Big Baby Miller And The Question of Confidence
By: Sean Crose
I’ve spoken with Jarrell “Big Baby” Miller several times. He’s an interesting guy – one who is fascinating to talk to. Needless to say, I haven’t spoken to the man since he was popped for banned substances back in 2019. Now I hear he was popped for the same thing again, and that his July comeback fight has been canceled. There’s something about repeat offenders that fascinates us. It’s only natural, really. Why, we ask ourselves, do some people never learn their lesson? The offenders themselves might not even have an answer. The news of Miller getting busted for PED use again, however, has me thinking of other matters.
Miller, when we spoke, always struck me with his confidence. Unlike most of us, the guy was the picture of self assurance. He talked hard, worked hard, and fought hard. There seemed to be a lot of go to back up his show. Miller, in short, didn’t strike me as someone who questioned whether or not he could support the hype surrounding him with action. Clearly, though, the man wasn’t as confident as he appeared. It begs the question of whether or not he was confident at all, and if that famous swagger was all just a ruse.
It’s a strange thing, confidence. Everyone has it to some degree or other, but only a few among us can truly be referred to as confident with a capital C. None of us, for example, probably question whether or not we can make toast. We’ve done it before and will do it again. We don’t pause on the way to the kitchen to ask ourselves if we truly have what it takes to pull it off. We’re confident in our ability, and rightfully so. How many of us, however, have that same confidence when we make our way into a job interview? Not many of us, I’d be willing to bet. Lots of fighters, though, walk into a ring, sometimes before millions of viewers, looking like they have the same easy confidence the rest of us do going about everyday tasks.
They’re a rare breed, fighters, particularly boxers. Stepping in front of the public, boxers risk not only taking a world class beating, but also getting slowly humiliated by someone they absolutely, positively cannot effectively lay a glove on. In a very authentic sense, boxing truly is the roughest of sports. Confidence is required just to slip through the ropes. What exact kind of confidence does a fighter require, though? Muhammad Ali might offer some insight. For it was Ali who admitted to saying he was the greatest before he even knew he was. Add that to Mike Tyson’s honest comments on the nature of fear and we’re left with the idea that confidence is many times merely a mask to hide behind, or even an act of pretending to ourselves, rather than it is a genuine feeling.
In the case of Miller, and far too many others, confidence can prove to be a flimsy mask indeed.