Fight News by NYF

All-Star Panel Answers This: AJ vs. Big Baby Miller, Who Wins and How?

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On June 1, Brit Anthony Joshua will make his long awaited debut in America and he will be matched up against the best trash talker in the heavyweight division, Jarrell “Big Baby” Miller.

Miller talks a helluva game and hasn’t yet been afforded the opportunity to prove he fights at the same level he talks; at Madison Square Garden, he will be able to prove naysayers wrong, and send a message of posivity to all the big boned citizens in our nation. 

The 300 pound Miller holds a 23-0-1 (20 KOs) record and will stride to the ring as his promoter Dmitriy Salita beams proudly—Salita but of course believes in the Brooklyn born pugilist… but pundits are today holding a mixed bag of opinions regarding his chances. He simply hasn’t been put in with a fighter nearly as talented as the 22-0 (21 KOs) Joshua, they’ll tell you. 

But the 29 year old AJ, a multi belt titlist,  hasn’t fought such a massive man who can throw crazy volume at him.

Yes, there is a spirited debate regarding who wins Joshua vs Miller, and how.  Expect it to be more spirited when do their NYC presser on Tuesday….

Chew on these takes from pundits while we count down to the June 1 faceoff, which will screen on DAZN. 

Hamza Ahmed, analyst, NYFights.com:” Joshua is the clear favourite in this fight. He has the pedigree, the experience, the know how, the technical advantages and we know more of Joshua than we do of Miller. There’s still question marks around Big Baby but he does hold one ace over Joshua and that is he has a better engine. He also has less wear and tear and comes forward with a purpose. But can he take a shot? Does he have the X factor to catch and shock Joshua? Does he have enough dynamite to send Joshua back to that dark place he visited against Klitschko? Miller weighs over 300 pounds but he’s never been hit clean on the whiskers. The other point of concern is Miller loves to get inside, that’s where he can do his best work but the thing is, Joshua simply loves the inside. It’s home for his short and compact hooks and uppercuts. 

I don’t think Joshua’s power is all the media makes it out to be. I’ve noticed he’s morphing from a come forward, brute puncher to a more patient, back foot boxer with more selection on his shots, more patience, more poise, and this transformation happening at the expense of his power. I think if Miller can take it to round 9-ish still in the fight (not knocked down, with 2/3 rounds in the bank etc), he’s got the chance of a lifetime to discourage/upset Joshua through superior workrate and conditioning. But I’m going to stick with my head this time and say after a hard fought fight, Joshua finds a home for his uppercuts on the inside, hurting a brave and spirited Miller and forcing the ref to step in just before Joshua’s gas tank begins to deplete. My pick is Joshua TKO in 9.”

Bernd Bonte, executive with Team Klitschko: “AJ is too good and experienced for Miller. Besides Miller’s footwork is too slow and his punching power is overrated. AJ inside 8 rounds by knockout.”

Brin-Jonathan Butler, author: “AJ KO early.”

Adrian Clark, manager: “It’s a toss-up. I’m siding with Big Baby because we work together but I don’t think AJ gets the credit he deserves with how he was able to defeat Klitschko and how has dismantled some solid guys. If I had to bet on it, AJ by decision but Big Baby has the skill and conditioning level to pull off the upset.”

Robert Diaz, matchmaker, Golden Boy Promotions: “Heavyweights are always exciting as all it takes is one big one and asleep goes the opponent. The long awaited debut in the USA for AJ. How real is Big Baby, many questions will be answered. Fun fight as you have two big heavies in there, with that said expect a sensational debut for AJ as he Knocks Out Big Baby in the 7th.  I cant wait for the post press conference as that will be just as exciting, hahahahahah.”

Lou Dibella, NY-based promoter: “AJ is obviously the percentage play, but Big Baby a live dog. If the big boy can hurt AJ, he’ll win. From a player’s standpoint, will get a nice price on Miller inside the distance. My bet wouldn’t be as heavy as Miller, though.”

Kathy Duva, boss at Main Events promotions: “AJ, of course! Yes. Very easy. Three rounds.”

Stephen “Breadman” Edwards, trainer: “AJ UD, 116-112.”

