Jarrell “Big Baby” Miller isn’t on every fight fans love list.
Too jumbo, some say. Not enough power, others say.
Ah, but he keeps winning, doesn’t he?
On April 28 at Barclays Center, he rose to 21-0-1, with a UD-12 over Johann Duhaupus, but no, not everyone came aboard the “Big Baby” train. There are still holdouts, still folks who think he’s not all that. We chatted about the naysayers, and what they want from him, when he came in to Everlast headquarters, and came on the “Talkbox” podcast.
“This is the first fight where my right hand has not hurt, in about four or five fights,” he told me. “And my left elbow was holding up to par with no injuries, and I was pumpin’ the jab, doubling the heavyweight average, 11 or 12 a round, and I doubled the heavyweight punch output. Almost 800 punches! It was definitely the right direction. I feel great.”
But yet the people, the ones with the knives, they don’t take a break. Why didn’t he KO the guy? And why doesn’t he drop 50 pounds and fight at a weight that we think he’d be better at?
Miller took the queries with a chill pill, though he does call some of that negative chatter “stupidity.” He knows that this being America, the freedom of speech setup will mean barbs will be thrown at him. And he doesn’t fully disagree with the ones telling him to be just XL, not XXL.
“I’m trying to get my physique back to where I was in high school,” the fighter, born in Brooklyn and bred in Queens where 50 Cent was a neighbor, told me. “I was really a stocky guy, I’ve always been a stocky guy,” recalling he was 255 when he was 14 years old.
He says at 285-290, his physique is acceptable to him, and I wondered, is that for looks? Because he wants to look the part while being the part, while being able to throw 85 punches in the late innings? He said he wants to look admirable but also limit the beefiness, because he wants his legs to feel fresh.
“It’s for the people but it’s more so for myself,” he stated. It’s really all about winning the damned fights, though.
Does he not get irked at the Jennie Craigies, the folks who tell him to trim down pretty radically? Doesn’t seem so; Miller will keep eating cheeseburgers, he promised, but he won’t be scarfing fast food burgers. Basically, he takes the barbs with a couple grains of salt, because he realizes most of the critics haven’t been there, done that, trained their tail off, and taken punches like he does. He grew up being teased, so he doesn’t take it all to heart. He’d like people, like our President, he pointed out, to think before they speak, and not be hurtful with their language.
I did tell BBM that George Foreman told me that yes, maybe BBM is a bit too jumbo. He’d be better suited lighter, and he could look great, rather than good, at a lighter weight.
“I’m definitely never going to be 240,” he promised. He was last 240 at age 13, he shared with us. (I noted also that George has been trimming down radically himself, having dropped like 30 or more pounds in the last four months or so, so that might be influencing his POV regarding proper BMI.)
Miller said that he is by all means looking to improve, so no one should think that he’s totally accepting of where he is now. To that end, the 29-year-old stated that he’s had offers from both Roy Jones (who helped call his Saturday fight with Jim Lampley and Max Kellerman) and also James Toney to convene, and learn some tricks of the trade.
Miller said that Max told him after that he was pretty impressed and he came around to more so appreciating Miller’s arsenal after seeing him against Duhaupus.
Also, is promoter/partner Dmitriy Salita working on his next? Maybe angling for a fight with Manuel Charr, who holds a WBA secondary heavyweight belt? Indeed, that grapevine chatter is not fake news, he said. He told Salita that could be a good plan of attack.
“Charr is someone we want to knock the hell out,” Miller said.
More BBM news: We touched on his relationship with 50 Cent. The last two years “he’s been keeping an eye on me” the heavyweight said, and they knew each other from back in the day with Fiddy.
And has 50 really taught him business moves? He is pretty good with innate business knowledge, he told me, and he learned on the way up. Back in the hood, he learned some off the righteous path business, but then saw the error of his ways, realized that such business dealings can result in state-sponsored vacations, so he saw the light.
Def Jam, he said, is working with him, and he’s working on a theme song and an EP, and is in concert with the rapper Casanova.
“I’m definitely a better rapper than Broner,” he said, chuckling. “Floyd was good. Floyd came out with one or two songs. One to 10 I give it a two,” he said, when I pressed him on Floyd’s skills in that arena.
Miller said that he is feeling loyal to HBO, and he thinks Showtime’s roster is “too big.” He didn’t get into detail, but said that he has felt like he’s been treated more as a full-on human on the HBO side. HBO did a good job showing his friendship with a teen girl who has cancer. They want to do a bone marrow procedure on the girl, Lily Weaver.
“She’s dope, her energy is real,” he told me. His aunt had colon cancer and so he knows the strain the disease can put on a whole family.
The fighter said he’s over that beef over a lady with Deontay Wilder, and he wants to look forward, and be patient, and be more choosy with his words, and louder with his actions. He thinks that Wilder and Anthony Joshua more so allow advisers to steer their ship and he likes to be more independent. He’s not signed with Eddie Hearn, the promoter, and he likes to be in direct contact with the network, meaning HBO.
“You get punched in the head, they don’t,” he said of those ‘wise men’ who like to gather round and give advice when athletes scoot up the ladder.
And how does he steer away from people who want to befriend him, keep the posse from over mushrooming? Miller said he does indeed recall who was there “before,” and tries to be picky that no pure takers latch on to his train.
“Everyone is going to work for theirs as I work for mine,” he said, telling me that he’s not afraid to be direct in family or friends or whatever that there are no free rides.
The session with Miller is relaxed and informative. We touched on more issues, such as what he thinks of Halo Top ice cream; on whether he’s reached out to McDonald’s and/or Burger King, or other burger franchises; and what heavyweight he thinks is just way too corny in his speech and actions.