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Anthony Joshua vs. Jarrell Miller: Who wins and how?

15
Feb

On June 1, Brit Anthony Joshua will make his long-awaited debut in the U.S., and he will be matched up against the best trash-talker in the heavyweight division, Jarrell “Big Baby” Miller.

Miller talks a helluva game but hasn’t yet been afforded the opportunity to prove he fights at the same level he talks. At Madison Square Garden, he will be able to prove naysayers wrong and send a message of posivity to all the big-boned citizens in our nation.

The 300-pound Miller holds a 23-0-1 (20 KOs) record and will stride to the ring as his promoter Dmitriy Salita beams proudly — Salita, but of course, believes in the Brooklyn born pugilist … but pundits are holding a mixed bag of opinions regarding Miller’s chances. He simply hasn’t been put in with a fighter nearly as talented as the 22-0 (21 KOs) Joshua, they’ll tell you.

But the 29-year-old AJ, a multi-belt titlist, hasn’t fought such a massive man who can throw crazy volume at him.

Yes, there is a spirited debate regarding who wins Joshua vs. Miller, and how.

Chew on these takes from pundits while we count down to the June 1 faceoff, which will screen on DAZN:

 

Hamza Ahmed, analyst, NYFights.com: “Joshua is the clear favorite in this fight. He has the pedigree, the experience, the know-how, the technical advantages, and we know more of Joshua than we do of Miller. There’s still question marks around Big Baby, but he does hold one ace over Joshua and that is he has a better engine. He also has less wear and tear and comes forward with a purpose. But can he take a shot? Does he have the X-factor to catch and shock Joshua? Does he have enough dynamite to send Joshua back to that dark place he visited against Klitschko? Miller weighs over 300 pounds, but he’s never been hit clean on the whiskers. The other point of concern is Miller loves to get inside — that’s where he can do his best work — but the thing is, Joshua simply loves the inside. It’s home for his short and compact hooks and uppercuts.

I don’t think Joshua’s power is all the media makes it out to be. I’ve noticed he’s morphing from a come-forward, brute puncher to a more patient, back-foot boxer with more selection on his shots, more patience, more poise, and this transformation is happening at the expense of his power. I think if Miller can take it to Round 9-ish still in the fight (not knocked down, with 2/3 rounds in the bank etc.), he’s got the chance of a lifetime to discourage/upset Joshua through superior workrate and conditioning. But I’m going to stick with my head this time and say after a hard-fought fight, Joshua finds a home for his uppercuts on the inside, hurting a brave and spirited Miller and forcing the ref to step in just before Joshua’s gas tank begins to deplete. My pick is Joshua TKO in 9.”

 

Bernd Bonte, executive with Team Klitschko: “AJ is too good and experienced for Miller. Besides, Miller’s footwork is too slow and his punching power is overrated. AJ inside eight rounds by knockout.”

Brin-Jonathan Butler, author: “AJ KO early.”

Robert Diaz, matchmaker, Golden Boy Promotions: “Heavyweights are always exciting, as all it takes is one big one and asleep goes the opponent. The long-awaited debut in the USA for AJ. How real is Big Baby? Many questions will be answered. Fun fight, as you have two big heavies in there. With that said, expect a sensational debut for AJ as he knocks out Big Baby in the seventh. I can’t wait for the post press conference, as that will be just as exciting, hahahahahah.”

Photo by Ed Diller / DiBella Entertainment

Lou DiBella, NY-based promoter: “AJ is obviously the percentage play, but Big Baby is a live dog. If the big boy can hurt AJ, he’ll win. From a player’s standpoint, will get a nice price on Miller inside the distance. My bet wouldn’t be as heavy as Miller, though.”

Kathy Duva, boss at Main Events promotions: “AJ, of course! Yes. Very easy. Three rounds.”

George Foreman, living legend: “The Big Baby is a good body-puncher. If he stays focused on the body, he might drop AJ. Too many rounds to get a KO. So I lean to AJ winning over 12 rounds.”

