Promoter Dmitriy Salita counters Jarrell Miller jibe
Jarrell Miller, the ultra-jumbo heavyweight hitter who is sidelined for testing PED-positive, ahead of his planned June 1 tussle with Anthony Joshua at Madison Square Garden, took on a fighting stance Monday.
The Brooklyn-bred pugilist, who holds a 23-0-1 record, spoke to Ryan Songalia, and shared that he was interested in getting back to the ring… soon.
The 31-year-old, whose fanbase is largely made up of converts who came to appreciate his in-ring volume and outside the ring loquacity, went from cloud nine to some dark depths in mid-to-late April, after HGH, EPO and GW1516 came up in Miller’s VADA samples.
The title opportunity on the world’s preeminent stage for a fighter, Madison Square Garden’s big room, would have netted him a purse of approximately $7 million and it went to Andy Ruiz Jr.
Ruiz, also chubby but with a humble persona, took the short-notice assignment and made the most of it, halting Joshua in seven rounds. Miller sat, sidelined, humbled, and had the opportunity to offer a mea culpa.
On Monday, Miller threw a combo all right, but at a teammate, instead of a foe. Miller told Songalia he’s working to free himself from his promotional relationship with Dmitriy Salita, the New York-based promoter who took on the former kickboxer before he was even a prospect in pugilism.
“I think Dmitriy, he’s not for the fighter, he’s about himself with his money in his pockets. That’s not where I want to be,” said Miller, who is co-promoted by Greg Cohen Promotions. “I love the sport of boxing, so if I make a mistake in this game, I want to own up to it and fix where I went wrong. That’s what I’m doing. I want to be with a promoter that’s not only about the fight but, ethically, is just a good person.”
Salita didn’t want to comment at that time, but those around him say he was stung, saddened, hurt and a bit angered by the Miller hit.
But on Wednesday, the ex-fighter, who also promotes Claressa Shields, and whose stable is regularly featured on all the top screening platforms, responded. His tone was measured with no elevated decibel level, but you could sense that he felt impacted by the harsh Miller critique:
“Jarrell is under exclusive promotional agreement to Salita Promotions and Greg Cohen Promotions. I have been working with Jarrell since the very early stages of his career. It took a tremendous amount of hard work and strategic planning to get Jarrell lined up to fight Anthony Joshua for the heavyweight title in his hometown of NYC, and he would have received a career-high payday,” Salita told me. “With all my fighters, it is my goal to help them reach their greatest success both in the ring and financially. It’s a tireless commitment and, as a promoter, I made the choice to do this job with a total commitment to each boxer individually and with complete dedication.”
Salita didn’t respond when I noted that Miller’s launch at him came as a surprise to me, being that he had publicly defended Jarrell after the PED positives. He stood behind Miller, telling me that he wanted to see the situation play out; let the case play out over time, and he wanted to withhold judgement. From what I saw and heard, he stood behind the fighter.
Regarding Miller’s status as an active boxer; he will likely need to accept and pay for random testing, 24-7, before he’s able to secure fights in the U.S. There is no word on whether he’s started that process as yet. His “explanations” regarding how he came to test positive for three different chemicals have been met with universal scorn. (Click at 13:36 to hear boxing analyst Jonathan Leir, who comes from a powerlifting background, weigh in on the plausibility of some fighter’s responses to testing positive.) In order to bolster his contention that he didn’t knowingly take banned chemicals to get a competitive advantage, Miller would need to furnish the supplement, which he has maintained activated a PED positive from his sample. The self-styled “Big Baby” referring to the supposed ethical shortcomings of the promoter, who’d been instrumental in landing him a world title fight and a lottery-ticket payday, drew wide-eyed glances from many fight game insiders.
Salita reiterated to me that Miller, who hasn’t met with any sanctioning body or state commission to discussing being re-licensed, is contracted to GCP and Salita Promotions presently, so if the boxer were discussing a promotional deal with anyone else, that may not be a judicious use of time.