In a year that will be remembered more for who Adonis Stevenson didn't fight, the lineal light heavyweight champion at least closed out 2014 with a bang.
Stevenson, who endured a stream of criticism for avoiding showdowns against the top three fighters in his division following a breakout 2013, finished former title challenger Dmitry Sukhotsky with a one-punch fifth-round knockout Friday.
Making the fourth defense of his 175-pound championship, Stevenson (25-1, 21 KOs) dropped Sukhotsky four times and dominated from start to finish at the Pepsi Coliseum in Quebec City.
"I just used my speed and movement. I know I have the power and the knockouts are going to come," Stevenson said. "I don't want to force the knockouts. I know my trainer [Javan "Sugar" Hill] tells me that, too. It's boxing.
"I just wait for him and, bang, I catch him."
Stevenson, 37, was patient early on, drawing boos from the crowd midway through the opening round. But the native of Haiti, who fights out of Quebec, gave the home fans something to cheer about in Round 2 by flooring Sukhotsky (22-3, 16 KOs) with a big left hand.
The one-sided action continued as Sukhotsky, 33, who challenged unsuccessfully for Juergen Braehmer's title in 2009, stayed in his defensive shell without throwing. Stevenson simply couldn't miss with his left hand and finally broke down Sukhotsky's defense for good in Round 5.
Stevenson opened the round with a pair of early knockdowns before ending the fight with a violent left hand to the chin that left Sukhotsky under the bottom rope. Referee Michael Griffin instantly called a halt to the bout at 2:42.
The victory leaves the boxing public in the same place they were a year ago: hoping for a light heavyweight summit between Stevenson and unified titlist Sergey Kovalev, who added Bernard Hopkins' title to his collection in November.
Stevenson opened the year by signing with powerful adviser Al Haymon and switching television networks. The move brought an end to any hope of a Kovalev fight, which temporarily created a lawsuit from Kovalev promoter Main Events, believing it had an agreement in place.
The lack of big fights continued as Stevenson incited fans by leaving matchups against Hopkins and Jean Pascal on the negotiating table. He settled for a May title defense against Andrzej Fonfara, in which Stevenson was forced to get off the canvas to win.
"You have to come to me. I'm the big champion," Stevenson said. "You have to come to me. I'm the main light heavyweight. So they have to come to me.
"I'll let Al Haymon and [my promoter] take care of that. My job is to go to the ring and knock everybody out."
When asked on Showtime about his advancing age and the potential need to take care of his career-defining fights sooner rather than later, Stevenson smiled and responded, "It's not a matter; look at my shape. I'm a superman."
• Twelve rounds later, and Jo Jo Dan is still one point better than Kevin Bizier.
In an all-Canada welterweight rematch, Montreal's Dan edged Quebec's Bizier by split decision for the second time by scores of 115-112, 113-114 and 114-113. Dan (34-2, 18 KOs) had previously handed Bizier his lone career defeat, also by split decision, in November 2013.
The two fighters once again turned in a solid action scrap by repeatedly trading punches at close range. But Dan, a native of Romania who outlanded Bizier 231 to 211, received the nod on the scorecards, granting him a mandatory shot at Kell Brook's title.
Bizier (23-2, 16 KOs), 30, was cut below his right eye following an accidental clash of heads in Round 7, moments before flooring the southpaw Dan, 33, with a left hook.
• Super middleweight Andre Dirrell continued to stay busy in his latest comeback, winning his third fight in five months by dominating Derek Edwards by unanimous decision.
Dirrell (24-1, 16 KOs), who was inactive for more than one year three separate times since 2010, experimented with the southpaw stance throughout and constantly beat a lifeless Edwards (27-4-1, 14 KOs) to the punch en route to claiming a unanimous decision (118-109, 120-108, 119-107).
The native of Flint, Michigan, outlanded Edwards 225 to 47. But despite visibly hurting him in Rounds 6, 8 and 10, Dirrell was unable to finish him.
Dirrell, 31, now working with trainer and former heavyweight titlist Chris Byrd, was rocked momentarily with a pair of left hooks in Round 12. But that would be all the offense Edwards would muster on a forgettable night in which landed just one jab in 12 rounds.
• Light heavyweight prospect Artur Beterbiev needed to get up off the canvas before finishing off fellow unbeaten Jeff Page Jr.
Beterbiev (7-0, 7 KOs) hit the canvas for the first time in his career in Round 1 on a counter right hand. But the native of Russia, who fights out of Montreal, took care of business after steadying himself the following round.
After knocking down Page (15-1, 10 KOs) early with a flurry of punches, Beterbiev, 29, scored two more knockdowns before referee Jean-Guy Brousseau waved off the fight at 2:21 of Round 2.