Can Jarrell Miller become an American heavyweight star?
NEW YORK — Jarrell Miller can talk with the best of them.
Scratch that, he might be the most loquacious trash-talker in the game right now. His riffs are hilarious and delivered timely.
He possesses charisma in bunches, good looks and a welcoming smile. He’s always ready to chat, too, and “Big Baby,” as he’s affectionately known, will quickly tell you he’s ready to take over the heavyweight division.
There’s no doubt that if you spend a few minutes with him, you’ll walk away with all the confidence in the world he possesses the necessary ingredients to be a star in boxing’s glamour division. Well, all the qualities but one: just how well can he really fight?
Miller (18-0-1, 15 knockouts) has the size at 6-foot-4 and about 280 pounds, depending on the fight, and he’s packed a big punch so far. He swarms his opponents and wings big shots in an attempt to lay waste to his foes, much like Mike Tyson, a fellow Brooklynite.
But to date, Miller’s opponents have been incredibly ordinary. Showtime is squarely behind him, and will stream his Saturday bout against Gerald Washington on both Facebook and YouTube. The network is surely hoping it’s his coming out party before his hometown fans at Barclays Center, but make no mistake: Washington is a massive step-up.
We have no real idea how good Miller is — or could turn out to be — just yet. Saturday’s fight should give us all a better glimpse of his talent.
“I was born for this,” Miller told RingTV.com. “He’s playing football and failed at that. He was in the Navy, I don’t know what happened with that. All I’ve done my entire life is fight. My whole life. Only one way but up. I’ve paid my dues — 100 percent, man.”
The 29 year old has much to prove, though. He can start by knocking out Washington (18-1-1, 12 KOs), whose only loss came to Deontay Wilder in February. The former USC football player was finding much success, actually, before he was stopped in Round 5.
Miller realizes this fight will be used as a measuring stick against the WBC heavyweight champion, whom he’s called out over and over. But he’s also not foolish. After all, this is his first fight since an August stoppage of Fred Kassi on “ShoBox.” Miller has been on the shelf ever since amid issues with promoter Dmitry Salita, but that’s all squared away now.
“I’m going to go in there and do what the f— I have to do,” Miller rambled on. “I know it’s an 11-month layoff and there’s going to be some ring rust. I’m going to go in there and do what I gotta do. A win is a win. F— what you heard.”
The big man, who appeared noticeably trimmer from the the 296.5 pounds he weighed for his last bout, said he’s sparring with an Olympic silver medalist and other “hungry guys,” while Washington is “sparring guys that have three or four losses.” Whether that’s actually true, it’s clear Miller is supremely confident, as always.
And he knows: look good against Washington, and chatter will build to match Miller against a top guy like Wilder.
“He didn’t land no punches until Washington got tired,” he said of Wilder. “(The fight is) gonna happen. I have to make enough noise, though. It’s going to be a six- or seven-round knockout (on Saturday). I’m going to be relentless. I’m ready to take over, baby.”
The American boxing landscape is ready for “Big Baby” to take over, too.
Mike Coppinger is the Senior Writer for RingTV.com. Follow him on Twitter: @MikeCoppinger