Adonis Stevenson stopped Chad Dawson in the first round to claim the WBC light-heavyweight title in Montreal on Saturday night.
The fight was over after 76 seconds; the result of a swinging left-handed punch that made an end to Dawson’s reign.
Stevenson, a Haiti-born Canadian who, at 35, has fought in only 22 professional fights, improved to his record to 21-1, with 19 wins inside the distance.
Dawson, who was trying to bounce back from a tenth-round loss to Andre Ward in a super middleweight fight, suffered an even more embarrassing defeat, his record falling to 31-3.
Dawson was winding up to throw a right when southpaw Stevenson nailed him on the side of the head. When he rose, his eyes were glazed and his legs wobbly and the referee called off the bout there and then.
"You understand why people don't want to fight me now?" a beaming Stevenson said as he clutched his championship belt.
He had stepped up in weight to take the fight. His plan was to use his speed and, when he had a chance, unleash his powerful left. According to CompuBox statistics, the telling blow was the third he landed on the night.
"The game plan was to use my speed, put the pressure on and, as soon as I had a good chance, put my left at the top," Stevenson said. "I put my left, I caught him, that's a beautiful punch."
Since an upset second-round defeat to Darnell Boone in April 2010, Stevenson has won seven fights inside the distance.
He knocked out Derek Edwards in the third round, stopped Shujaa El Amin in the first and Aaron Pryor Jr in the ninth. Then he knocked out Jesus Gonzalez in the first and stopped Noe Gonzalez Alcoba in the second and Don George in the twelfth before knocking out Darnell Boone in the sixth round of a rematch.
Dawson’s erratic form has given rise to doubts about the southpaw’s ability to hold on to the title he won in impressive style about six years ago when he beat Tomasz Adamek.
He has been below his best in his last five fights. He lost the WBC belt to Jean Pascall, beat Adrian Diaconu and was involved in a no-contest against Bernard Hopkins. He then regained the title when he beat Hopkins, who had won the belt from Pascall, on a majority decision in return match. And then he lost to Ward.