David Haye was critical of referee Joe Cortez for his part in Ricky Hatton's defeat to Floyd Mayweather.
Cruiserweight king critical of interfering Cortez
David Haye believes referee Joe Cortez ruined Ricky Hatton's chance of boxing glory.
The undisputed cruiserweight world champion was critical of the official's part in the Hitman's 10th-round KO by Floyd Mayweather in Las Vegas.
Cortez, whose catchphrase is 'I'm firm, but I'm fair', was on the Mancunian's back from the opening exchanges.
He refused to let Hatton get in close and constantly warned him, even though Mayweather was ducking down when the two did go toe-to-toe.
It came to a point in the sixth round when Cortez took a point off for hitting round the back of the head - the first time that had happened to Hatton in 44 fights - but for Haye, the damage had already been done.
"Ricky did everything, but I thought the referee had a part in this fight," he told Sky Box Office
. "He had become desperate and a desperate man is easy to catch.
"Once he had lost that point, it changed everything. He tried too hard and as a result, he smothered his own work.
"The ref had it in his mind before the fight. He was trying to keep busy, trying to do too much and for me he ruined the fight. It could've had a much better flow.
"You watch the Kostya Tszyu fight - it had a lot of in-fighting and a lot of rough and tumble and it worked to Hatton's advantage, but this time when the referee kept stepping in and saying 'don't do this, don't do that', it broke up Ricky's flow."
Haye was also happy to point out that in Mayweather, Hatton had been beaten by the very best in the business.
He admitted that his loyalty to a fellow Briton might have clouded his judgement, but when the dust had settled on another megafight success for the Pretty Boy, had no problem admitting he had got it wrong.
"I think I wanted Hatton to win so badly, but these guys (Johnny Nelson and Nicky Piper) kept giving me reality checks. All I kept saying is 'he can do it, he can do it', buy they kept saying 'this is Mayweather, this is Mayweather'!
"He is pound-for-pound the best in the world - and he showed it tonight."