Monday, March 20, 2023  |


Luis Ortiz-Jarrell Miller heavyweight clash in talks

Photo by Rosie Cohe / Showtime

This one isn’t DONE but if it gets there, it will be FUN.

I am not so cheeky as to say tons of fun, but a Luis Ortiz versus Jarrell “Big Baby” Miller face-off, slated for April or May, perhaps at Barclays Center, is in the serious talks stage.

Big Baby is a Brooklyner, already one of the 10 best talkers in boxing, and can crack more than a little bit. The Cuban-born Ortiz can also crack, and has an XL reservoir of basic skills which make him a tough out for anybody. This would be a solid showcase showdown.

“We like it,” said Miller’s co-manager Steve Nelson. “We think highly of Ortiz, and know he has experience. But Jarrell can crack and we don’t think it comes down to experience…”

Eddie Hearn promotes Ortiz and Nelson thought maybe Hearn wanted to place this one as a co-feature underneath the Wembley extravaganza that will be the April 29 Anthony Joshua heavyweight title defense against Wladimir Klitschko. Nelson was in theory good with that but nah, Hearn sees it as a feature attraction.

Miller is 28, charismatic as hell, maybe in the Top 5 as smack talkers in the pugilism sphere. He’s 18-0-1 and yes, Ortiz is a full step and a half up from anything he’s tangoed with, on paper. He would like a title crack now, against WBO titlist Joseph Parker, but a win over “King Kong” would make his momentum for whatever came next heavy duty.

He can weigh up to almost 300 pounds on fight night, so he does hear from some of the fight-writers-cum-nutritionists that he should campaign at 250 or less, but at 6-foot-4 he carries the weight as well as can be. Ortiz is a jumbo, too. Listed as 37 years old, he is a forward mover who don’t come to dance. His beard looks sturdy as concrete and a win over the late arriving contender makes Miller the hottest of rising stars. Because, remember this…there is the heavyweight division in boxing and then everything else is a step back in prominence. The excitement you see with Joshua/Klitschko ticket selling is testament, if you need it. Add the amusing and not untalented and Brooklyn based Miller to the mix and you have a big, no, very effin big building block into the makings of a bangup year for boxing.