Jarrell “Big Baby” Miller: More Than Meets The Eye
By: Sean Crose
“As of now, it’s all talk,” Jarrell “Big Baby” Miller tells me. Miller is discussing rumors that have been circulating, rumors which claim he will soon step in between the ropes to face heavyweight kingpin Anthony Joshua, in what will perhaps be Joshua’s first fight in the United States. Eddie Hearn, Joshua’s promoter, was connected to Miller for a time, which led to the assertion that a Joshua fight would happen. “Eddie Hearn is a great talker,” Miller continues. “You guys in the media suck it up.” Miller intends to keep moving along with his career. So long as he keeps winning, it will be hard for the biggest names to deny him a shot at some point. “I’m not going to sit around and twiddle my thumbs,” he says.
Photo Credit: Jarrell Miller’s Twitter Account
Boxing can be a frustrating game, of course, but Miller has things to be happy about. For starters, he’s one of the more popular heavyweights in a division that’s become red hot after a long dormant stage. He did, after all, just beat France’s Johann Duhaupas via unanimous decision. “I was always trying to press for a knockout,” he says. “I’m a big guy, but I’ve got fluidity.” And for those who questioned whether he would really enter the ring weighing three hundred pounds? “This time I really was three hundred,” he tells me. And those who feel Miller can’t beat men like Joshua or fellow American Deontay Wilder? The guy couldn’t care less.
Miller is a man whose clearly comfortable with who he is. Formerly the highest paid kickboxer in America (kickboxing still remains close to his heart) the rising boxer realizes he’s “a high risk, low reward fighter.” Still, Miller makes one thing clear: “I know what my goals are.” And those goals have everything to do with making it to the top of the heavyweight heap. Cable giant Home Box Office is happy to be in the Miller business, having aired his last several fights live. “Everything seems good,” he says. “They just treated me with more respect.”
Treating people right is important for the 21-0-1 Brooklyn native. He’s known to work with children, after all, and was taking his seven year old son to the movies while we spoke. Miller is also known for supporting and befriending cancer patient Lily Weaver. Such relationships make for good press, but the friendship is legitimate in this case. “She inspires me,” he states, explaining that when he isn’t feeling as ambitious as he’d like, thinking of Hannah acts as motivation. “If we’re not here on this earth for each other,” he adds, “then what are we here for?”
“Fighter’s get a bad rap,” he says. “We’re just guys trying to make a living.”
OLD SCHOOL: An Interview with Big Baby Miller’s Trainer, Harry Keitt
By: Patrick Mascoe
Boxing is a complex sport. Those of uswho love boxing love the action in the ring, and we often see the sport as a metaphor for life. Life is a struggle, a fight and for those who give up, success is never attained. Boxing has a history of wasted talent, crushed dreams and fighters who self-destruct. However, it also has a history of salvation and redemption. The life of veteran Brooklyn trainer Harry Keitt is such a story. Once a promising fighter, and a man who had sparred with the likes of Light Heavyweight Champion Dwight Muhammad Qawi and the great Muhammad Ali, Keitt soon found his life spiralling out of control.
Harry Keitt began using drugs and, at his lowest point, shot his own cousin. After serving his time in prison, he rededicated his life to helping the young people of his community. He wanted to make sure that they did not make some of the same mistakes that have haunted him. He has spent close to 30 years making up for that one error in judgement. In that time, he has become a man who has taken on the job of trainer, mentor and surrogate father to many in his Brooklyn neighbourhood. He has become a respected individual due to his strength of character, his wisdom, and more importantly, he now possesses self-worth and dignity.
How long have you actively been involved in the sport of boxing?
“I myself boxed for ten years from 1976 to 1986. In 1989, I became a trainer and have been involved in training fighters ever since.”
In that time, what major changes have you seen in sport with regards to match-making and training?
“Back in the day, if a champion lost a fight he would get an immediate rematch. He would be ranked as the number one contender. Now, if you lose, you may not even find yourself in the top ten. Boxing trainers are being replaced by strength and conditioning coaches. I get that everybody is trying to make a living, but everything is really upside down. These guys don’t really know boxing. Lots of guys today are using drugs to get stronger or faster. People are looking for an easy way to succeed.”
