Hearn says Joshua could face Jarrell Miller in Aug. or Sep. in New York
By Scott Gilfoid: IBF/WBA heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua has a fight with WBO champion Joseph Parker on March 31, but if he wins that fight he could be meeting Jarrell ‘Big Baby’ Miller (20-0-1, 18 KOs) in August or September in New York, says Matchroom Sport promoter Eddie Hearn. Miller has to win his next fight against Johann Duhaupas (37-4, 24 KOs) on April 28th for the Joshua-Miller contest to be a realty.
Hearn is working on putting a deal together with one of the 2 U.S cable networks HBO or Showtime for Joshua. His final fight of his contract with Showtime runs out with the Parker fight on March 31. Which of the 2 cable giants signs Joshua will come down to how much money they’re willing to offer. Hearn will of course sign Joshua with the network that bids the highest. It’s unclear whether HBO will be willing to offer more than Showtime for Joshua.
“In an ideal world, we’d like to see AJ’s U.S. debut in August or September,” Hearn said to ESPN.com. ”A fight with Miller — a kid from Brooklyn — would be an attractive fight. It’s a nice story.”
Hearn thinks matching Joshua against Jarrell Miller will make him a household name in the U.S and turn him into a star. Unfortunately, that’s not likely to happen. Miller isn’t well-known by the casual boxing fans in the States. He’s known by the hardcore fans and many of the fans in the East Coast. Joshua will need a lot more fights in the U.S than Jarrell Miller to turn him into a star.
Matching Joshua against Miller isn’t going to build up the Joshua vs. Deontay Wilder fight to any great extent. The reason for that is Joshua vs. Jarrell Miller is not a fight that will generate a lot of buzz in the States. Hearn might not realize this but Miller is an UNDERCARD fighter, not a main event guy. When you’re an undercard fighter like the 29-year-old Miller, your fighters aren’t seen by as many boxing fans. The fans tend to ignore undercard fights and use that time to go to the refrigerator or talk to friends.
Miller’s physique, which is quite fat-looking, doesn’t make one take notice of him when he does enter the ring. Miller doesn’t look like a world class fighter when he fights. He just looks like an overweight heavyweight. That’s obviously a negative for Miller. He doesn’t look the part of a world class heavyweight. Miller does a great job of talking before and after his fights. In that area, he excels beyond most heavyweights. But the boxing public is more concerned with results, and how fighters look while fighting. Miller is a slow plodder, and he doesn’t look impressive.
“Wilder looks to be unlikely until [Wilder] gets realistic about the split [of the money], we feel a fight in America would be beneficial to us and, in Brooklyn at Barclays Center, Miller would be the guy,” Hearn said.
If Miller loses to Duhaupas or if he looks bad with his performance against him on April 28th on HBO, it’s going to put Hearn in a tough position of needing to make a choice. Does Hearn still go ahead and match Joshua with Miller anyway in New York or does he look in another direction. There aren’t a lot of options available to Hearn as far as there being well-known American heavyweights aside from Deontay Wilder. Miller isn’t known in the U.S outside of the hardcore fans. Hearn would have to try and sign Dominic Breazeale again for Joshua to fight or perhaps Miller sparring mate Adam Kownacki. He’s not well known either, and there won’t be a lot of national interest from boxing fans in a Joshua vs. Kownacki fight in New York.
Hearn doesn’t quite understand that the U.S lot bigger than England and the fans in the States aren’t going to rally behind the little known Miller just because he’s from the same country as them. The fans want to see a good fight. Many of them won’t know who Jarrell Miller or Joshua is. They just want to see fighting. Hearn believes that the U.S boxing fans will get caught up in the story that that will be told by HBO or Showtime in a build up to a fight between Joshua and Jarrell Miller.
It’s unknown if that’s going to be the case. You can argue that most boxing fans tune out the chatter that goes on before the fights in which the networks talk a lot on the background of where the fighter comes from in the U.S. It might be just a bunch of wasted chatter by HBO or Showtime if they spend too much time talking about how the 300 pound Miller comes from Brooklyn, New York and blah-blah-blah. That stuff goes in one ear and out the other of U.S boxing fans. Perhaps that kind of stuff is important for boxing fans from other countries, but in the U.S, the fans only focus on the actual fight and don’t care too much about where a fighter is from in the U.S.
Before Hearn can put together a Joshua-Miller fight for August or September, the 6’4” 300 lb. Miller, 29, has to defeat France’s Johann Duhaupas (37-4, 24 KOs) in their heavyweight title eliminator bout on the 24th of April on HBO World Championship Boxing on the Daniel Jacobs vs. Maciej Sulecki card at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. Miller being matched against Duhaupas greatly increases his chances of winning. Duhaupas has knockout losses in the past to Deontay Wilder and Alexander Povetkin. Duhaupas was knocked out in the 6th round by Povetkin in December 2016. Duhaupas made Povetkin look a lot better than he is. Duhaupas has turned his career around since then in winning his last 3 fights, albeit against less than stellar opposition. That’s the frustrating part about Duhaupas. He can look great when matched against cellar dweller opposition, but when he’s moved up a level to fight the better guys like Erkan Teper, Wilder and Povetkin, he ends up losing to all of them.
Miller is slow, hittable and one-dimensional as a fighter. Those are the major negatives to Miller’s game. The positives are he throws a lot of punches, his punch resistance if excellent and he has respectable power. It’s still unclear whether Miller has a great chin or not, as he’s still not been matched against a big puncher. The biggest punchers Miller has faced in his 9-year pro career were Gerald Washington, Fred Kassi, Mariusz Wach and Donovan Dennis. Those are not major league hitters in the class of Deontay Wilder and Joshua. Miller was signed recently with HBO to a multi-fight contract, and they’re obviously interested in him facing Joshua.
The fact that Miller is with HBO seems to suggest that Joshua may end up signing with him as well. That could make things difficult, however, when it comes to Joshua facing Wilder in the future, as he fights on Showtime. If Joshua is under contract with HBO and Wilder with Showtime, putting together a fight between them might prove to be difficult. It would give Hearn another excuse to tell the boxing media and fans for why he can’t make the Joshua-Wilder fight. Currently, the No.1 excuse for Hearn NOT to make the Joshua-Wilder fight is Wilder is asking for too much money by him asking for a 50-50 purse split. Hearn says Joshua makes 10 times more per fight than Wilder. This suggests that Hearn is not interested in offering Wilder anywhere near a 50-50 deal. If Hearn can soon tell the fans that the fight can’t be made because Wilder is on a different network than Joshua, it might pacify some of them.