Referee Giuseppe Quartarone has been roundly condemned for his constant interference in the heavyweight world unification contest between Anthony Joshua and Joseph Parker.
Several former world champions branded the Italian official 'amateurish', 'poor' and having 'killed the fight' for refusing to allow the heavyweights engage in close-quarter combat.
The fight certainly lacked drama, and Quartarone played his part in the 12 rounds becoming a cagey chess match, fought at range.
Joshua added the WBO crown to his IBF and WBA belts with a wide points victory over the previously unbeaten New Zealander. But Quartarone's insistence on breaking the fighters and stepping in whenever they tied up or clinched - arguably influenced by their heads clashing early in the contest - closed down the opportunities for both fighters to engage in exchanges. It called to mind the night in 2007 when Ricky Hatton fought Floyd Mayweather Jr in Las Vegas, an occasion on which referee Joe Cortez pulled the fighters apart at almost every opportunity.
The referee was savaged on social media, while former world champions laid the blame of a flat fight at the referee's door.
Former world cruiserweight champion Johnny Nelson said the referee's actions had prevented the fight from igniting. "It was frustrating, because when they did come together it was quickly extinguished. There were a few times when the fight was about to catch fire, but the ref was very quick to break them.
"The referee spoilt the fight. He was poor. Every time they clinched, every time they got close, the ref was very quick to break them and the fight never caught fire. I thought when the referee jumped in that Parker was getting up, close and personal and then slowly as the rounds wore on he did the same with AJ. What was the referee thinking?"
Tony Bellew, who faces David Haye in a repeat of their heavyweight grudge match on May 5, in London, added: "Every time they wanted to have a fight he was in there. Break, break, break." Former featherweight world champion Carl Frampton called the official, from Ferrarra, Emilia Romana, who has overseen fights since 2001 a "world class amateur referee".
Parker also claimed that the referee lacked good command of the English language. "When the ref came to the back, he couldn't speak English," said the New Zealander. "Kevin Barry [his trainer] was trying to talk to him and ask him questions about how he was going to control the fight."
Joshua and promoter Eddie Hearn later rubbished the claims, contesting that the two-minute dressing room talk prior to the bout inside the Principality Stadium in Cardiff had been in "perfect English" and Joshua adding that his social media channels would show it.
Both teams, nonetheless, had agreed to the official over a month ago when he was appointed by the British Boxing Board of Control who had no comment on the Italian's officiating on Sunday.
Who's next for Anthony Joshua?
In any other sport, it would be WBC champion Deontay Wilder next for Anthony Joshua. Sports like to define an undisputed world No 1. Boxing rarely works that way. The biggest fight is defined by where, when, and what the the purse split will be. It could take months, or even over a year to complete the deal.
The Russian is the No 1 contender to Joshua's WBA belt. The 38-year-old knocked out David Price on the undercard of Joshua-Parker with a chilling left hook.
'Big Baby' Miller from Brooklyn is another loud American with a marketable record - 20 wins with 18 knockouts – and could provide a US East Coast debut for Joshua. Already mentioned as a summer option by promoter Eddie Hearn.
The re-match against the Londoner that Joshua would have any time. There is bad blood between them - plus Whyte is WBC No 1 challenger to Wilder. Victory over Whyte could force Wilder into a WBC fight with Joshua if he delays, but the timing for a Joshua-Whyte stadium contest does not feel right at present.
Joshua made it clear after the Parker fight in the ring that Fury is on his hit list. But Fury has not fought since defeating Wladimir Klitschko in November 2015, and most likely needs a comeback fight first.