It's not usually about how many times you get knocked down, but about how many times you get up, dust your self off, and get back to fighting.
To that end, boxing will be seeing Jarrell “Big Baby” Miller, the charismatic and controversial ultra-heavyweight on active duty again, soon. Miller has signed on with Bob Arum's Top Rank, and will debut for that promotion. When? TBA. It could come in March, or later, and he will likely top a card, against what sort of level of opposition still TBD.
Miller (23-0-1; age 31) last fought on Nov. 17, 2018, stopping Top 30 type Bogdan Dinu. The world was his oyster when he signed to meet Anthony Joshua on June 1, 2019…But the oyster clammed shut when he popped for PED usage, three different chemicals. He was yanked from the card, Andy Ruiz got the gig, and a $9 million purse drizzled down the drain.
Yes, the harshest knockdown Miller has experienced. (He'd popped positive before, in 2014, while kickboxing, so this isn't new territory for him.) He'd have been fighting for a $9 million or so dollar purse, in Manhattan, with a chance to, well, do what Ruiz did. Instead, popping for GW1516 (see USADA explanation of the drug below)….
…and HGH (see USADA description of drug below)…
…and also EPO (see WADA's take on the drug below)…
…left him on the shelf, and scrambling to explain himself. Miller said a tainted supplement was to blame for the GW1516 presence, and said he/his people sent supplements to a lab, to determine which brand contained that the chemical known variously as GW1516, GW501516, endurbol or Cardarine. It has a reputation in certain circles for being utilized to boost stamina and endurance. As for the EPO and HGH, Miller explained that those chemicals were in his body because he received treatment for an ailing elbow. “A proprietary blend for the symptoms for my elbow” is what he told Marcos Villegas of Fight Hub on Bad Left Hook.
To my knowledge, no proof has been furnished regarding that supposedly tainted supplement, and Miller's creds would be helped if proof were laid out. Same goes for the elbow treatment; if Miller received a “doctor's note” attesting to a defined and understandable reason for EPO and HGH being in his blood-stream, some fans who care about such matters would feel more comfortable.
I messaged Miller's new manager, James Prince, to talk about his stance on how to handle those PED positives moving forward, and will insert his response to the Miller infractions, reported in April 2019, if wishes to weigh in.
Moving forward, it isn't yet clear what hurdles Miller will have to hop to get re-licensed. The 6-4, 300 pounder will be asked to explain those PED positives if he wants to fight in Las Vegas, or New York, or in most all jurisdictions with credible commissions. Miller wasn't suspended by any commission, but he was denied a license when he applied to re-up his license in NY. (Licenses to fight need to be re-upped every year in NY.) He'd have to satisfy the commission in NY before they granted him a license to boxing in that state.
NOTE: Personally speaking, I like the heavyweight division better with Miller in it. He's a good talker and has a better personality than most fighters. Ideally, I'd like a CLEAN Miller performing, and hope he and his team feel the same way, and go out of their way to make clear he is abiding by any and all rules and regulations in play to try and keep 1) the fields of competition even and 2) humans from ingesting exotic compounds, with possibly severe after-effects, to try and gain a competitive edge over a foe.
Here is the release Top Rank sent out, touting the deal:
(Jan. 29, 2020) — Jarrell “Big Baby” Miller, the big-talking, undefeated, 300-plus-pound heavyweight who hails from Brooklyn, has signed a multi-fight promotional deal with Top Rank. Miller, who is co-promoted by Greg Cohen Promotions and Salita Promotions, will make his Top Rank on ESPN debut in 2020.
“Jarrell Miller is serious about coming back, doing things the right way and becoming heavyweight champion of the world,” said Top Rank chairman Bob Arum. “He is one of boxing’s most unique and exciting characters, but most importantly, he can fight.”
“Minor setback for a major comeback. I’m coming for everything and everyone. No one is safe. Say hello to the bad guy,” Miller said. “Everyone wants to portray the superhero. We don’t live in a sunshine world. I’ll never be the superhero. In my world, the majority of the time, the villain wins.”
“I couldn’t be happier that after months of hard work and perseverance, we were able to make this deal a reality,” said Greg Cohen, CEO of Greg Cohen Promotions. “Top Rank is the perfect partner and ESPN the perfect platform for Jarrell to realize his full potential and become the dominant force in the heavyweight division. Time for Big Baby to get back in the ring!”
“Top Rank was my first promoter when I was fighting, so I know firsthand that Bob Arum and his team will create the right opportunities for Jarrell,” said Dmitriy Salita, President of Salita Promotions. “Top Rank promotes many of the top heavyweights, including Tyson Fury, and Jarrell fits right in with all of the big names in the division. Since I started promoting Jarrell as a six-round fighter, I have been saying that he would be the next heavyweight champion from Brooklyn. Working with Top Rank, I am confident he will have the chance to realize that goal.”
Miller (23-0-1, 20 KOs) is one of boxing’s most polarizing figures, a combination-punching heavyweight who also went 22-2 as a professional kickboxer. Under the Marquess of Queensberry rules, he has won 19 consecutive bouts since a four-round draw in his fifth professional fight. From 2017-2018, he rose the ranks with dominant wins over Gerald Washington, Mariusz Wach, Johann Duhaupas and Tomasz Adamek, all of whom had previously challenged for a heavyweight world title. He last fought in November 2018, knocking out Bogdan Dinu in four rounds.
Miller signed to fight Anthony Joshua at Madison Square Garden for the unified heavyweight title last June, but he failed multiple VADA tests and was denied a license by the New York State Athletic Commission. Now, armed with a new long-term deal, Miller is determined to reclaim his status as one of the world's best big men.