MONTREAL - It may take more than 76 seconds, but Adonis Stevenson will be going for another big knockout when he defends his light heavyweight title against American Tavoris Cloud.
The two brawlers meet Saturday night at the Bell Centre in Stevenson's first defence of the championship belt he won in June with a crushing left that floored Chad Dawson only 1:16 into Round One.
"He's a power puncher, I'm a power puncher, so it's going to be rock 'n roll," said Stevenson, the World Boxing Council champ from Blainville, Que. who uses the nickname Superman.
Both fighters easily made the 175-pound limit at the weigh-in on Friday, with Stevenson at 173.8 and Cloud at 174.6.
Stevenson (21-1, 18 knockouts) has stopped eight straight opponents before the limit, while Cloud (24-1, 19 KOs) has stopped only one of his last six.
Cloud, the former International Boxing Federation champ, is coming off his first loss, a 12-round decision to 48-year-old Bernard Hopkins in March.
But the Tallahassee, Fla. native is known as a puncher, and unlike the Hopkins bout, he'll find a willing partner with whom to trade shots in the hammer-fisted Stevenson.
Fight trainer, cut man and broadcaster Russ Anber said Cloud would be better off not opening up too much against a lefthander with knockout power than has drawn comparisons with former heavyweight king Mike Tyson.
"Adonis doesn't just have power, he has nuclear power," said Anber. "It doesn't just land, it detonates.
"Tavoris Cloud's a tough fighter and an experienced champion. There's no way this could be a bad fight if it lasts 76 seconds or six rounds. But Adonis has such crippling power that, if Cloud makes a war of it as he generally does, it could hurt him."
The bout is to be televised on the HBO specialty channel in the U.S. and on pay-per-view in Canada.
New York-based matchmaker Don Majeski said HBO wanted an American opponent for Stevenson and Cloud was the best one available.
The WBC sanctioned it on the condition that Stevenson's next bout be against mandatory challenger Tony Bellow of England, which could come some time this winter in either Montreal or Quebec City.
After that, some intriguing bouts await Stevenson if he gets past Cloud.
One could be Hopkins, who is on a run of dispossessing much younger opponents of world titles, as he did with Jean Pascal's WBC belt two years ago.
He could also face the winner of Pascal's much-anticipated showdown with fellow Montreal light heavyweight Lucian Bute, which is expected in January.
Majeski even mentioned Andre Ward, the super-middleweight champion considered one of the top pound-for-pound fighters alive.
"He's at a crossroads here," said Majeski. "After this, everything gets huge.
"It opens the door to transition from Superman to superstar. He's got that opportunity. He's got the audience on HBO. He doesn't have to tell people who he is."
It's also big for Cloud, who needs a win or at least a good showing to demonstrate he is still a factor in the division. Cloud has fought only three times in the last three years.
"The question is: Can he come back from that loss and fight a guy in his home town who has a devastating record, a puncher with a reputation?" said Majeski. "It's a bigger measure of Cloud than it is of Stevenson."
As much as Stevenson's KO of Dawson drew the attention of the boxing world, promoter Yvon Michel said only a little more than 7,000 tickets had been sold by Friday morning, less than half of what Pascal or Bute regularly sell.
Michel said that Stevenson has yet to become a celebrity to local fans, but that could come soon if he keeps winning.
Pascal (27-2-1) will stay busy with a tune-up bout against journeyman George (Honey Boy) Blades (23-4-2) in the co-feature.
Two Colombian light heavyweights clash when Montreal-based Eleider Alvarez (12-0) faces veteran Edison Miranda (35-8).