Sergey Kovalev added another scalp to his resume in HBO's TV live fight opener, from the Pepsi Coliseum in Quebec on Saturday night, in a light heavyweight tussle. Kovalev re-proved that his hands are heavy, stopping Ismayl Sillakh in round two, at 52 seconds elapsed.
"I think he put himself in the conversation for fighter of the year," said Max Kellerman after the rubout by the WBO champ. Kovalev told Kellerman after that the win was the result of his hard work in the gym. "I won this fight a long time ago," he said. He was asked about talking to Sillakh during the fight, and he said he told the loser he would be kayoed. And next? He said he's ready for Adonis Stevenson, or any champ in his division.
The stats: 14-26 for Kovalev, to 9-37 for the loser.
Sillakh (174 1/2 pounds; 21-1 with 17 Kos; living in CA) was 4-0 since being stopped by Denis Grachev (TKO8). The Ukrainian, whose dad is from West Africa, dealt with racism growing up. He had to fight that, literally. Kovalev (174 1/2; 22-0-1 with 17 KOs) grew up in Russia and started working, and going to the boxing gym, at age 11. He said he is aiming to get three or four titles when all is said and done.
In the first, Sillakh wanted to keep moving, not be a stationary target. His hands looked fast and he was light on his feet. Kovalev was the aggressor, patient, looking to grind the man down. He accelerated the grinding, right quick, though.
In the second, a right sent Sillakh down at 2:25. It was right, on the ear, as Sillakh started to throw a left. He was sent down again, for good, with right-left. There was no point in counting, as Sillakh was on goofy street.