You have literally trained hundreds of fighters in your time. Do you have any favorites?
“I trained a young boy named Mark Anene. He came into the gym when he was ten years old weighing 170 lbs. When I asked him why he was crying all the time, he told me he was being picked on and laughed at. I told him that if you stick with boxing, the bullying would stop. That boy’s weight dropped to 156 lbs. and he became a Jr. National Champion, a Golden Gloves Champion, and a Jr. World Champion. Through boxing, he was able to achieve everything he wanted. He also became like a son to me. His goal was never to fight pro but rather to graduate high school and get a college degree. I attended his graduation and we are still in touch to this day. I also trained, well known contender, John Duddy (29-2), who may not have been the most skilled of fighters, but was so hard working and determined; he could have been a world champion. He is now a successful actor and doing very well. When training an amateur like Mark, or a professional like John, it was never about the money. It was always about training them right.”
Which fighters today impress you and have your attention?
“To be honest, fighters today aren’t the same. Most are looking for short cuts. The fighters of today lack hunger and don’t have a strong work ethic. Guys come in and they want to copy Floyd Mayweather’s style or Sugar Ray Leonard’s style. They don’t understand that you need to learn the basics and then find your own style. Guys like Mayweather and Leonard are gifted fighters. You have to develop your own style and that comes through training, not by copying another guy. I do like Deontay Wilder because I know that he is being trained the right way. His trainer, Mark Breland, is teaching him to have strong fundamentals and has instilled in him a strong work ethic. Breland, himself, was a great fighter and understands there are no short cuts to success. People keep predicting that Deontay is going to lose yet, he just keeps winning.”
In the eyes of many of the young men and women you train, you are seen as a surrogate father, a mentor, an advisor, and a teacher. What is the most important lesson to try to impart on these young people?
“I want them to learn to carry themselves with confidence. Kids need to develop self-confidence in order to succeed in life. The minute you think you can’t do something, then you have failed already.”
Knowing that not every person you train will turn professional or make a living as a boxer, how to you define your success as a trainer?
“I would love to see one of my fighters win a world title. That’s how I would define my personal success. But I think people need to be champions to themselves. As I said before, I trained Mark Anene and he was very successful. He graduated high school and college. He accomplished his dream. Knowing what his goal was, I often checked his report cards to make sure he stayed on track. Boxing was a path that he used to succeed. I want people to learn to believe in themselves.”
You are presently training undefeated heavyweight Jarrell Miller. He is currently ranked 9th in the world by Ring magazine. What is it like to work with Jarrell and how far do you think he can go?
“Jarrell can go as far as he wants. He can be a world champion. At times we have our ups and downs. As a trainer, I always want my fighters to train harder. I am old school. Young guys see me and they laugh because I don’t know much about Facebook or Twitter, but I know boxing. In the gym, I tell them I know what you know, but you don’t know what I know. Young guys get on the treadmill and run, but to me the treadmill is doing all the work. It is not the same. Go out and do your own roadwork. Guys need to work harder.”
Your personal story is one of redemption. Are you happy today with the path your life has taken?
“I feel great about myself. For a while, I was headed in the wrong direction and I was doing all the wrong things. When I came out of prison, I told myself that I would never go back. I needed to start doing the right thing. My life has been good. I was involved in a documentary movie in 1999, called On the Ropes, and it was nominated for an Oscar. I got the chance to attend the Academy Awards. My life has definitely gone in the other direction, a better direction.”
Harry Keitt presently works out of Mendez gym at 23 E. 26th Street in Manhattan, New York and trains undefeated heavyweight prospect Jarrell Miller. Miller’s next fight will be on April 28th at the Barclays Center on the under card of the Daniel Jacobs – Maceiej Sulecki fight. Harry Keitt readily acknowledges that he is an old school trainer. To him, that means teaching fighters to develop strong work ethics in order to become fundamentally sound. In a day and age when we sometimes see old as being passé, Harry Keitt is anything but. Honest, caring and knowledgeable trainers should be the norm, not the exception. He continues to preach to his young disciples – you need to be a champion to yourself. Although he may still possess some regrets about his earlier life, Harry Keitt has worked selflessly with the young people of Brooklyn and in return, he himself has become a champion.
