11/05/2014 06:48 EST | Updated 01/05/2015 05:59 EST

Stevenson denies ducking duck top guns as he prepares to face Sukhotsky

MONTREAL - Adonis Stevenson has dodged more verbal blows than punches this year and is glad to be getting back in the ring to do some real boxing.

The 37-year-old from Montreal will defend his World Boxing Council light heavyweight title Dec. 19 at the Pepsi Colisee in Quebec City against little-known Russian Dmitry Sukhotsky, an opponent who has been panned as yet another easy mark.

Stevenson, a power-punching lefthander, had hoped to be in against ring legend Bernard Hopkins, and there was pressure to face heavy hitter Sergey Kovalev, but neither of those bouts came to be.

That sparked accusations that Stevenson (24-1) has been ducking the best in the division to milk his title for paydays against second-tier opponents.

Stevenson bristled at that suggestion at a news conference on Wednesday.

"My manager, Al Haymon, negotiates. I'm a boxer," he said. "If it doesn't happen, It's not my fault and it's not Al Haymon's fault. It's just negotiations.

"It's not like I'm ducking the best boxers. It's not about that. For sure I wanted to fight Hopkins. When I first won the title I called out Hopkins. Sure I'm disappointed, but the negotiations didn't happen with him. It's not that I'm afraid of him or anyone."

Promoter Yvon Michel said 33-year-old Sukhotsky (22-2) was the best opponent available for the bout, the main event on a card to be aired on the U.S. specialty channel Showtime.

Stevenson dropped a planned showdown with Kovalev by leaving the HBO network to join Showtime, hoping for a shot at Hopkins. But the 49-year-old Hopkins left the Canadian out to dry by jumping to HBO to face Kovalev. The unification bout for the IBF, WBA and WBO titles takes place Saturday in Atlantic City.

Michel said Stevenson should face a top opponent in the spring in mandatory challenger Jean Pascal. Stevenson and Pascal are both Montreal boxers of Haitian descent, but there is no love lost between them.

Pascal, the former WBC champ who lost the title to Hopkins, has been calling Stevenson out for weeks on social media, suggesting the champion is afraid to face any truly dangerous opponents.

"If he's number one, I'll fight him," said Stevenson. "I don't have a problem.

"He's just using my name to build up his name. He says I'm scared, I'm this, I'm that. That's just him talking. It's not going to work."

Trainer Sugar Hill said Stevenson has to focus on the fight he's got rather than the ones that might have been.

Sukhotsky is not well known, but he has a strong record and has faced some decent opponents. He lost a bid for the WBO title by decision in 2009 to Juergen Braemer in Germany and dropped a decision in 2012 to Cornelius White in Las Vegas.

He has never been knocked out or even knocked down. Stevenson had to pick himself up off the canvas in an unexpectedly difficult win by decision in his last outing in May against Andrzej Fonfara.

Stevenson joked that while he doesn't know Sukhotsky, he won't Google him. That referred to the bout in which Stevenson won the title in 2013 against Chad Dawson, whose pre-fight trash talk including saying "Who is this guy? I had to Google him." Stevenson knocked Dawson out cold in only 76 seconds.

"I don't know him, but I've seen some tapes," said Hill. "Those are the guys who are most dangerous, the people you don't think about.

"It's a dangerous fight. Anyone in these big weight classes is a danger because they have the weight to go with the punches. So we're not looking past this fight. But truthfully, Adonis doesn't care who he's fighting."

Hill is excited to start training next week because they will be moving into a new Kronk Gym in Detroit. The legendary gym that produced Thomas Hearns and other greats has been in a few locations since the original venue was closed by the city.

The last location shut its doors when its founder, training great Emanuel Steward, died of an intestinal ailment in 2012, so they trained wherever they could find space.

"I have to finish putting the ring up," said Hill, Steward's nephew. "I have to put Emanuel's name on it and things like that.

"Adonis was at the last Kronk because Emanuel worked with him the last two fights before he passed. This is a more permanent gym, but it will be added delight for Adonis because he's going to be the first one, and the first champion, in that gym. He gets to break the new gym in."

The co-feature has former super-middleweight contender Andre Dirrell against an as-yet undetermined opponent. The American Dirrell, (23-1), is on a comeback from a bout with Arthur Abraham in 2010 that left him with a brain injury.

Michel said public demand moved Showtime to include Artur Beterbiev (6-0), an impressive Russian light heavyweight fighting out of Montreal. He will face American Jeff Page Jr. (15-0).

Beterbiev has needed only 13 rounds to dispatch six opponents, including former world champion Tavoris Cloud, who went down in the second at the Bell Centre in September.

But the best bout of the night should be a welterweight rematch between Romanian-born Ionut (Jojo) Dan (33-2) of Montreal and Kevin Bizier (22-1) of Quebec City. The winner gets the No. 1 ranking in the IBF and becomes mandatory challenger to champion Kell Brook of England.

The southpaw Dan went into Bizier's hometown in November and won a split decision in an action-packed bout. Now he has to do it again, with more at stake.

"I think I had better experience than him and maybe I wanted it more," Dan said of their last encounter. "I know he's got more experience from the last fight and he knows me better, but I know him better too.

"For sure, it'll be an exciting fight."