Kubrat Pulev vs. Jarrell Miller purse bid on July 28
By Jim Dower: The management for former heavyweight world title challenger Kubrat Pulev has requested an immediate purse bid for an IBF title eliminator against Jarrell ‘Big Baby’ Miller on July 28, according to Dan Rafael. The winner of the Pulev vs. Miller fight will be the mandatory challenger to IBF heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua (21-0, 20 KOs).
Miller, 29, would probably get a title shot against Anthony Joshua even without facing Pulev in a title eliminator, but by taking this fight, he can earn a bigger payday by becoming the IBF mandatory. At one time, Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn was interested in matching AJ against Miller in New York to help make a unification fight between him and WBC champion Deontay ‘Bronze Bomber’ Wilder a bigger affair. Hearn chose not to make that move, and instead wants to make the Joshua-Wilder next if possible.
Pulev, 37, was supposed to be facing Dillian ‘The Body Snatcher’ Whyte in the International Boxing Federation heavyweight title eliminator, but Dillian chose to face former WBO heavyweight champion Joseph Parker instead in a non-title eliminator on July 28. Pulev was furious about Whyte pulling out of their fight, because he was looking forward to fighting him in his home country of Bulgaria.
Epic Sports won the purse bid for the Pulev-Whyte fight, and they wanted to stage it in Bulgaria. Pulev would have gotten a 75-25 purse split, which is believed to be the reason why Whyte chose not to take the fight. The money wouldn’t have been good for Whyte, and there would have been a high risk of him losing the fight. Whyte also chose not to fight Luis Ortiz in a WBC title eliminator. A lot of fans think Whyte had cold feet about facing Ortiz because the Cuban fighter is so good.
Pulev, 6’4 ½”, has a five-fight winning streak going since being stopped in the 5th round by former heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko in 2014. Pulev has wins over mostly weak journeyman level opponents in the last three years, but he did beat Derek Chisora in 2017 by a 12 split decision.
The 300+ pound Miller has recent victories over former world title challengers Johann Duhaupas, Mariusz Wach and Gerald Washington. Miller looked good at times in all three fights, but he failed to shine. Duhaupas gave Miller a lot of problems in going the 12 round distance with him last April. Miller stopped Wach in the 9th round, but he was hit a lot by him. In Miller’s fight against Washington, he was almost knocked out in the 5th round after getting hit by a flurry of shots from the 6’6” heavyweight.
The only reason Miller survived the fifth round was because Washington got tired of hitting him in the head. Had that been Deontay Wilder or Joshua, Miller would have been knocked out. His defense is simply atrocious to be fighting at the upper levels of the heavyweight division. Washington, Wach and Duhaupas are fringe level heavyweights, and Miller showed flaws in each of those fights that would result in him losing against any of the top heavyweights in the division.
Pulev will likely be the favorite to beat Miller due to his amateur experience, as well as his past fights against top fighters like Klitschko, Dereck Chisora and Tony Thompson.