Just How Big Will Canelo-GGG Be?
Just How Big Will Canelo-GGG Be?
By: Sean Crose
People were all kinds of excited when news was announced that Canelo Alvarez would finally be facing middleweight terror Gennady Golovkin in the ring. Not only was it THE fight serious boxing fans wanted to see, but the bout had the potential to cross the margins and make its way into the mainstream consciousness, where boxing rarely sees the light of day. There was a lot to look forward to that night in a Las Vegas ring, when Canelo, after easily beating Julio Caesar Chavez Jr, made it clear he and GGG would finally be getting it on. Boxing, much on the upswing in 2017, would have a bright shining object to show the world when middleweight supremacy was battled for in September.
Unfortunately, another bright, shining object, nothing more than a trinket, really, seems to have taken all the mainstream potential Canelo-GGG may have promised. That particular object, which is honestly not worth mentioning, is said to be an affront to what is essentially the best bout in boxing. It may well be. But boxing fans shouldn’t care. For the truth is that Canelo and Golovkin were never going to break records when they met in Vegas. This was a one-to-two million buy pay per view event, at most. Enormous to be sure, but nowhere near groundbreaking.
So don’t get too upset. Sure, the circus has pushed Canelo-GGG back to the margins. Yet it’s a pretty well-known fact that Canelo has an enormous Mexican fan base behind him that’s VERY interested in his bout with Golovkin. Let’s also not forget about the serious fight fans who won’t be wasting money on a circus but, rather, will be gladly coughing up money for Canelo-GGG. Here’s something else worth considering – boxing, with our without the circus everyone is talking about – is in a VERY good place. Canelo got good PPV numbers for beating a guy few expected to win last time out. Anthony Joshua beat Wladimir Klitschko in front of close to one hundred thousand people in London. The Keith Thurman-Danny Garcia battle owned the night when it appears on network television. Things are going strong.
And as long as fights like Canelo-GGG are made, the sport will continue to prosper. A pop culture event can’t beat steady growth when it comes to the health of boxing. Circuses come and go. Great fights are timeless. Canelo-GGG will do excellent business in September. And if the fight is good, things will continue looking up for the sport.
Philadelphia’s Unbeaten Little Big Men Christian Carto & Manny Folly!
Philadelphia’s Unbeaten Little Big Men Christian Carto & Manny Folly!
By: Ken Hissner
Philadelphia had a WBA World Bantamweight champion back in the early 80’s named “Joltin” Jeff Chandler, 33-2-2 (18). In November of 1980 he stopped Julian Solis, 21-0, for the WBA bantamweight title. He was the first American in 30 years to hold the bantamweight title.
Chandler won both the USBA & NABF titles and as world champion had nine successful title defenses. He knocked out Solis in a rematch and also stopped Japan’s Eijiro Murata, 18-0-3, having been held to a draw in Japan in their first title encounter. He stopped fellow Philadelphian Johnny “Dancing Machine” Carter, 23-1, who he lost to in his short amateur career. In 1983 he defeated future Hall of Famer Gaby Canizales, 24-1. Later that year he lost a non-title fight to Oscar Muniz, 35-3-3, out of L.A. He would stop Muniz in a title fight before the year was out.
In April of 1984 Chandler was stopped and lost his title to Richie Sandoval, 22-0, in which would be his last fight. He would undergo removal of a traumatic cataract from his left eye and retire shortly afterwards. J Russell Peltz was his promoter and is an IBHOF inductee and still promoting in Philadelphia. You would almost think this is an article about Chandler who was inducted into both the World Boxing Hall of Fame and the IBHOF.
Chandler was introduced into the ring recently on April 29th at the Temple University Liacouras Center where he watch Philadelphia bantamweight Christian Carto, 9-0 (9), score his ninth straight knockout in a row since turning professional. As usual Carto stole the show with his performance. He was the National Golden Gloves champion in 2015 and is trained by former amateur success Mickey Rosati in his trainer’s gym over his auto body shop in South Philadelphia.
Carto’s brother Frank is an amateur and his father Frank recently said “Manny and Christian have sparred together many times”. Carto comes from a long line of boxers with two uncles and a grandfather who boxed. Hard Hitting Promotions has been promoting him since he turned professional in July of 2016. His next fight should be at the Tropicana Casino in Atlantic City, NJ, sometime in June. He is a boxer-puncher.
