Stevenson hopes big fights follow

Light heavyweight champion Adonis Stevenson declined to finalize big-time fall unification showdowns with both Sergey Kovalev and Bernard Hopkins -- who will instead fight each other Nov. 8 -- and also failed to come to terms with former champion Jean Pascal for what would be a major fight between two of Montreal's biggest name boxers.

So instead of a significant fight, Stevenson will settle for making the fourth defense of his crown against the obscure Dmitry Sukhotsky on Dec. 19 at the Pepsi Coliseum in Quebec City, Yvon Michel, Stevenson's promoter, said Monday. The fight will headline a Showtime-televised card.

Two news conferences to announce the fight are scheduled for Nov. 5, one in the morning in Quebec City and one in the afternoon in Montreal, Michel said.

Despite a very limited resume, Sukhotsky (22-2, 16 KOs), 33, of Russia, will be getting his second crack at a 175-pound world title. In December 2009, he lost a unanimous decision challenging Juergen Braehmer for his belt in Germany.

Sukhotsky's other loss came by near-shutout 12-round decision to Cornelius White in Las Vegas in July 2012. Sukhotsky has won four fights in a row since, but all against lowly regarded opposition.

"I'm expecting the guy to come well prepared. He has his chance to win the world title," Michel told ESPN.com. "I believe it will be an entertaining fight. Adonis is always in an entertaining fight. The guy, Sukhotsky, likes to trade with his opponents.

"The best contender would have been Jean Pascal, but there were circumstances we coudn't avoid. But Adonis is dedicated to fight Pascal next. He's his mandatory if he beats Sukhotsky, and that will be a huge, huge fight in Montreal."

The 37-year-old Stevenson (24-1, 20 KOs) burst on the world stage in 2013, one fight after avenging a 2010 second-round knockout loss to journeyman Darnell Boone. After Stevenson stopped Boone in the sixth round of their rematch, he got a shot at the world title and blitzed champion Chad Dawson, knocking him out with a tremendous left hand in just 76 seconds.

Later in 2013, Stevenson recorded knockout wins in title defenses against former titleholder Tavoris Cloud and mandatory challenger Tony Bellew, seemingly setting the stage for a much-anticipated showdown with Kovalev.

Kovalev and HBO both said that the deal for a fight this fall had been agreed to with each fighter getting an interim bout before their meeting, which would have been this month. Kovalev knocked out Cedric Agnew in March, but days before the fight Stevenson left HBO for Showtime, killing the fight with Kovalev.

Stevenson and his camp -- Michel and adviser Al Haymon -- claimed the deal with HBO was not done when Stevenson accepted a deal at Showtime, which put on what was supposed to be his interim bout before Kovalev against Andrzej Fonfara in May. Stevenson, a southpaw, dominated the first seven rounds, dropping him twice and opening a cut over his right eye. But Fonfara battled back, dropped Stevenson in the ninth round and had him in huge trouble down the stretch before Stevenson claimed a unanimous decision.

The reason Stevenson went to Showtime was supposedly to secure a fall unification fight with Hopkins, a bigger name who had been fighting on the network. But with Hopkins having an IBF-imposed deadline to sign for a unification fight nearing and no progress being made on a fight with Stevenson, he signed instead to face Kovalev and returned to HBO.

That left Pascal, a much bigger draw in Quebec than Stevenson, as the biggest fight Stevenson could make. However, the Stevenson camp rejected Pascal's request for at least 40 percent of the money.

Michel said he understands that there is disappointment over Stevenson not fighting one of the big names next but said that would change next year as long as he beats Sukhotsky.

"I know we had our chance with Kovalev and circumstances led us in another direction, but hopefully that fight will happen someday," Michel said. "We were very disappointed when we got the news that Bernard had signed to fight Kovalev. We were convinced it was going in our direction. We didn't know about any deadline that Hopkins had."

Hopkins had a strict deadline from the IBF to sign for a unification fight, otherwise his mandatory defense against the unknown Nabjib Mohammedi would have been imposed. Hopkins preferred the bigger event and much bigger payday of a unification fight, especially now that he is 49 and only wants the biggest fights.

"Adonis made the move [to Showtime] to fight Hopkins and he didn't get it," Michel said. "This is the business and sometimes it goes in another direction. I understand [there is frustration]. Things didn't go the way we wanted them to go. The fight with Pascal will be huge and we will have the proper time to make it and do a good promotion. Just be patient.

"We have a plan for Adonis to fight in December and then three fights next year. Whoever will raise his hand and is willing to fight Adonis will get him. We will try to get back to where we left off in 2013 in 2015."

Two other fighters who will appear on the Dec. 19 card against opponents to be determined are fast-rising light heavyweight Artur Beterbiev (6-0, 6 KOs) and welterweight Kevin Bizier (23-1, 16 KOs).

On Sept. 27, Beterbiev, 29, a 2012 Russian Olympian now living in Montreal, annihilated Cloud in the second round of a shockingly one-sided destruction and is far more advanced than his limited pro record shows.

Bizier, 30, of Saint-Emile, Quebec, has won two fights in a row since dropping a split decision to Montreal-based Romanian Jo Jo Dan last November. Michel said he is trying to finalize a Dan-Bizier rematch in a title eliminator for the card.