John Gatling, analyst, NYFights.com: “For starters, this upcoming June tilt is a very good fight and a great promotion, as we can already see. The charismatic, ostentatious Jarrell ‘Big Baby’ Miller was well worth the trip overseas for Eddie Hearn to scoop up and sign in late 2017. I had a chance to size up Miller in many ways before, during and after his October 2017 face-off at Nassau Coliseum with Poland’s Maruisz Wach, who looked like he’d just stepped off the set of 1979’s Moonraker as Jaws. Wach had a lot of the same measurables as Joshua with his 6-foot-7 height and 82-inch reach, and I was curious to see what the game’s version of a BB King would do against the long and largely immovable Pole. Miller didn’t look good, admittedly, and vowed to show the world he’d be ready to end all of the AJ vs. ‘Bomb Squad!’ talk rather emphatically in future performances. After wins over Johann Duhaupas, Tomas Adamek and Bogdan Dinu, I’m not convinced he can do that. While styles make fights, it is substance that wins them — in addition to intangibles like pedigree and/or strength of opposition. That all decidedly favors the much more nuanced and demonstrably more polished AJ, who became both a man and ‘Da Man’ when he rose from the depths to drown long-reigning undisputed champion Wladimir Klitschko in April 2017. Joshua is also a far-superior athlete in terms of physical fitness and ring mechanics. I’m guessing the referee (let’s hope it’s the hilarious Steve Willis) will rescue the former kickboxer somewhere around the eighth round.”         

 

Jack Hirsch, ex-BWAA president, writer for Boxing News: “Put me in the minority, but I think that Big Baby’s relentless pressure will wear AJ down and he’ll stop him late. Miller’s weight advantage will play a big role in the fight.

Peter Kahn, manager: “My prediction: Miller’s best chances are early. If Miller can’t find a way to bully AJ and close the distance, providing the best chance to find heavy and clean shots early (as in the first four rounds), AJ will adapt to Miller’s timing and use the jab to set up big shots that will eventually wear down Miller. The athletic Miller will need to come with a strong boxing plan to mitigate AJ’s offense. I feel that although we’ll see some early fireworks like AJ encountered against Dillian Whyte, AJ has the higher boxing IQ and has faced the better level of opposition. The magnitude of the moment will affect Miller more than AJ. AJ by decision or late stoppage in rounds 11 or 12.”

Photo: Twitter @HBOboxing

Ron Katz, matchmaker, Star Boxing: “Very interesting fight. I’m not totally sold yet on AJ, although he is a very good fighter. But Klitschko was able to exploit his defensive weaknesses. Can Miller do the same? That remains to be seen. Big guys like Miller always pose problems, especially when they have the talent to go along with their size. Guys like Tony Tubbs and Buster Mathis were always tough outs, and Miller is bigger than both. Miller has not fought anyone near the level of Joshua, so it will be interesting to see if he can up his game. If Jarrell can sustain over the course of the match, he will make things quite difficult for Anthony. It should be a fan-friendly fight for sure.”

Jim Lampley, Hall of Famer blow by blow man: “I believe Miller is skilled enough to create a puzzle for AJ but doesn’t hit hard enough to beat him. Joshua will land the more destructive blows throughout and prevail by UD.”

Greg Leon, manager/journalist, BoxingTalk.com: “Jarrell Miller by unanimous decision. AJ is the favorite for a reason, and I wouldn’t be shocked if he clipped Big Baby early, but if he doesn’t, it’s going to be a long night for AJ at MSG. As impossible as this may sound based on his appearance, Miller is the hungrier fighter and I see him outworking Joshua over the distance and resting 320 pounds of ‘Miller time’ on AJ every chance he gets.”

Frank Lotierzo, analyst, ex-fighter: “AJ, as the odds indicate, should be a big favorite over Big Baby Miller. He does everything better and is more technically sound. Stylistically, Miller, being a guy who moves to his opponent, will need a granite chin, because bringing it to AJ is near suicide. It’ll be interesting to see how Miller reacts after sampling some of Joshua’s power to the head and body. I think it’ll go about nine rounds, but it could go the distance, because my intuition tells me Miller is durable and no joke. Sort of a poor man’s version of the older George Foreman. AJ will win and look good, but it’s not automatic for him.”