George Foreman, living legend: “The Big Baby is a good body puncher, if he stays focused on the body he might drop AJ. Too many rounds to get a KO. So I lean to AJ winning over 12 rounds.”

John Gatling, analyst, NYFights.com: “For starters, this upcoming June tilt is a very good fight and a great promotion as we can already see. It’s only going to get even more entertaining from here, as DAZN serves up yet another reason to subscribe in what has thus far been a solid addition to the boxing lexicon. The charismatic, ostentatious Jarrell “Big Baby” Miller (23-0-1, 2 0KOs) was well worth the trip overseas for Eddie Hearn to scoop up and sign in late 2017. I had a chance to size up Miller in many ways before, during and after his October 2017 face-off at Nassau Coliseum with Poland’s Maruisz Wach, who looked like he’d just stepped off the set of 1979’s “Moonraker” as Jaws. Wach had a lot of the same measurables as unified champion Anthony Joshua (22-0, 21KOs) with his 6’7 height and 82 inch, and I was curious to see what the game’s version of a BB King would do against the long and largely immovable Pole. He didn’t look good, admittedly, and vowed to show the world he’d be ready to end all of the “AJ” Vs “Bomb Squad!” talk rather emphatically in future performances. Wins over Johann Duhaupas, Tomas Adamek and Bogdan Dinu later and I’m not convinced he can do that. While styles make fights– it is substance that wins them; in addition to intangibles like pedigree and/or strength of opposition. That all decidedly favors the much more nuanced and demonstrably more polished AJ, who became both a man and “Da Man” when he rose from the depths to drown long reigning undisputed champion Wladimir Klitschko in April 2017. Joshua is also a far superior athlete in terms of physical fitness and ring mechanics. Impressive stoppage wins over Carlos Takam and Alexander Povetkin was sandwiched in between a successful 12 round exam over Joseph Parker. “Big Baby” may think that AJ “looks like food”, but he’ll most likely tighten his bib and generally mistreat him as a terrible babysitter, before utterly abusing him. I’m guessing the referee (let’s hope its the hilarious Steve Willis) will serve as DYFS at some point and rescue the former kickboxer somewhere around the 8th round.”    

Randy Gordon, Sirius host:  “I know this is crazy, but I am going out on a limb here and picking Jarrell Miller to beat Anthony Joshua.  Hey, it’s really tough to pick an upset, and for Miller to bet Joshua will be a monumental one.  However, this seems to be the year of the upset:  Caleb Plant beat Jose Uzcategui…Andrew Cancio beat Alberto Machado.  Can Miller do the near-impossible on June 1?  Can he even make a respectable showing against the tall, hard-hitting Joshua?  I say Yes to both questions.  Big Baby’s strength is enormous, and his in-fighting wears opponents down.  He is more suited for a down-in-the-trenches brawl than Joshua is, and I believe this will become a down-in-the-trenches fight.  Whether the fight ends early or late, or whether it goes the distance, I believe Jarrell “Big Baby” Miller is going to pull off a shocking upset at Madison Square Garden.

Jack Hirsch, ex BWAA president, writer for Boxing News: “Put me in the minority, but I think that Big Baby’s relentless pressure will wear AJ down and he’ll stop him late. Miller’s weight advantage will play a big role in the fight. 

George Jolly, analyst, Talkbox: “Boxing is a science, but it’s a science of uncertainty, and I’m anything but certain. My gut tells me this fight will be all gravy (big) baby! Miller will use two basic steps on AJ, get under his skin and get under his jab, like my friend Hank would say, ‘he’s in his head and under his bed”. The first step has begun, with Miller taking the tired road of slinging homophobic slurs toward Mr. Muscles;  the thing is, it is probably working. Second step, a bit perilous, Miller will have to take some risk getting inside, so we will see, can he catch? So far Miler’s chin has looked durable, but versus AJ we will find out in short order how well Miller can beard. Miller rolls with punches, dictates a frenetic pace, volume punching, and beats on AJ’s kidneys like a cut-rate butcher. Jarell exposes the not so secret weakness of AJ, he gets gassed. Once he’s gassed, the second of AJ’s major flaws appears, he’s hittable. As Barry McGuigan said “he peeks over the fence,” lowers his hands, sometimes to the waist, has his chin held high. Look for it. I’m really going to be bold here, look for Miller to use a throw away left hook to set up the right uppercut, a punch that will turn this fight and the heavyweight division on its head. Big Baby Miller, late stoppage, at the Mecca.”