The other “little big man” is super bantamweight Manny “Major Pain” Folly, 10-0 (8), out of Philadelphia who has served on the city Police force for the past three years. He trains out of the Rock Ministry Gym in the Kensington section of the city under owner, trainer and manager Buddy Osborn who also had a successful amateur career. In his last bout he stopped veteran Luis Hinojosa, 30-10, at the 2300 Arena in South Philadelphia. He too, usually is fighter of the night.
Before turning professional in 2013 Folly was a Bronze Medalist in the National Golden Gloves. It’s been a lot more difficult for this 25 year-old since he has worked on swing shift to squeeze in a professional boxing career only averaging two fights a year. He reminds one of a “back-in-the Day” boxer with a Philadelphia style of boxer-puncher.
Both Carto and Folly have a large following and with a combined record of 19-0 with 17 knockouts one would suspect a good following. Besides they are two of the nicest and respectful young boxers out of the city.So Philadelphia has not only one “big little man” but two. Keep your eye on both of them in the future!
The Big Drama Show: Starring Triple G and Canelo
The Big Drama Show: Starring Triple G and Canelo
By: Kirk Jackson
Gennady Golovkin 37-0 (33 KO’s) is the unified middleweight champion. He is undefeated, a power puncher, possessing an action-packed, crowd-pleasing style; typically creating a dramatic show inside the ring.
His last fight against cancer survivor Danny Jacobs 32-2 (29 KO’s) was no exception.
But instead of the typical dominant fashion Golovkin generally displays, the man from Kazakhstan struggled against the ‘Miracle Man’ from Brooklyn.
Jacobs not only ended Golovkin’s knockout streak, but took Golovkin to deep waters going the full 12 rounds in their championship clash.
Some spectators believe Jacobs won the fight. That is subjective, but the three judges scored the fight for Golovkin.
But in victory, doubts were created by some and beliefs were confirmed with others.
Enter Saul “Canelo” Alvarez 49-1-1 (34 KO’s). The torch bearer of boxing, the “Golden Boy” – post the original “Golden Boy” (Oscar De La Hoya) and post the Floyd Mayweather era.
Alvarez, Mayweather, Miguel Cotto are some of the SMALLER fighters Golovkin is in pursuit of amidst his middleweight reign.
Alvarez, who prior to this Cinco de Mayo weekend never fought above 155lbs., destroyed long-time rival Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. at a 164.5lb.catch-weightmarketed as a Mexican Civil-War.
This appeared to be a strategic move planned by Team Alvarez and Golden Boy Promotions in preparation for Golovkin; acclimating Alvarez to the higher weight class, destroying a long-time rival while reeling in a ton of cash.
This is chess, not checkers.
As an observer, I always assumed the highly discussed bout between Alvarez and Golovkin would take place September of 2017.
Rather corny WWE-themed entrance and announcement of the fight, but alas we finally have our fight.
Leading up to the fight with Chavez Jr., Alvarez mentioned staying in the middleweight division, suggesting a fight with Golovkin was in the making.
“Look, I’m not a current world champion at middleweight. I have been in the past, but I’m not now,” said Alvarez.
“And as far as the weight, after this fight, I’m not looking past this fight. I’m focused 100 percent on this fight, but I’m now staying at middleweight. I’ll stay at 160 pounds.”
But with boxing or any sport, business is always involved and there is a process to creating the biggest events.
Negotiations have to take place, the element of doubt is important, creating a greater demand of want or desire for the bout. In essence there is a cinematic element in and out the ring.
Apparently Alvarez’s teampitched an offer to Golovkinin September of last year,after his ninth-round demolition of WBO super welterweight champion Liam Smith.
Golden Boy made a number of proposals to Tom Loeffler (Triple G’s promoter) for a fight the following fall and he “didn’t accept.”
There were rumored discussions of a $15 million dollar purse for Golovkin and Golden Boy promoter De La Hoya portrayed Golovkin’s camp as reluctant to take a lucrative deal to face Canelo in 2017.
“I didn’t want to talk about any other offers that we had made to anyone else,” De La Hoya said. “I know you know what I’m talking about.”
