MONTREAL: Adonis Stevenson stopped Chad Dawson with a single, swinging left-handed punch at 1:16 of the first round on Saturday (Sunday in Manila) to capture Dawson’s World Boxing Council light heavyweight world title.
Stevenson, a Haitian-born Canadian who at 35 has fought just 22 professional fights, underscored his reputation as a knockout artist as he improved to 21-1 with 19 wins inside the distance.
“You understand why people don’t want to fight me now?” a beaming Stevenson said as he clutched his championship belt.
Stevenson 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: 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.”
Dawson, who was trying to bounce back from a 10th-round loss to Andre Ward in a fight in which Dawson stepped down to super middleweight, instead suffered an even more embarrassing defeat, falling to 31-3.
Dawson was leaning in and 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 it off for the technical knockout.
“It was a punch I didn’t see,” a dejected Dawson said. “He caught me, and that was it.”
After the fight, referee Michael Griffin said he wanted to give Dawson every chance to continue.
“He didn’t respond,” Griffin said. “He didn’t have his legs.”