Referee Tony Weeks told RingTV.com he has "absolutely no reservations" about stopping the Canelo Alvarez-Alfredo Angulo fight in the 10th round in order to spare Angulo from being seriously hurt.
The Alvarez-Angulo bout took place at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on Saturday night.
Alvarez (43-1-1, 31 knockouts) was coming off a majority-decision loss to Floyd Mayweather Jr. in September, while Angulo (22-4, 18 KOs) was last in the ring for a 10th-round stoppage loss to Erislandy Lara in June.
Weeks defended his decision to wave an end to the bout, which he said that he did after having consulted with ringside physician Jay Coates.
Below are Weeks' statements about the fight, given exclusively to RingTV.com:
Tony Weeks on what he believes that fans should understand about the stoppage:
"People have to understand that when you have a one-sided fight, and that there is a guy that is taking some tremendous shots over the course of the fight, he doesn't necessarily have to be knocked down or staggered against the ropes, because with each one of those punches, there are some damages and some potential for damages to happen that we are unable to see and we don't know about.
"And as a referee and as officials, we have rules and regulations and certain criteria that we have to go by. The general public or the fans, they base their decisions or comments on feelings and emotions. There's a big difference in a referee basing his decision on rules and criteria that we have to go by.
"So people have to understand that a fight doesn't necessarily have to go to those extremes for an official to see that a fight needs to be stopped in terms of a fighter being knocked down or staggered or getting pummelled against the ropes.
On his discussions with Coates:
"First of all, I believe that it was around the fourth round where I went into Angulo's corner and acknowledged to Mr. Virgil Hunter and to Angulo, that 'Hey, you're taking some hard shots and that 'If it continues, I'm not going to allow that to happen.' I believe that Virgil responded to me that 'He's a slow starter,' and I said 'Okay, well, it's early in the fight.'
"But periodically, I kept going to the corner and kept tabs on what was going on while still re-iterating that if he continued to take those shots that I would stop the fight and I had pulled the doctor in a couple of times and at those times, there was no real concern.
"Pretty much at this point, I had my mind made up, though, that I was going to have to stop the fight, and I was just waiting for the opportunity to stop it because I could see all of the damage that was occurring. There were a couple of things.
"There were the damages that were occurring and the fact that from about Round 1 and to the point where I stopped the fight, there was really nothing on Angulo's punches.
"There was nothing that he could do to keep Canelo off of him to make it a competitive fight. But when I went over to the corner at the end of the ninth round, Mr. Hunter approached me and said that he was going to give it one more round, and that if it didn't look good, then he was going to stop it. Then, the doctor pulled me aside and told me, 'One more hard punch, and you should stop the fight.' So I'm going to go with what the doctor says."
On the actual stoppage sequence:
"Well, when that 10th round started, there were two or three hard punches prior to where I stepped in, but then, I stepped back. But then Canelo threw that vicious uppercut and Angulo's head went back, so that's when I jumped in and stopped the fight.
"That's another thing where the fans misunderstand what's going on. People think or maybe thought that I was stopping the fight because of that one punch. But, no, it was an accumulation of punches over the course of those 10 rounds.
On whether he has any regrets on the stoppage:
"I have absolutely no reservations on what I did last night. Given the past and recent tragedies in boxing, we have an obligation to protect these fighters as best we can. We're not God, and we don't know what's going on in these guy's heads and what's going in their brains or what is happening to them, physically.
"Neurologically, we don't know what's occurring in their heads. So we have to base our decisions on what we see occurring on the outside and from what I saw, from Round 1, starting with the first punch, and throughout the fight until the last punch, Canelo was landing some tremendously hard shots.
"And let me say this: Angulo is a true champion and a true warrior, and I have no problems in him being angry with me. He has that right, because he's a fighter and he's in there. But I have to absolutely do the job that I was assigned to do.
"And that's to protect a fighter from himself. Those types of fights are very difficult for a referee, and what I mean is that you have a fight where a guy is taking punishment, but he's fighting back, but there is nothing on his punches.
"But the key is, that he's still fighting back. So it's very hard for a referee to stop those kinds of fights. You have to let it go a little bit to where there becomes no doubt about it.
"Then, you make up your mind that, 'Well, I'm going to look for the next opportunity the next punch, and the next combination that allows you to stop the fight and to basically save the fighter from his own self."