Daniel Dubois came under fire for appearing to quit during his defeat by Joe Joyce.
The heavyweight star suffered a surprise defeat when he was stopped in the 10th round by his domestic rival.
His left eye was swollen shut and after taking a jab to the injury, Dubois took a knee and never looked able to beat the count.
And in the aftermath, former heavyweight world champion David Haye said: “I had him winning on the cards until round six but he needed to relax.
“I was very unhappy with the way he took a knee. He took a shot to the eye, obviously it was painful but this is the hurt game.
“I never like to see a fighter take a knee, I’d rather be knocked sparked out.”
The fight was nip-and-tuck throughout as both men relied on their jab to cause damage.
But Joyce, at 35 the elder man by 12 years, appeared calm and composed as he began to edge ahead.
He looked set to take control in the championship rounds before the abrupt end.
And former two-weight world champion Carl Frampton echoed Haye’s sentiments.
He added: “We all like Dubois, but if it was someone we didn’t like, we’d say he quit and I think he quit, I have to be brutally honest.
“His eye was a mess, it was closed but I would be dragged out of the ring, I wouldn’t take a knee, I’d be pulled out.
“I had Dubois a point up at the time of the stoppage. It was a close fight and you have to call it what it is; Dubois quit but he’s a young kid and can come back. Hopefully Joe can go on and win a world title.”