Christian Mbilli didn’t even have time to break a sweat.

Mbilli needed only half a minute Saturday in Quebec, Canada, to chop Mark Heffron down with a venomous left hook to the body. Heffron (30-4-1, 24 KOs) was billed as a legitimate opponent with a solid record, but he only had the chance to throw a small handful of power shots before Mbilli’s left hook felled him.

“Is this one over already?” asked play-by-play announcer Cory Erdman after Heffron went down. “Yes it is!”

The crowd at the Centre Gervais Auto, having been treated to a long card stacked with Canadian boxers, exulted in the brief-but-thrilling culmination. Though Mbilli (27-0, 23 KOs) was born in Cameroon and lives in France, he frequently fights in Canada, and the fans in French-speaking Quebec have adopted him as their own.

The 29-year-old Mbilli’s shiny record is perhaps slightly more impressive on the surface than in substance; he has yet to fight a fellow unbeaten opponent or top super middleweight. But there has been little to dislike so far.

Mbilli’s long-term career path is unclear. The 168-pound division is in a purgatory of sorts – following Saul “Canelo” Alvarez’s thrilling run to undisputed champion in 2021, Canelo has largely avoided taking on the best and most deserving challengers in the division. In that time, David Benavidez has recorded impressive wins over Caleb Plant and Demetrius Andrade, but with Canelo unwilling to give him a shot, Benavidez has left super middleweight for potentially greener pastures at 175.

Canelo remains the target, in all likelihood, for ascending and established 168-pounders, and Mbilli has made clear in the past that he wants that fight. Perhaps Mbilli will seem an attractive bout for the longtime face of boxing – he is good enough to be credible but likely not tested enough to beat Canelo. Should Alvarez look elsewhere, other established super middleweights such as Caleb Plant or recent Canelo victim Jaime Munguia could potentially be significant future opponents for Mbilli.

For now, Mbilli is slated in August to fight Sergiy Derevyanchenko, a man who has given hell to many top middleweights in the past but seems destined to always come up second-best. Now that Derevyanchenko is 38 and has taken huge shots from some of the best punchers around 160 and 168, Mbilli may be fighting him at the ideal time.

Mbilli certainly shouldn’t need long to recover from tonight.