“So 30 days ago I made an offer to Triple G and his people. I made an eight-figure offer. I believe it’s an offer that was two, three, four times what he’s ever made and haven’t heard back. And that’s the bottom line.”
In response, Loeffler told RingTV.com after the fight that Golden Boy’s offer wasn’t substantial enough, but remains committed to make a fight with Canelo.
“There were some preliminary discussions with Golden Boy,” Loeffler said. “But nothing of substance that was turned down.Golovkin would have fought Canelo [Alvarez] last May if that would have been possible (before Canelo vacated the title to his mandatory Golovkin).”
If the offer from Golden Boy was indeed valid, may regret refusing the offer, overestimating their worth – considering the fight purses earned in the past.
Golovkin vs. Jacobs = $2.5 million
Golovkin vs. Brook = $5 million
Golovkin vs. Lemieux = $2 million
These are Golovkin’s biggest fights to date and the prize money earned pales in comparison to the $15 million dollar offer.
The question now is what changed from a negotiation standpoint from last year to this year? Or perhaps nothing changed; this was just a ploy all along.
Even with recent news regarding Golovkin cancelling a proposed match with WBO middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders 24-0 (12 KO’s) due to injury.
Golovkin mentioned unifying the middleweight division and capturing all the belts numerous times in the past; perhaps the proposed match-up with Saunders was a negotiation chip in attempt to seize some form of leverage.
On every other level Team Golovkin lacks leverage; views, pay-per-view buys, popularity, money earned, opposition faced.
But, Golovkin has leverage in the form of public perception. In the eyes of many, “Triple G” is one of the most avoided fighters in recent memory.
Public perception paints Golovkin as a “Boogeyman” due to his punching power and the reluctance of a few fighters willing fight him.
Although public perception alone can’t force a fight, each party involved can play to the demand of the fight and work the desire to their favor.
We’ve occasionally witnessed from Team Alvarez teasing the audience, or flat-out downplaying the fight with Golovkin.
Part of the drama associated with Alvarez and Golovkin falling through was the issue revolving around the WBC belt.
Alvarez earned the lineal middleweight title along with the WBC middleweight title, defeating Miguel Cotto in December of 2015. Over the last year or so, Alvarez publically discussed his disgust with the WBC.
Golovkin was the No. 1 contender for the WBC middleweight title and when Alvarez’s handlers attempted to extend the 15 day time period (to process a selection for title defense), in which WBC President Mauricio Sulaiman refused.
Alvarez responded by vacating the WBC title – the sanctioning body in responseawarded to Golovkin, who at the time held the interim-belt as the mandatory challenger for the title.
“Sulaiman was pressuring me on a 15 day basis to make a decision on this fight with Golovkin, when I had some problems in Miami,” said Alvarez.
“You guys know about that. I can’t attend one thing and another at the same time. He made it seem like I was afraid of Golovkin, so I gave up the belt. So that’s why they are not involved, not now.”
Alvarez didn’t even want to fight for the customized Mexican-WBC belt against Chavez Jr.
“From the very beginning, the WBC wanted to get involved with this fight (vs. Chavez) and when we as a team said ‘no, it’s not going to happen, there is no WBC, it’s not for a world title’ – we knew that at some point something was going to come up,” said Alvarez.
“We spoke to Mr. Sulaiman and told him that he was not going to be involved. He then came up with this Huichol belt and I knew that he was going to use that against me in a negative way, to make me look like the bad guy – that I want nothing to do with the Huichols.”
WBC drama aside, the fight between Golovkin and Alvarez is signed, but this added an element to their “Drama show.”
Not caving in to public perception added to what we have as the “Drama show.”
The fight between the two is two years in the making and both fighters have similar paths in the same time period.
They both entered the ring as bigger men against welterweights; Alvarez against Amir Khan in May of 2016 and Golovkin following suit against Kell Brook October of the same year.
Golovkin and Alvarez triumphed over a tough opponent; Golovkin over Jacobs and Alvarez over Cotto.
They both had their share of tune-up/showcase fights; Alvarez against James Kirkland, Smith and Chavez Jr., Golovkin against Willie Monroe Jr., Dominic Wade and Lemieux.
