Rising Heavyweight contender Jarrell “Big Baby” Miller (18-0-1, 16 KOs) will return to the ring following a self-imposed hiatus which lasted nearly a year to take on former world-title challenger Gerald Washington (18-1-1, 12 KOs) on the Adrien Broner vs. Mikey Garcia undercard July 29 at Brooklyn’s Barclay Center.
Highlights of the bout will air during the live Showtime telecast, which also includes a Middleweight title eliminator bout between Jermall Charlo and Jorge Sebastian Heiland.
Miller is one of the more colorful characters in the Heavyweight division and his seven-consecutive knockouts have backed up his boisterous comments. In his last bout, Miller weighed in at nearly 300 pounds as he pounded Fred Kassi to a third-round TKO on Showtime’s popular ShoBox: The New Generation series. Now the Brooklynite will appear at Barclays Center for the first time in his burgeoning career.
“I’ve wanted to fight at Barclays Center for a longtime and finally we’re here,” said Miller by phone. “Showtime is guiding my career really well and I’m just ready to show up.”
Miller is currently ranked No. 5 by the WBO and No. 7 by the WBA and for being out of action since August of last year, few would have criticized Miller if he wanted to mix it up with an easier foe to get the ring rust off. Instead Miller will face the 6’6″ Washington who in his previous outing was stopped by WBC Heavyweight champion, Deontay Wilder.
“Washington’s chin can get hit and it’s going to be even easier for me,” said Miller.
“In multiple fights he gets gassed by the fifth round and Deontay was the first one to put him away, but fighters are born not made. I was made for this sport. Washington played football and sucked at that now he’s trying boxing, and after I knock him out he will see that he sucks in boxing and will go do something else.”
Although Miller has fought in Brooklyn twice previously, including the time he opened the Paramount Theater in 2015 with an explosive knockout victory over Damon McCreary, he is excited about fighting at Barclays which in recent years has emerged as a big stage for world class boxing in the United States.
Miller believes his experience in his former profession as pro kickboxer will prepare him for the bright lights of Barclays.
“I fought in front of more fans than Gerald Washington,” points out Miller. “The biggest crowd he fought in front of was against Deontay Wilder. Okay. I fought in K1 in the Tokyo Dome in front of 30,000. I fought in Croatia in front of 20,000 people. I fought top level guys. This is nothing new to me.”
Although Wilder stopped Washington inside of five rounds, Miller said he will not feel any additional pressure to look even better than Wilder did with the same opponent.
“There’s no added pressure because I try to knock everyone out,” said Miller. “I put pressure on myself in training so there is no pressure fight night.”
While Miller was inactive for 11 months he claims he stayed in shape by continuing to work out while dealing with a promotional dispute.
“I wasn’t active in a boxing ring, but I was exercising my mental muscle getting certain things ready for my return for the physical,” said Miller of the layoff.
“People might think it’s something bad but I think it was a good thing to get things in order business-wise. It was something that needed to happen. It happened, it’s over with now and we are ready to get back in the ring to mix it up with these guys.”
Miller was vocal on social media last year claiming he was no longer happy with his promotional agreement with Dmitriy Salita.
Salita was one of the first to discover Miller’s boxing talent and stood by the 6’4″ fellow Brooklyn native, highlighting him on Salita’s ultra-popular Brooklyn Brawl series until changes in insurance requirements made it virtually impossible for smaller shows to exist in New York.
“I used to always say Jarrell was the best Heavyweight prospect in the world,” said Salita. “Now I say he’s the best Heavyweight in the world period and on July 29 in front of his friends, fans and family he will be one step closer to reaching his dream of being the world Heavyweight champion, which is the most prized award in all of sports.”
Miller remained complimentary of Salita during the time the two were trying to work out a deal to get Miller back in the ring.
“Me and Salita worked out a co-promotion deal,” said Miller. “This is the type of deal usually only world champions get. I now have my own promotional company. I work for my own damn self. Sometimes you have to give a little to take a little, but we would still be in court today if both sides didn’t agree and bend to make a deal. He [Salita] seen the bigger picture and I saw the bigger picture and thanks to my branding manager and publicist Alvina Alston we were able to come up with game plan to get us back to the table and work out the deal we have now.”
During his time away from the ring, Miller spent time in Miami with Floyd Mayweather who helped the 28-year-old think about the boxing business globally.
“I’m getting in the ring for my family and for myself not to make a promoter pockets fat or anyone else’s pocket fat,” said Miller.
“I’m doing it for myself, that is what is going to motivate me even more because I’m now getting the majority of the benefit because I’m the one taking the dangerous risks. Floyd told me if you jump in the ring for anyone else that is when you can get hurt. He said you have to find ways to keep motivating yourself and to learn the business because after all, this is a business.”
Miller believes by this time next year he will be a world champion and will see the Heavyweight division as being wide open right now.
“I don’t see Hughie Fury beating Joseph Parker and if he does he won’t keep the title for longer than a half a bag of skittles. Wlad didn’t do anything after he had AJ hurt and as for Wilder, instead of fighting guys in the top five he stays fighting guys in the top 20, so unless they all keep running away from me I will be the world champion,” said Miller.
Miller sees the stage on the Broner-Garcia undercard as a way to raise his profile beyond the New York boxing fans.
“I’ve had a million fights in Brooklyn before,” said Miller. “Only difference this time it’s inside a building with a ring and the police can’t arrest me for beating someone up.”