Joshua vs. Miller: Big Baby Miller shoves AJ at New York press conference
By Scott Gilfoid: Unbeaten challenger Jarrell ‘Big Baby’ Miller showed that he means business today in shoving Anthony Joshua clear across the stage during their kickoff news conference on Tuesday at Madison Square Garden in New York. The security jumped in between the two fighters to make sure that fists didn’t start flying between them. Joshua looked kind of taken aback by the violent reaction from Miller. Joshua wasn’t expecting to be pushed by Miller, because he almost fell.
The shove did look kind of staged. Did Miller, promoter Eddie Hearn and Joshua have this incident planned ahead of time in order to attract interest from the American public in this fight? It wouldn’t be surprising. They’re going to need to do a lot better than the tired shoving bit if they want to get the U.S boxing fans interested in the Joshua-Miller fight, because neither of them are popular, and the fight is viewed as a dreadful mismatch of the first order by the hardcore fans.
For American fans to take notice of the fight, Miller and Joshua will need to come up with a novel approach. Today’s incident looked VERY, VERY staged in order to sell tickets and to bring in the subscribers on DAZN to see the Joshua vs. Miller fight. Was this Hearn’s idea? It wouldn’t be surprising. That kind of thing might work overseas, but in the U.S, the shoving bit has been done so many times that it’s considered part of the ritual. Hearn should have come up with something different. A good approach would have been Joshua holding a microphone, and having some rehearsed trash talk to throw Miller’s way. At least that would be a little different from what is normally seen during the face offs. It’s Hearn’s job to come up with something different and shocking to get the fans to want to watch Joshua and Miller fight. When Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Conor McGregor fought each other in 2017, Conor was talking major trash, like a stand up comedian, pacing the floor and coming up with nice insults. Joshua probably can’t do that that kind of thing, but Miller can. He’s capable of being given a microphone to spend five minutes trashing Joshua, and his team. That would be funny to see, and it might get some boxing fans interested in subscribing to DAZN to see the two of them fight each other. But if the only ideas Hearn has is for Joshua and Miller to resort to the tired old shoving routine, it’s doubtful the fight will attract the interest that they want it to.
Things were initially peaceful at first during the face off between the two giant heavyweights, but something that Joshua (22-0, 21 KOs) said to Big Baby set him, making him shove the unbeaten 6’6″ heavyweight hard. Gilfoid would rate the shove from Miller as 10. It was one of the best shoves that I’ve seen from a fighter.
Joshua was lucky he didn’t fall over from the shove, because it was powerful enough to send him flying backwards at least five fight. Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn immediately stepped in to make sure the two fighters didn’t come to blow. Hearn looked more upset than Joshua was. Joshua tried to get Miller (23-0-1, 20 KOs) to come forward so that they could do the face off for the press, but he wanted no part of it. Hearn should be happy. The 315 pound Miller is the guy that he’s clearly wanted all along for Joshua to fight in the U.S. Hearn got his way, but now he’s starting to realize that it’s not going to be an easy build up for their June 1 fight on DAZN at Madison Square Garden in New York.
Miller isn’t going to play nice with Joshua. He’s going to let him know that he’s coming to win the fight, and take his IBF, WBA and WBO heavyweight titles from him. The fight is taking place in the New Yorker Miller’s backyard, so it’s going to be his boxing fans that will be there ringside on the night to cheer him on. Yeah, there will be a few thousand of Joshua’s British fans making the trek over to New York to see him fight Big Baby Miller, but not enough for them to match the horde or fans that are coming to see Jarrell from the nearby area.
Miller seemed suspicious, as if he was going to get sucker punched by AJ. You can’t blame Miller, 30, one bit for not returning for the face off, because the way he shoved Joshua, it seemed logical that he would get shoved back if he’d faced off with him the way AJ wanted him to.
For future meetings between Joshua and Miller, Hearn is going to need to make sure the two are kept far enough apart to prevent a repeat of what we saw today.