Jarrell Miller Q&A: Heavyweight talk with ‘Big Baby’
By Ian Aldous: On Saturday November 11th, undefeated Jarrell ‘Big Baby’ Miller (19-0-1), will battle former world heavyweight title challenger, Mariusz Wach (33-2), over ten rounds, live on HBO. The fight is the co-main event of Eddie Hearn’s debut card as a promoter in the U.S, headlined by Daniel Jacobs’ fight against Luis Arias. Last week, Miller took some time to chat with me over the phone about his upcoming fight and his thoughts on the other heavyweight champions and contenders.
IA: You’re fighting November 11th on Eddie Hearn and Matchroom Boxing’s first U.S show in New York. What are your thoughts on Mariusz Wach as an opponent?
JM: I think Mariusz is definitely a step up of opponent, in class. He’s definitely going to test my skills, but I already know what I’m capable of doing. I’m going to put on a show and do what I do best – and that’s kick butt!
IA: He’s lost his two biggest fights, and many experts will be predicting you to continue your unbeaten run. Do you feel much pressure, especially with it being on HBO?
JM: No, I don’t feel any pressure at all. Like I said before, I’ve fought in front of 30,000 fans. It’s another day in the office and it’s what I do best. Like I said before, I kick butt and put on a show. (I’ll) rise to the occasion as usual.
IA: Last time out, you defeated another former world heavyweight title challenger, Gerald Washington, on Showtime. Were you happy with your performance and surprised at how much punishment he took after you pummelled him for eight rounds?
JM: I was all right with my performance. I knew he was going to be durable, because remember when he fought Deontay Wilder on about three and a half/four weeks’ notice? To step up and fight for a world championship – he wasn’t even in tip-top shape. He’s been in the gym since he fought Deontay Wilder and in camp with Wladimir Klitschko. He was in way better shape when he fought me compared to when he fought Deontay, so he was able to take more of a beating. Like I said, the best man wins and that’s what it came down to.
IA: Did you feel any ring rust after eleven months out prior to that fight?
JM: Just a little bit. I just had one game plan, and that was to walk him down and beat him up. I know I could’ve out-boxed him, but I didn’t want to give him that chance of giving him time to breathe or that space. Up to the time of the stoppage, one judge had it a draw and everybody was outraged and furious with that at the time. Luckily, I already know how boxing is a dirty sport and I just took it to him.
IA: I didn’t even know that, are you serious?
JM: I’m dead serious. One judge had it a draw. I was on his (Washington’s) promotional card and that’s how it went down. I knew all the odds were stacked against me, eleven months layoff and I took a hard opponent that fought for a world title. You haven’t seen the best of ‘Big Baby’ yet. It’s sure to come.
IA: You’re one of the biggest and strongest heavyweights out there right now. What do you think is your ideal fighting weight?
JM: It varied about two years ago between 270lbs and 285lbs. Like I said before, (being) 300lbs was mainly about condition, I came from 330lbs in four weeks really to get down to that weight. We hit 292lbs and I caught salmonella poisoning and we had to rehydrate and really put some size (on) and be healthy before the fight. There was no antibiotics, it was just winging it! I think for this fight, we’ll come in at 275lbs and we’re on point with weight right now in the scheduled timing. So (in future), we’ll stay here or I’ll come down a little more, we’ll see (after) this fight.
IA: You’re currently ranked No.4 with the WBO and No.5 with the IBF. Do you believe a win over Wach might earn you a spot as mandatory challenger with one of those two sanctioning bodies?
JM: Yeah, most definitely. They were talking about me as mandatory challenger for Joseph Parker and then Hughie Fury got it. These belt companies change their minds quick and they don’t know what the hell they want to do sometimes. The main thing is being in shape and being ready – and kick some butt.
IA: I want to switch gears now and talk about some of the other heavyweights on the world scene. Next Saturday night, Anthony Joshua defends his world titles against Carlos Takam. What’s your prediction for the fight? Also, what are your thoughts on Deontay Wilder defending his title against Bermane Stiverne?
JM: I think Carlos Takam is too small of a guy, not a one-punch knockout artist. But he is durable depending on what kind of shape he’s coming into that fight on fourteen days’ notice, I don’t really know? But, I see Anthony Joshua winning. I think Deontay’s definitely going to beat him again and more convincingly this time than the first time. I think Stiverne has been inactive and fighting lesser opponents and still getting hurt, so I think Deontay’s going to take the win. Other than that, we’ll see what Joseph Parker does next – I’d like to fight him next, but we’ll see.
IA: I’d like to do a bit of heavyweight word association now. Give me your thoughts on the following fighters, however long or short.
IA: Joseph Parker
JM: Looked really soft in his last fight. Durable against certain opponents, but I’m gonna smash him (laughs).
IA: Dillian Whyte
JM: Pretty durable, not a big fan of him, but I’m gonna smash him.
IA: Hughie Fury
JM: Not durable. Can’t really take a punch, can’t have no power. He’s lucky his cousin is Tyson Fury, and I’m gonna knock him out and smash him as well.
IA: David Haye
JM: Very agile, quick on his feet, but I don’t think he’s taking boxing seriously anymore like he needs to. If he fights a big guy like me – I’ll smash him.
IA: Bermane Stiverne
JM: Seen better days and I’m definitely gonna smash him!
IA: Deontay Wilder
JM: Very athletic, too skinny, gonna walk him down, beat him up, smash him.
IA: Finally, what can fans expect on November 11th?
JM: You’ve heard of Riddick Bowe, you’ve heard of Mike Tyson and Shannon Briggs. Now there’s ‘Big Baby’ and I’m putting boxing back on the map, not only for America, not only Brooklyn, but for the world – I’m the real peoples’ champ. Tune in and get ready for fireworks because you’ll see some phenomenal footwork and great boxing.
On Saturday November 11th, Jarrell Miller vs. Mariusz Wach will serve as the co-main event to Daniel Jacobs vs. Luis Arias, from the Nassau Coliseum in New York, live on HBO. Tickets are available from ticketmaster.com.