A disappointing 2014 ended on a high note Friday night for Adonis Stevenson.
The defending WBC light heavyweight champion, who many thought would fight WBO champion Sergey Kovalev this year, knocked out overmatched Russian Dmitry Sukhotsky with a perfect left at the Pepsi Coliseum in Quebec City, Canada.
The time was 2:42 seconds of round five.
The bout got off to a slow start.
Stevenson (25-1, 21 KOs), a southpaw, used his right to measure Sukhotsky.
The challenger made a few token attempts to catch Stevenson with lead right hands.
Stevenson began pumping out his right jab in the next stanza. Was he trying to lull Sukhotsky into forgetting about his power punch, the left? Stevenson reminded Sukhotsky with 18 seconds to go in round two. A straight left to the chin sent him to the canvas.
Sukhotsky, 33, got up with a perplexed look on his face.
In rounds three and four, Stevenson, a 20-1 favorite, continued to mix up his punches. Sukhotsky shook his head after absorbing a hard combination. His attempts at catching the defending champion with anything significant were futile.
Stevenson, 37, circled to his right. He was beginning to wear Sukhotsky down. His counter shots were landing with more regularity.
Before the fight, Stevenson had predicted he would score a knockout. With roughly 30 seconds to go in round five, he landed a powerful left that floored Sukhotsky.
Somehow the brave warrior beat the count, but he was wobbly. A few seconds later he was down again.
Stevenson, in full predator mode, was determined to end things. He backed the stricken Sukhotsky into the ropes. He fired another left which landed with a thud.
Sukhotsky crumbled to the canvas. Referee Michael Griffin immediately waved off the contest.
“I want to thank my fans,” said Stevenson in the ring. “I used my speed and movement. I know I have power. The knockouts are going to come.”