Thursday, June 08, 2023  |


‘Big Baby’ Jarrell Miller is BIG, indeed

Fighters Network
Jarrell Miller (right) and Fred Kassi weigh in for their Friday clash on

Jarrell Miller (left) and Fred Kassi weigh in for their Friday clash on “ShoBox.” Photo credit: Rosie Cohe/Showtime

“They” usually have something to say, when you are down or you are up. “Their” instincts are unerring, their judgement flawless; if only people would listen to the wisdom dispensed by the sideline sages of social media, then those being critiqued by the shrewd folk with the bravery that comes from being out of range.

Jarrell “Big Baby” Miller hears from the shrewd souls, who snipe at him, sometimes albeit in a well-meaning manner and, in others, with less good intent. Trim down, “they” say; get down with Jenny Craig and then you will REALLY excel.

Miller, a 28-year-old Brooklyner (17-0-1, 15 knockouts) who headlines “ShoBox” Friday night, against Fred Kassi (18-5-1, 10 KOs), has heard it all. He’s listened and did an experiment. A while back, he seriously laid off the cheeseburgers, he told me on the Everlast set at the Tuesday taping of my podcast “TALKBOX.”

He dropped 10, 20 pounds, more. “And I didn’t feel right,” he told us. Legs didn’t feel right, punching power didn’t feel right.

“I’ve been cutting back on the cheeseburgers,” he maintained Tuesday. If he ramped up on other caloric delights, he didn’t say, though we present noted he didn’t eat a single Munchkin (the Dunkin Donuts mini-treat, that is. No dwarves/little people were harmed in the production of this podcast) available from catering.  On Thursday, “Big Baby” – and you can hear on the pod how he got the nickname – weighed in at 296 1/2 pounds ahead of his Rochester rumble, which is being promoted by Dmitriy Salita. (The ShoBox quadruple-header starts at 10 p.m. ET/ PT.)

The fighter, ranked in the Top 10 of the IBF, WBA and WBO, and I discussed the weight issue Tuesday and spoke of George Foreman, the original Burger-Meister, who made no apologies about being beefy and bad. Foreman too said he liked how he felt when super-jumbo sized, rather than merely beefy.

Salita, who found the rough diamond two years ago and signed him to a contract, declares, “Now Jarrell is ready to shine.” He doesn’t seem overly worried that Miller is 10 1/2 pounds more than ever before. “He definitely has superstar potential; he can be the face of heavyweight division. And he has ability to be a crossover star. He wants to fight the best in the division. Line ’em up!”

My take: The conventional wisdom is a Miller-sized athlete would be better suited lighter. Maybe so. Or maybe the guy is the best judge of how his body best functions. One certainty: If he can progress and beat some of those starry sorts he’s calling out, and he does it while super-sized, a burger joint endorsement deal is a lock.


And maybe – just maybe – we’ll see “Big Babys” cropping up where “Big Boys” used to stand. Now who knows if the relatively lithe Michael Woods would eat there but rock-solid copy editor Coyote Duran most certainly would. (His mother’s side ensures a delightfully girlish figure, no matter what.)