Last night at Sporthalle in Hamburg, Germany, WBA heavyweight titlist Alexander Povetkin rubbed out 39 year old former world champ Hasim Rahman in just two rounds.
It's difficult to see just how Rahman, who weighed in for the bout twenty pounds more than during his prime, earned this title shot, having posted five victories over journeyman opposition since losing a title clash to Wladimir Klitschko in 2008.
Perhaps the answer lies in Povetkin's need to secure a win after a poor showing during his previous title defense against WBO cruiserweight champion Marco Huck in February.
Once the bell rang in Hamburg, a heavy-looking Rahman backed up Povetkin in the first round but neither fighter was able to land any punches of substance.
The second frame started much the same as the first until the fresher Povetkin got in a good left hook that had Rahman on unsteady legs. The Russian moved in the for kill, battering Rahman on the ropes with compact punches.
Rahman took the punishment well until another left hook caught the former WBC/IBF champ flush on the button. The American was holding onto the top rope for support, with referee Gustavo Padilla stepping in shortly afterward to call off the bout at the 1:46 mark.
Povetkin improves to 35-0 (17) but the 33 year old must fight and defeat live opposition if he is to deserve a crack at one of the Klitschko brothers as the victory over a clearly spent Rahman, 50-8-2 (41) proves nothing.
The undercard provided a clash of undefeated heavyweight, pitting Kubrat Pulev of Bulgaria against Russia's Alexander Ustinov for Pulev's European and IBF International heavyweight titles. The contest also served as an IBF eliminator for that organization's number one spot.
Pulev, the far more skilled boxer, had difficulty with the sheer size of the 6 foot 8, 305 pound Ustinov, who took more punches but also landed a fair share of jabs and right hands.
By the later rounds, however, the cumulative damage was starting to show on Ustinov, who took a knee in the 11th after getting caught on the temple with a sweeping Pulev left hook and was counted out when he failed to rise in time.
Pulev improves to 17-0 (9), while Ustinov drops to 27-1 (21).