The question going into tonight's HBO Boxing After Dark co-feature was whether or not Ismayl Sillakh, a very talented boxer, would be able to withstand the power of Sergey Kovalev well enough, or avoid it long enough, to have an upset shot.
Kovalev was perhaps outboxed a bit by Sillakh in round one, but it wasn't long into round two before a right hand thumped Sillakh and put the challenger on the canvas. After getting to his feet and still a bit wobbly, Sillakh was basically defenseless as Kovalev instantly marched forward and finished the fight with a right hand, with two lefts catching the Ukrainian on his way to the floor for a second and final time.
Kovalev (23-0-1, 21 KO) was simply too strong for Sillakh (21-2, 17 KO), who looks like he may be another in a long line of highly skilled boxers who just didn't have the punch resistance to make it at the top levels. We've seen this in recent years with Jorge Linares, as well as to a lesser extent Amir Khan. (Khan to a lesser extent because he's been very successful even with his chin letting him down a couple times.)
As for Kovalev, the obvious hope among boxing fans is that we'll see him face Adonis Stevenson, should Stevenson succeed tonight as expected against Tony Bellew. That fight is up next, so join our live coverage!