By: Sean Crose
Boxing fans can easily recall last June 1st, when Anthony Joshua stepped into the ring for his American debut at Madison Square Garden, only to be stunned by heavy underdog Andy Ruiz. Although Johsua has since won back the title belts he lost that evening, few will forget the time Ruiz stunned the world. Such things stick in the memory. What may not stick in the memory is the fact that Ruiz wasn’t even supposed to be Joshua’s opponent that night. Brooklyn’s Gerald “Big Baby” Miller the man who had been scheduled to welcome Joshua to America that evening in the Garden. Positive drug tests, however, kept Miller from the fight. The opportunity ended up going to Ruiz.
Now, however, it appears that the 23-0-1 Miller is back on the heavyweight fast track, for it was announced Wednesday that the 31 year old had signed with Bob Arum’s Top Rank Promotions. “Jarrell Miller is serious about coming back, doing things the right way and becoming heavyweight champion of the world,” said Arum via press release. “He is one of boxing’s most unique and exciting characters, but most importantly, he can fight.” Signing with Arum can open up new doors for Miller. Tyson Fury, the man who many consider to the be the lineal heavyweight champion of the world (the man who beat the man, who beat the man) fights with Top Rank. What’s more, Top Rank fighters are able to fight live in front of ESPNs massive audience.
“Minor setback for a major comeback,” Miller said, referring to the positive drug tests that kept him from facing Joshua. “I’m coming for everything and everyone. No one is safe. Say hello to the bad guy.” It was clear the undefeated heavyweight wanted to stake his claim among the colorful characters that now populate the heavyweight division. “Everyone wants to portray the superhero,” he added. “We don’t live in a sunshine world. I’ll never be the superhero. In my world, the majority of the time, the villain wins.”
Top Rank’s press release referred to Miller as “one of boxing’s most polarizing figures, a combination-punching heavyweight who also went 22-2 as a professional kickboxer.” Having once been one of the highest paid kickboxers in the United States, Miller still has his eyes set on heavyweight dominance. He also now has the backing to get him the kinds of fights that can make that happen.
“I couldn’t be happier that after months of hard work and perseverance, we were able to make this deal a reality,” said Greg Cohen, who now co-promotes Miller, along with Top Rank and Dmitriy Salita. “Since I started promoting Jarrell as a six-round fighter,” said Salita. “I have been saying that he would be the next heavyweight champion from Brooklyn. Working with Top Rank, I am confident he will have the chance to realize that goal.”
“Time,” said Cohen, “for Big Baby to get back in the ring!”
Top Rank stated Miller “will make his Top Rank on ESPN debut in 2020.”