Anthony Joshua and Jarrell “Big Baby” Miller have agreed to terms for June 1 or 8 fight
By Trevor McIntyre: Anthony Joshua and Jarrell ‘Big Baby’ Miller have reportedly agreed to terms for a fight on June 1 or 8 on DAZN at Madison Square Garden in New York, according to Mike Coppinger. This fight will be IBF/WBA/WBO heavyweight champion Joshua’s first fight in the United States, and it could pave the way for a big mega-fight clash against WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder in the future.
DAZN is a young platform, and Miller is an unknown with a weight problem. It’s not the ideal fight for Joshua’s coming out party.
If nothing else, it will help Joshua and his promoter Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Boxing to help turn the muscular 2012 Olympic gold medalist into a star in the U.S. Joshua, 29, is already a huge pay-per-view attraction in the UK, but he’s been unable to break through the tough American market due to them fans being more selective of their stars. It takes a little more for fighters to become stars in the U.S than elsewhere around the world due to the huge size of the country.
Breaking: Anthony Joshua and Jarrell “Big Baby” Miller have agreed to terms for a heavyweight championship fight at New York’s Madison Square Garden, per sources. The fight will be streamed on DAZN and likely take place June 1, but June 8 also in play. Will be Joshua’s U.S. debut
— Mike Coppinger (@MikeCoppinger) February 1, 2019
If Joshua looks good beating Miller on DAZN, it will help build up a fight against the winner of the Deontay Wilder vs. Tyson Fury for the fall. Of course, for Joshua to fight the winner of the Wilder-Fury II, Hearn is going to need to stop giving them low-ball 60-40 split offers, and give them the 50-50 split that they’re asking for. If Hearn doesn’t do that, then in the fall, Joshua will be facing Dillian Whyte on DAZN. Since the U.S boxing fans don’t know who Whyte is, it’s not going to bring in the type of subscribers to the streaming service that a fight between AJ and Wilder or Fury would.
Whyte has clearly done enough to rate the fight with Joshua, but he also is asking for more than what Hearn is willing to give him. Whyte wants a great deal, which he’s entitled to, but Hearn feels that Joshua is the A-side, so he should get the bigger slice of the pie. Whyte isn’t reportedly asking for parity like Wilder and Fury. He just wants a good deal. If Whyte wasn’t signed with Hearn, and if he wasn’t a pay-per-view attraction in the UK in his own right, he might have ruined his chances of ever getting a fight against Joshua by pricing himself out. But Whyte is one of Hearn’s Matchroom fighters, and he is popular in the UK, so he’s going to still get a chance to fight Joshua, possibly later this year if the Wilder vs. Fury 2 fight doesn’t accept the offer that Hearn gives to them. Whyte is Hearn’s backup option for Joshua for his fight in the fall. Having Whyte on the outside waiting will enable Hearn to offer the Wilder vs. Fury II winner less than the 50-50 split that they’re asking for. When they invariably tell Hearn to get lost, he’ll spin around and give the fight to Whyte. It’s predictable.
Miller will get a career high payday in fighting Joshua, and he’ll have the chance to make a name for himself with the British boxing fan. Hearn promotes Miller as well, which is one is one of the reasons why he’s making this fight. Hearn isn’t giving Miller a shot at Joshua’s title just to be a nice guy. This is clearly a self serving move. If Miller wasn’t signed with Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing USA promotion, he likely would be on the same ignore list as Luis ‘King Kong’ Ortiz, as far as Joshua is concerned. Hearn doesn’t promote Ortiz, who arguably is a better fighter than Miller and Dillian Whyte. Ortiz isn’t getting a title shot against Joshua, and might not ever.
Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury both turned down the 60/40 split that was offered to them by Hearn to fight Joshua. They both want a 50/50 split, and that’s not happening. Whyte also wants a great deal as well for the Joshua fight, but he’s not reportedly asking for a 50-50 split at least, which likely means he’s going to be AJ’s next opponent after the Miller fight.
The attention that Joshua gets fighting Miller in the U.S might not be as much as some boxing fans think. Miller isn’t a big name in the United State. He’s just another heavyset guy that the casual boxing fans have never heard of. You can argue that Miller is about as well known as Adam Kownacki with the casual boxing fans in the U.S. Joshua is even less known that Miller, so their fight might not much for either guy. Joshua needs a household name for him to make a splash in the U.S, and Miller is not the guy.
Some boxing fans believe that Miller’s high volume work rate and heavy hands will cause Joshua all kinds of problems, and lead to an upset. However, the 315 pound Miller is so slow, ponderous and easy to hit that it makes it difficult to imagine him causing an upset against a guy like Joshua. Miller struggled to beat Johann Duhaupas recently, and he looked bad in beating Mariusz Wach and Gerald Washington. There was a moment where Washington almost had Miller ready to be knocked out in the fifth round of their fight in July 2017. Washington punched himself out from hitting Miller with head shots in the fifth round.
If Joshua is able to land half as many punches as Washington did, he’s going to have Miller knocked out. But that’s not really what this fight is about. This isn’t supposed to be a competitive fight. It’s more of a showcase for Joshua, and Hearn realizes that. If Hearn wanted someone that had a reasonably good shot at beating Joshua, he would have signed southpaw Luis Ortiz instead of a slow guy like Miller. Hearn is pretty clever. He’s making sure Joshua doesn’t get beaten by picking a guy that he knows he can beat in 6’4″ ‘Big Baby’ Miller.
Hearn is going to try hard to make Joshua vs. Miller into a huge monster fight in the U.S so that the casual boxing fans will want to subscribe to DAZN in huge numbers to see it. Miller will have to go way over the top to try and get boxing fans interested in the fight in the States.
The reality is that Miller is the safest option for Joshua of the the top five heavyweights in the division. These are the top guys at heavyweight today:
– Deontay Wilder
– Tyson Fury
– Luis Ortiz
– Dillian Whyte
– Jarrell ‘Big Baby’ Miller
– Anthony Joshua
Miller is not only the easiest option for Joshua of the guys that Hearn was supposedly trying to get for him, but he’s also willing to take less money than those guys. So it’s the least amount of risk for the least amount of money for Joshua. It’s the best of both worlds for Joshua. However, this can’t be permanent. Joshua can’t continue to fight the likes of Miller for the remainder of his career. He’s going to have to give the Wilder-Fury 2 winner the purse split that they’re asking for in order to get them to sign. The same goes for Whyte, even though he’s not nearly as popular or as talented as Wilder and Fury. Whyte is a good basic heavyweight, who has some lucky breaks with the way the referees have controlled his recent fights against Dereck Chisora and Joseph Parker. Whyte could have lost both of those fights if he had a referee working them that was all the ball, watching for knockdowns and fouls.