COMMISSIONER’S CORNER: “BIG BABY” MILLER ON FAST TRACK TO TITLE SHOT
JARRELL “BIG BABY” MILLER ON FAST TRACK TO TITLE SHOT
In 2014, Jarrell “Big Baby” Miller was a guest on the SiriusXM boxing show I host with former heavyweight contender “Gentleman” Gerry Cooney.
Miller had just come off a first-round knockout of Jon Hill. The victory left him with a record of 8-0-1, with all of his wins coming by knockout.
“I am a long way from fighting for a title,” Miller told us and the listening audience, when I asked him of his title aspirations.
Well, 19 months is not a long time. That's how long it was since that 2014 interview and his latest appearance—a couple weeks ago–on our show.
In studio with us one week after demolishing journeyman Fred Kassi in three one-sided rounds, upping his record to 18-0-1, Miller was animated, loud and very clear what his current title schedule is.
According to Miller, his time is now. No longer does he consider himself “a long way from fighting for a world title.”
“I'm ready!” he boasted, calling out every top name—and then some—in the heavyweight division. What a difference 19 months can make when you're a heavyweight in every sense of the word.
In 2016, Miller has fought three times, each time becoming more and more of a HEAVYweight. For his January 22 stoppage of Donovan Dennis, Miller weighed 274¼ lbs. For his May 16 2nd round demolition of Nick Guivas, Miller weighed 283. One week before his bout against Kassi—which was the main event on Showtime—Miller told me, Cooney and our listening audience that he figured his weight would be “around 280 lbs.” He obviously doesn't go near a scale.
For Kassi he weighed 296½, a career high.
“Jarrell is the only fighter I know who can eat two breakfasts and a big lunch on the day of and before the weigh-in,” said his manager, Steve Nelson. “He's a big man who loves to eat.”
NOT IN BROAD CITY
Reminded that James Broad–who would have represented the United States at the Olympics in 1980 had the U.S. not withdrawn because of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan—ate his way right out of a promising boxing career and ultimately to his death.
Miller said, “I'm no James Broad. I know what I'm doing. Broad was out of control. I am totally in control. I am a big man (he stands a shade over 6'4”) with a big frame and a big appetite. But I train hard. Very hard!”
Miller, who turned 28 in July, turned pro in July 2009, mixing a boxing career with kickboxing and other martial arts skills. He took up boxing fulltime after losing a questionable decision in a kickboxing match to veteran Mirko Cro Cop in 2015.
In his fifth pro boxing match, against Joey Dawejko on January 19, 2013, Miller easily outpointed Dawejko on the cards of all three judges. However, an over-officious referee took TWO points from Miller for pushing, causing the 39-37 score he should have won by to become a unanimous 37-37 draw.
“Two points for pushing?” questioned manager Nelson. “George Foreman spent a Hall-of-Fame career pushing guys away, then knocking them out. When did any ref take points from Foreman? Jarrell was very green then, and used to doing many things in the ring because of the varied combat sports he participated in. As far as we at Team Miller are concerned, ‘Big Baby' is 19-0.”
The “Big Baby” nickname was hung on him years ago by former New York State Athletic Commission Chairman Ron Scott Stevens, who scoffed at some of the nicknames Miller had told Stevens he was considering.
“How about ‘Big Baby?'” suggested Stevens, almost in jest.
The two just looked at each other. Miller liked it. Miller kept it.
Now, years later, he is among the world's leading heavyweights and still being called “Big Baby.” He even has specially-made trunks which resemble a diaper.
“Those trunks get a lot of people talking,” laughs the 28-year-old Miller, who was born in Brooklyn but spent the first few years of his life in Belize, where his mother was attending college.
“I'm back home in Brooklyn and I'm gonna give the city a Brooklyn-born heavyweight champion,” he said to me and Cooney during a break in the show. It was then he also added, “Not only am I the best heavyweight in the world, I am the best trash-talker, bar none.”
“Better than Tyson Fury?” I inquired.
“An amateur!” ‘Big Baby' replied.
“Better than David Haye?” I asked.
“Please!” he said.
“Derek Chisora?” I asked..
Miller waved both hands at me as if to say, “Get out!”
“Shannon Briggs?” I countered.
Miller shook his head and laughed.
“Strictly an amateur,” he said. “All he can say is ‘Let's Go, Champ!' That's it. Briggs could never hold his own with me!”
Just then, my show's producer, “Joltin'” Josh Friedman, informed us that undefeated heavyweight champ Deontay Wilder was on the line from his home in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.
Wilder said he understood why Miller would be calling out the elite of the heavyweight division.
“We have something he wants,” said Wilder, who is recovering from surgery to his right hand and right biceps.
With that, Miller lit up the SiriusXM universe with a tirade which would have embarrassed my colleague, Howard Stern.
As it is, the “Gentleman” in Gerry Cooney blushed.
Wilder doesn't run in the ring and he didn't back off from Miller. He tore into “Big Baby.” What ensued for the next 12 minutes can best be described as “radio mayhem.” Get the kids away from the radio!