Kelsey McCarson, analyst, Gambling.com: “Miller was a really excellent kickboxer. In fact, the only two losses of his professional kickboxing career came against Mirko Cro Cop, one of the better kickboxers in recent memory. But none of these things will matter when he fights unified heavyweight champion Joshua in a boxing ring. The 29-year-old from London will have all the physical and stylistic advantages. He’s a better boxer. He hits harder. He has the better pedigree. What will unfold then will be what happens any time a pretty good kickboxer faces a great boxer. Joshua will bide his time early with jabs and pick up the pace later to stop Miller somewhere after the middle of the fight.”

Photo by Lawrence Lustig

Carl Moretti, executive at Top Rank: “AJ. Easy. Big Miller is just BIG.”

Gabe Oppenheim, analyst, Gabewords: “Joshua KO 10 — Big Baby has a good chin but not good enough to take Joshua’s power all night. Miller fights with the stance of kickboxer. He’ll be out of position, squared-up and susceptible to a AJ’s shots the moment the first bell rings. It’ll only go 10 because of Miller’s aforementioned ability to withstand punishment and Joshua’s inactivity in the first two rounds as he studies Miller in depth while remaining out of range. Too much is on the line for Joshua for him to charge his opponent early and risk getting caught. That hesitation, in anticipation of a megabout with Wilder or Fury, will make him duller, more conservative. But it’s probably the correct strategy.”

Robbi Paterson, analyst, based in Scotland: “BIG Baby Miller sure is a man-mountain, but hold it … 6-foot-4 guys who weigh over 300 pounds aren’t meant to be busy or quick-handed; they should be limited lumps who come packaged with gassing-out issues, are slow from head to toe and punch with a moderate output. Miller rips up that script. Joshua in his last fight looked pedestrian against Povetkin, who brought dimensions into the ring that included squatting down to adjust his height, looping hooks, coming in at angles and only letting his hands go when he deemed it necessary. Calculated. Povetkin gave Joshua a new look, and the Londoner hardly looked convincing until he clocked the Russian during the seventh with a beautifully timed, short right hand that spelled the beginning of the end for the Russian only moments later.

But rest assured, Miller’s style should — in theory, anyway — give Joshua’s offense a platform that Povetkin’s didn’t, one to shine upon for however long the fight lasts. Miller will gamble by storming forward, looking to get up close and unsettle the champion with his physicality and high punch volume. It’s imperative he rolls the dice and employs a game called suffocation. Waiting on the outside would be a definite no-no. However, he will be giving Joshua a head start by trying to play such a game, because with a bit movement here and there and keeping the Brooklynite at range, AJ can catch Miller as he’s forcing the issue. What separates this fight from being either a massacre or a competitive fight is whether or not Miller can withstand Joshua’s power. All said and done, I expect a bit of both, with BIG Baby, after a gallant effort, crying on his knees somewhere during the mid- to late rounds.”

Abel Sanchez, trainer to GGG: “AJ should win. His whiskers have been a question for me, but I also don’t think we have seen a well-conditioned, in shape, good weight and determined Miller. I have to say it’s a 60-40 fight for AJ.”

Lem Satterfield, writer with PBC:  “I’m going to go with the upset. I think if Jarrell  Miller can smother Anthony Joshua and get inside, not exhaust himself, he can win an ugly fight by decision. He will get hit, but he will need to keep the big shots at a minimum. So I’m going with the upset — Baby Miller becomes the new heavyweight champion in his home state, by decision.”

Marcos Villegas, videographer, Fight Hub: “AJ wins via stoppage in around 8-10 rounds.”

Anson Wainwright, RingTV writer: “You have to like Joshua. Miller ticks a lot of boxes: One of the best talkers in the sport at the moment, he will bring the heat and make for a terrific sound bite leading into the fight. In some ways, this could be like when Naseem Hamed came to New York and fought Kevin Kelley in December 1997. Miller is a big old lump and will try to bring it, but I don’t feel he has the skill-set to beat Joshua. Early, Miller’s decided weight advantage may allow him to have the odd success, but I think Joshua takes him to deep water and stops him in the second half of the fight. Joshua TKO 8.”

 

And now you … Who wins and how, Joshua vs Miller, June 1 in NYC? Talk to me.

 

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