John Ruiz retained his World Boxing Association crown after an 11th round stoppage of Puerto Rican Fres Oquendo.
Ruiz failed to impress yet again
Referee Wayne Kelly halted the fight when the champion Ruiz was pounding Oquendo, whose arms were flailing in a failed effort to defend himself.
"My thought was that Oquendo was taking too many punches," Kelly said. "He was unable to defend himself."
Fans at New York's Madison Square Garden were unimpressed with much of the fight, with few punches exchanged.
"It was a difficult fight," Ruiz said. "He was moving around a lot. I was chasing him down. I slowed him down and finally started landing my combinations.
"I was taking his jab. I knew sooner or later I would get him."
Challenger Oquendo complained in vain that Kelley halted the fight too soon.
"That's what's bad about boxing. I don't understand why he
stopped a great fight when I wasn't even hurt," Oquendo said.
"This wasn't fair. I deserve my chance. I want a rematch. Ruiz couldn't
even hang with me.
"I was fine. I'm a gladiator. You have to knock me down on the
By the end of the 10th round, an unofficial count showed the referee had been forced to separate the fighters 62 different times, and the crowd of 15,195 booed almost from the opening bell until the end.
"You got to start boxing," Kelly told them midway through the fifth round.
In another title fight on the same show, America's Wayne Braithwaite beat Louis Azille of Dominica by 12 round decision to retain his WBC cruiserweight title.
Braithwaite had knocked out the challenger two and a half years ago in Las Vegas to win the title but found him far sturdier on this occasion.