.
“It wasn’t just one or two unanswered punches; it was 20-odd unanswered punches.
“The referees are there to protect the fighters and Crolla was in trouble. That was a bad knockout.
“We have witnessed brilliance here. What he has demonstrated there was incredible.
“But the referee should have pulled it then. There was no urgency whatsoever from the referee to stop the fight at the end of the third round.
“He landed a left hook and that made Crolla’s legs stiffen and that is when it should have been stopped there because he wasn’t coming back.
“The referee jumped in and Crolla wasn’t coming back.
“I don’t care what anybody says but that fight should have been stopped there and then.
“It was bad refereeing. He had given him the count and the inevitable was going to happen.
“The fight was won then and there."
Barker fully agreed with his co-commentator, adding: “Absolutely. At the end of that third round, he could have prevented this [the knockout] from happening.
“And when it did happen I am a little bit annoyed at the lack of urgency from the referee.
“But I don’t want to take anything away from Lomachenko because he made a real statement there.
“He showed why he is arguably the best pound for pound fighter out there.
“He has just got it all.”
Lomachenko called out WBC lightweight champion Mikey Garcia after the bout as ‘The Matrix’ looks to become undisputed champion.