Peter Kahn, manager: “My prediction: Miller’s best chances are early. If Miller can’t find a way to bully AJ and close the distance providing the best chance to find heavy and clean shots early (as in the first 4 rounds) AJ will adapt to Miller’s timing and use the jab to set up big shots that will eventually wear down Miller. The athletic Miller will need to come with a strong boxing plan to mitigate AJ’s offense. I feel that although we’ll see some early fireworks like AJ encountered against Whyte, AJ has the higher boxing IQ and has faced the better level of opposition. The magnitude of the moment will affect Miller more than AJ. AJ by decision or late stoppage in rounds 11 or 12.”

Ron Katz, matchmaker, Star Boxing: “Very interesting fight. I’m not totally sold yet on AJ although he is a very good fighter but Klitschko was able to exploit his defensive weaknesses. Can Miller do the same? That remains to be seen.  Big guys like Miller always pose problems especially when they have the talent to go along with their size.  Guys like Tony Tubbs and Buster Mathis were always tough outs and Miller is bigger than both.  Miller has not fought anyone near the level of Joshua so it will be interesting to see if he can up his game.  If Jarrell can sustain over the course of the match he will make things quite difficult for Anthony.  It should be a fan friendly fight for sure.”

Jim Lampley, Hall of Famer blow by blow man: “I believe Miller is skilled enough to create a puzzle for AJ, but doesn’t hit hard enough to beat him.  Joshua will land the more destructive blows throughout and prevail by UD.”

Greg Leon, manager/journalist, BoxingTalk.com: “Jarrell “Big Baby” Miller by unanimous decision: AJ is the favorite for a reason, and I wouldn’t be shocked if he clipped Big Baby early, but if he doesn’t it’s going to be a long night for AJ at MSG. As impossible as this may sound based on his appearance, Miller is the hungrier fighter and I see him outworking Joshua over the distance and resting 320 pounds of Miller time on AJ every chance he gets.”

Zach Levin, NYC-based manager: “AJ by decision or possible late stoppage. He is going to fall back on sound fundamentals. Yes, AJ himself is a work-in-progress. He gets hit some and his chin can let him down. But let’s talk about the skills he has. I like his sound basics. I see him working off a good hard busy jab, and working in an array of power shots off of the stick. I don’t think he will be greedy, but he will land a good 1-2, go to the body some, the occasional keft hook and uppercut up top. If he can keep this at distance, it’s his fight. Miller will be there to get hit. He won’t be able to bully AJ the way he is accustomed; this isn’t

anything like he has seen before. Baby has been moved well and has been kept active. This is the best version of Baby that you could hope for. I’m pretty impressed with him. He cuts the ring off well and applies good pressure. If he can sli[p AJ’s shots well and get in his chest, that is his best bet. He is an excellent in-fighter–very relaxed in there and finds his shots. But I expect AJ to be victorious. Baby done ate one too many cheesburgers.”

Frank Lotierzo, analyst, ex fighter: “AJ, as the odds indicate, should be a big favorite over Big Baby Miller. He does everything better and is more technically sound. Stylistically, Miller being a guy who moves to his opponent will need a granite chin, because bringing it to AJ is near suicide. It’ll be interesting to see how Miller reacts after sampling some of Joshua’s power to the head and body.  I think it’ll go about 9-rounds but it could go the distance because my intuition tells me Miller is durable and no joke. Sort of a poor man’s version of the older George Foreman. AJ will win and look good, but it’s not automatic for him.”

Kelsey McCarson, analyst, Gambling.com: “Miller was a really excellent kickboxer. In fact, the only two losses of his professional kickboxing career came against Mirko Cro Cop, one of the better kickboxers in recent memory. But none of these things will matter when he fights unified heavyweight champion Joshua in a boxing ring. The 29-year-old from London will have all the physical and stylistic advantages. He’s a better boxer. He hits harder. He has the better pedigree. What will unfold then will be what happens anytime a pretty good kickboxer faces a great boxer. Joshua will bide his time early with jabs and pick up the pace later to stop Miller somewhere after the middle of the fight.”

