London - World Boxing Council president Jose Sulaiman has urged referees to make better use of a rule introduced this month to end lop-sided bouts early if one of the fighters has suffered a severe pounding.
Citing the example of Manny Pacquiao's crushing victory over Mexican Antonio Margarito in Dallas on Saturday, Sulaiman said safety had to be a priority, especially when a battered fighter refused to quit.
Margarito fought all 12 scheduled rounds against Filipino Pacquiao at Cowboys Stadium before ending the WBC super welterweight title bout with a broken right eye socket that required surgery.
"The WBC ... gives authority to referees to stop fights whenever they believe there's been too much punching from one side and there's no opportunity for the other boxer to win," Sulaiman said on Tuesday.
"When they see a fighter has been punished very much ... they should stop the fight for the sake of safety. Safety is the backbone of the WBC."
The new safety rule was voted in by the WBC at its annual convention in Cancun earlier this month.
Despite holding a significant weight, height and reach advantage over Pacquiao, Margarito was outclassed by his opponent's hand speed and precise power punching.
The Mexican, a three-time world champion, soaked up more than 400 power punches during the largely one-sided exchanges.
However, he refused to quit although he could barely see out off his badly swollen right eye in the late rounds.
Sulaiman felt the fight should have been halted after eight rounds, and he applauded Pacquiao's sporting but unsuccessful attempt to get referee Laurence Cole to stop the bout in the 11th.
"Antonio Margarito was receiving too many punches and he was only occasionally finding the opportunity to connect with his," Sulaiman said. "An objective is an objective ... but he was putting his health on the line.
"He had no chance any more, as far as I'm concerned, of winning the fight in any way and he was being seriously hurt."
Pacquiao recorded an unanimous points victory over Margarito to land an eighth world title in an unprecedented eighth weight class.