Rapid Reaction: Stevenson finishes Bellew

Things went according to plan late Saturday night in Quebec City as the light heavyweight division edged closer to the fight that everyone wants.

After Sergey Kovalev delivered a two-round shellacking of Ismayl Sillakh to retain his belt, Adonis Stevenson had to deliver the goods in his title defense against Britain’s Tony Bellew to ensure HBO and promoters Yvon Michel and Main Events walked away with smiles on their faces.

Bellew -- who talked a good game, as he always does -- had brought up Stevenson’s anger at a fiery weigh-in, but unfortunately the fuel to that fire was extinguished in six rounds with a confident performance and conclusive stoppage from the champion.

Key moment: That would have been whenever the sometimes-unorthodox left hook landed from Stevenson’s southpaw stance. It found its home in Round 1 and thereafter despite the challenger carrying a high right hand. Bellew’s plan was to frustrate and take the fight to Stevenson late in the contest, but best-laid plans were put to rest long before that could begin.

We've got your number: Zero, and the paymasters will wonder how many they will have to add to the fighters’ bank accounts to make a salivating unification super-fight between Stevenson and Kovalev. The former, however, talked about facing the super middleweight champion Carl Froch and “The Alien” Bernard Hopkins, and seemingly showed little interest in taking on Kovalev right away.

Last word: Froch and Hopkins line Stevenson’s pockets rather handsomely, but given what he and Kovalev have done in the ring lately, all the stars will, one hopes, align to have two of the most fearsome punchers in the modern era lock horns in a bout that will have little odds of going the distance.