Jerry Forrest will be fighting July 9 on ESPN, but no, it will not be against Jarrell “Big Baby Miller.
The Brooklyn bred fighter, who lost a career definer opportunity and payday last June when he tested PED positive for three different banned chemicals, looked to come back and show he was clean and mean on ESPN.
But his past was a prologue; on Saturday, word dropped that Miller tested positive for a steroid, and he got bumped from his planned comeback.
The 31 year old Miller (23-0-1) got booked against Forrest (26-3; born in Louisiana, living in Virginia), a solid test for a man who hadn't fought since November 2018, and had to deal with the mental strain of losing an approximately $9 purse for challenging Anthony Joshua at Madison Square Garden last June. Andy Ruiz subbed in for Miller and turned in a superb effort, stopping the Brit and setting himself up financially for the rest of his life.
The 6-4 ultra heavy hitter Miller turns 32 on July 15, and a triumph against Forrest, fighting on a card put together by new promoter Top Rank, would have been a sweet early birthday gift, setting him up back on a certain path. With his skill set, and personality, he'd get a title shot crack against someone, soon. As of now, Miller was not ranked high by any of the top sanctioning bodies, reflecting their sanctions against the pugilist for his history with performance enhancers.
Now, it is likely that powers that be will have their hand forced, if the situation plays out, and it is determined that a banned chemical was ingested. There will be immediate harsh rush to judgement, but more information needs to be ascertained before Miller's near future gets some clarity. Mike Coppinger Tweeted the news that Miller got red-flagged.
The testing was performed by VADA.
As for the heavyweight Forrest, his near future includes a fight. I messaged him Saturday afternoon, and asked if he'd heard the news. “Bro, I'm pissed, yes (Miller did test positive for a PED),” the fighter said. “But I'm still fighting.”
His promoter Lou DiBella told me that he was informed that Miller, the 300 pounder who spoke longingly of cheeseburgers and had the ability to generate attention with his trash-talking, tested positive at around 12 noon ET Saturday.
Yes, DiBella said, he's looking for Forrest to stay on the card July 9. Carlos Takam, the NY deal-maker said, could be a potential match for Forrest.
Someone from Top Rank told DiBella about the development, and that the presence of an “anabolic steroid” was detected, the 2020 International Boxing Hall of Fame entrant said.
Last April, Miller got flagged for having the banned substances GW1516 aka Endurobol in his system. That was originally formulated as an anti-obesity drug. Then Miller popped for human growth hormone (HGH), which increases lean body mass, according to bodybuilders. Last April, testers also found the presence of the endurance enhancer EPO, which boosts the number of red blood cells, and the transport of oxygen to the muscles.
Miller explained that those chemicals entered his system unknowingly, blaming a tainted supplement and also treatment for an elbow injury. Miller had taken a stance publicly regarding PEDs during interviews and press conferences before he secured the Joshua fight, and then once the Joshua fight was signed. He more than insinuated that AJ used chemical short cuts to gain an edge. “Nobody could have put on 20-pounds between winning the Olympics and his first pro fight the way Joshua did without taking something,” Miller said in February 2019. “Impossible.”
The ex kickboxer served a nine-month suspension from the California State Athletic Commission after testing positive for Dimethylamylamine, considered a stimulant, in 2014. So, some will argue that a PED positive now would constitute a third strike. Boxing doesn't have a uniform policy in handling doping, so typically state oversight agencies, and sanctioning bodies weigh in on bans, and such.
If there had been high hurdles for Miller to bear going in to this July battle, media had not been informed.
I reached out to a Miller publicity agent, and Millers' trainer Aureliano Sosa, to learn more about the matter, and will insert replies as furnished. Top Rank boss Bob Arum said he'd prefer not to offer lengthy comment, preferring to receive more detailed information, to gain clarity on the circumstances.
“We will follow the Nevada State Athletic Commission,” Arum said. “Miller is definitely off the July fight.”
One can imagine there won't be a shortage of people opining that Miller should receive a lifetime ban from boxing, which would be in effect in America. But again, we need to know more about the circumstances. A declaration, for example, that a PED positive came as a result of using a supplement that was mis-labeled, that would not pass muster with most, being that Miller needed to know that with two strikes against him, he needed to be ultra-careful about what he put in his body.
Forrest, on Saturday, pulled no punches. He'd made clear his stance on Miller, his PED history, in this interview, two weeks ago.
“Man, he is a cheater, bro,” Forrest told me Saturday. “Miller can't win without it bro. They created a scared guy into a monster and he is not that. I told y'all these guys are just people, we give them the power and when truth come knocking, you show who you are.”
––Michael Woods hosts the Everlast TALKBOX podcast and calls fights for the Facebook Fightnight Live series.