On Shobox last Friday night, aspiring heavyweight contender Jarrell “Big Baby” Miller remained undefeated, turning in a Round 8 KO of Donovan Dennis. Miller is already gaining attention for a personality as big as his XXL frame and it was on display after the fight, as he called out heavyweight belt holders Charles Martin and Deontay Wilder, along with lineal champion Tyson Fury.
If boxing was straight show business, Jarrell Miller would be the next champion for sure. At the very least, his gift for gab should allow him to get the opportunities a young fighter needs.
Dennis was probably the best opponent Miller has faced to date, aside from perhaps Akhror Muramilov, who he knocked out in three rounds last October. Dennis recorded a couple of solid wins last year in ESPN’s Boxcino tournament, knocking out previously undefeated Steve Vukosa and once-beaten Razvan Cojanu, before getting stopped in Round 8 by Andrey Fedosov in the finals.
Still, Dennis is no world beater and he was giving up 56 pounds to Miller. It was a decent win for Big Baby, but it hardly establishes him as a contender.
Miller is definitely ready to take the next step and face an opponent somewhere around the top 20. Somebody like Fedosov would be a terrific opponent for him, as would fellow unbeaten Gerald Washington. Dominic Breazeale, who struggled, but ultimately prevailed, over Amir Mansour last weekend would also be an interesting fight for Miller.
At the same time, don’t be shocked to see Miller get a title shot against Martin, although I blush to call it a “title shot,” since the IBF heavyweight strap is officially a joke at this point. But the IBF has granted Martin permission to take an optional opponent prior to facing his mandatory (a concession they were unwilling to grant Fury, despite the fact that he had beaten Wladimir Klitschko). Miller would certainly sell tickets in his native New York.
But if he is serious about making a run for the belt, Jarrell Miller should consider dropping about 25 pounds. His conditioning looked suspect against Dennis, even as his power bailed him out.