Their verbal toe-to-toe was the talk of the boxing world the following day. It can be heard by subscribers to SiriusXM simply by replaying it On Demand or on the SiriusXM app.
Miller was so exciting that he was invited back to the SiriusXM studios days later, to be a part of one of the extremely popular Shade 45 shows.
“Everybody wants me!” said Miller. “I am breathing new life into the heavyweight division. I am going to win one belt, then another. I want to keep going and unify all the belts.”
The only thing is, Deontay Wilder has said he wants to do the same thing. IBF champion Anthony Joshua has also echoed that, and so has Tyson Fury.
“It's only a matter of time,” said Miller. “Over the next few months, these guys will run out of opponents—legitimate opponents. I will be waiting. I ain't a blown-up cruiserweight like Haye. I ain't a used up punching bag, like Chisora. I ain't 75-years old, like Briggs. I'm young. I'm big. I'm hard-hitting. I'm for real.”
It's been a quarter-century since Brooklyn had itself a homegrown, world-class heavyweight. In fact, back then, Brooklyn had three of them: Mike Tyson, Riddick Bowe and Shannon Briggs.
Now, as two of them watch and cheer from ringside in retirement and as a third one clings onto his heavyweight dreams with YouTube videos and chants of “Let's Go, Champ!” Jarrell “Big Baby” Miller is the heavyweight division's newest catalyst for excitement.
He may not have to wait too long or at the end of a long line of contenders and pretenders for his title shot. If Miller keeps running his mouth, the champions will all be lining up instead, hoping to give “Big Baby” the discipline they all feel he so rightly deserves and so richly has coming to him.
RANDY'S RINGSIDE: All of us in the sport of boxing in New York State are sweating it out, waiting to see what the answer will be as to the state's proposal of mandating a $1 million insurance policy on the head of every fighter on every fight card inside the Empire State. If this insurance policy is approved by lawmakers, the New York State Athletic Commission will have no choice but to demand that every promoter begin insuring fighters who compete in New York State with a $1 million policy. To that, you can expect promoters to watch New York State disappear from their rear view mirror as they head up I-95 to Foxwoods and the Mohegan Sun and down the Garden State Parkway to Atlantic City, which is begging–pleading–for boxing's return and will roll out the red carpet to promoters and fight fans. Let's hold our collective breath and see what happens in the next few weeks. If this policy goes through, and doesn't get tweaked, no fighter will ever again be injured in New York State. That's because there will be no boxing in New York State. The lawmakers will have killed it! By the way, the death of boxing will only lead to the sport going “underground” and being contested illegally. But that's a story for another day!…Keep your eyes on Long Island Super Middleweight Vincenzo D'Angelo. The former NYGG champ, who comes from a family of MMA practitioners, is 2-0 as a pro and has some real talent. D'Angelo is a right-hander who boxes as a southpaw. He has crushing power in both fists and is also quite-gifted defensively. He is a gym rat and a true prospect to watch…Trainer Joe Higgins, who operates Long Island's Freeport Boxing Club, has an array of young talent under his fatherly tutelage. Two of his fighters to watch are welterweight Tyrone James and junior middleweight Patrick Day. James is 3-0 while Day is 12-2-1 …Heather Hardy and Shelly Vincent turned into everything I thought it would—and much more. I have seen hundreds of female bouts, but their's was the greatest one I have ever witnessed, and I've seen them all, including the greatest names in female boxing history: Marion “Lady Tyger” Trimiar…Christy Martin…Mia St. John…Maureen Shea…Laila Ali…Kathy Collins…Ann Wolfe…the Serrano sisters…Sonya Lamonakis…Ronica Jeffrey and Lucia Rijker. I even promoted one of Rijker's fights when I was the Director of Boxing at the Foxwoods Casino. None of those ladies were ever in the two-sided shootout that Hardy and Vincent gave us. Hopefully, Lou DiBella, who promotes bpth Hardy and Vincent, can interest a network like ESPN or Showtime to telecast a rematch between these two amazing athletes, both who have stories you can turn into documentaries. By the way, Hardy did not win a “hometown decision,” as I have heard uttered more than once. All three judges for the fight were from out of state (Nevada, New Jersey and Pennsylvania). It was the Pennsylvania judge (Bernard Bruni)–who scored it a questionable 99-91 for Hardy. Even Hardy herself questioned that score. Regardless, a rematch is in order. Hopefully, it can get made. Hopefully, it will get made and put on TV!…The Ring 10 Awards Dinner was set to take place on September 10 at the beautiful Crest Hollow Country Club in Woodbury, Long Island. The recipients of this year's awards would be promoter J. Russell Peltz (“Steve Acunto Lifetime Dedication Award”); Ed Post (“Jose Torres Renaissance Man Award”); Sammy Viruet (“Wayne Kelly Top Referee Award”); Randall “Tex” Cobb (“Steve Belloise Top Contender Award”); Ron Ross (“Bert Sugar Historian Award”).