Plenty of drama leading up to this fight, both fighters have the propensity to create drama inside the ring, all we can do is wait until they step in the ring and watch the drama unfold.
Boxing Insider Interview with Gilberto Zurdo Ramirez: The Next Big Thing
Boxing Insider Interview with Gilberto Zurdo Ramirez: The Next Big Thing
By: Francisco Martinez
Gilberto Zurdo Ramirez a 168lbs southpaw standing 6′ 2” with technical boxing ability along with speed and stamina and not to mention good looks is an easy sell to the public. This coming Saturday April 22nd he’s set to step back into the ring after a lay off do to a hand injury and defend his WBO 168lbs title for the first time against Max Bursak of Germany in a triple header card which will also showcase Oscar Valdez and Jessie Magdaleno whom will also defend their versions of the WBO title at 126lbs and 122lbs. All in a stacked Top Rank promotions PPV card at the StubHub Center in Carson, California.
BoxingInsider was at hand for the media day at the famed Magnifico Boxing Gym own by 3 time champion, legend Israel El Magnifico Vazquez who’s gym resides in Southgate, Los Angeles as Zurdo Ramirez, Oscar Valdez and Jessie Magdaleno worked out in front of the media and fans we managed to get a few quotes from Zurdo as he taped up for his workout and this is what he had to say.
BoxingInsider: “How was training camp?”
Zurdo Ramirez: “Really good, really good, my preparation is done now” says with a big smile on his face.
BoxingInsider: “You look very happy why?”
Zurdo Ramirez: “Because the fight is really close and I’m really happy. One year and 13 days out of the ring and now it’s time to go back”
Zurdo Ramirez was suppose to defend his title on the night Manny Pacquiao soundly defeated Jessie Vargas but Zurdo suffered a hand injury which required surgery and has kept him out of the ring since April of last year. Although not being able to compete Zurdo maintained active while back home in Mazatlan, Mexico where he kept his physical shape in tact by running, swimming and strength and conditioning work. Something trainer’s, father and son Jesus and Hector Zapari feel benefited him greatly being out of the ring from over a year.
BoxingInsider: “So that was on your mind the whole time to step back into the ring?”
Zurdo Ramirez: “Yeah because one year out of the ring and now it’s closer to the fight and I’m really happy”
The bigger picture here lays within the victory of April 22nd if Zurdo Ramirez manages to successfully defend his title the possibility of a showdown with Kazak powerhouse Gennady Golovkin will be explored as both Bob Arum and Tom Loeffler have expressed great interest in this possible match up. One that the boxing community is also hoping for. After his tough earned and controversial victory against Daniel Jacobs Gennady Golovkin and his team went on record that a June fight date versus Billy Joe Sunders was the goal and with a win Gennady would move up to 168lbs as undisputed status was his ultimate vision regardless of the potential Canelo fight they were not gonna wait for him.
Those comments sparked legendary promoter Bob Arum to quickly say Zurdo Ramirez would “destroy” Gennady Golovkin and that he would be looking to make that fight. A fight Zurdo and his team are also hoping for but not over looking their April 22nd assignment. Zurdo assures us that “first thing is first, first thing is April 22nd, Max Bursak and after that like I say doesn’t matter whatever comes. I have the skills, power, everything. I’m really confident about me, myself that’s why I asked for that fight but I need to win this fight (April 22nd)”
Trainer Hector Zapari also confident in Zurdo and likes the idea of a Gennady Golovkin fight “yeah for sure Zurdo is a very complete fighter, yeah, Zurdo beats Golovkin for sure” with Gennady Golovkin now passing up on that June fight date which could have possibly ended up taking place if his home country of Kazakhstan not happening it opens the door for a possible move to 168lbs or he awaits the winner of Saul Alvarez vs Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. but given the general opinion that Alvarez will have an easy night this coming May 6th a possible Alvarez vs Golovkin fight is a little sketchy do to the history of their negotiations which have lead to nowhere and can only leave the door open for other possibilities with one of those being Zurdo Ramirez.
Tune in this April 22nd for the Top Rank promotions PPV triple header at the StubHub Center in Carson, California. Follow complete coverage leading up to the fight by using #TopRankBoxing