Carl Moretti, executive at Top Rank: “AJ.  Easy. Big Miller is just BIG.” 

Gabe Oppenheim, analyst, Gabewords: “Joshua KO 10 — Baby has a good chin but not good enough to take Joshua’s power all night. Baby fights with the stance of kickboxer. He’ll be out-of-position, squared-up and susceptible to a AJ’s shots the moment the first bell rings. It’ll only go 10 because of Baby’s aforementioned ability to withstand punishment and Joshua’s inactivity in the first two rounds as he studies Miller in depth while remaining out of range. Too much is on the line for Joshua for him to charge his opponent early and risk getting caught. That hesitation, in anticipation of a mega bout with Wilder or Fury, will make him duller, more conservative. But it’s probably the correct strategy.”

Robbi Paterson, analyst, based in Scotland: “With this being Joshua’s first fight stateside, he’ll be looking to make an impression, and he has the ideal style in front of him to do just that. BIG Baby Miller sure is a man-mountain, but hold it…6ft 4 guys who weigh over 300lbs aren’t meant to be busy or quick-handed, they should be limited lumps who come packaged with gassing out issues, are slow from head to toe and punch with a moderate output. But Miller rips up that script. Joshua, in his last fight, looked pedestrian against Povetkin, who brought dimensions into the ring that included squatting down to adjust his height, looping hooks, coming in at angles and only letting his hands go when he deemed it necessary. Calculated. Povetkin gave Joshua a new look, and the Londoner hardly looked convincing until he clocked the Russian during the 7th with a beautifully timed, short right hand that spelled the beginning of the end for PED-tainted Russian only moments later. But rest assured, Miller’s style should—in theory anyway—for however long the fight lasts, give Joshua’s offense a platform to shine upon that Povetkin’s didn’t. He’ll gamble by storming forward, looking to get up close and unsettle the champion with his physicality and high punch volume. It’s imperative he rolls the dice and employs a game called suffocation. Waiting on the outside would be a definite no-no. However, he will be giving Joshua a head start by trying to play such a game, because with a bit movement here and there and keeping the Brooklynite at long-range (a somewhat safe distance), AJ can catch Miller as he’s forcing the issue. What separates this fight from being either a massacre or a competitive fight is whether or not Miller can withstand Joshua’s power. All said done, I expect a bit of both, with BIG Baby, after a gallant effort, crying on his knees somewhere during the mid-to-late rounds.”

Abel Sanchez, trainer to GGG: “AJ should win, his whiskers have been a question for me, but I also don’t think we have seen a well conditioned, in shape, good weight and determined Miller, I have to say it’s a 60-40 fight for AJ.”

Lem Satterfield, writer with PBC:  “I’m going to go with the upset. I think if Jarrell  Miller can smother Anthony Joshua and get inside, not exhaust himself, he can win an ugly fight by decision. He will get hit, but he will need to keep the big shots at a minimum. So I’m going with the upset — Baby Miller becomes the new heavyweight champion in his home state, by decision.”

Marcos Villegas, videographer, Fight Hub: “AJ wins via stoppage in around 8-10 rounds.”

Anson Wainwright, RING writer: “You have to like Joshua, Miller ticks a lot of boxes, one of the best talkers in the sport at the moment, he will bring the heat and make for a terrific sound bite leading into the fight. In some ways this could be like when Naseem Hamed came to New York and fought Kevin Kelley in Dec. 1997. Miller is a big old lump and will try to bring it but I don’t feel he has the skillset to beat Joshua. Early Miller’s decided weight advantage may allow him to have the odd success but I think Joshua takes him to deep water and stops in in the second half of the fight. Joshua TKO 8.”

And now you…who wins and how, Joshua vs Miller, June 1, in NYC…Talk to me. 

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About Michael Woods

Editor/publisher Michael Woods became addicted to boxing in 1990, when Buster Douglas shocked the world with his demolition of the fearsome Mike Tyson. The Brooklyn-based journalist Woods has covered the sport since then, for ESPN The Magazine, ESPN.com, ESPN New York, RING, and he was editor of TheSweetScience.com from 2007-2015. Woods is also an accomplished blow by blow and color man, having done work for Top Rank, DiBella Entertainment, EPIX, and numerous other organizations.

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