Eddie Hearn had Michael Buffer introing, and told us DAZN had signed Buffer to an exclusive deal. Ex-ESPN bigwig John Skipper came on to the stage and told all that this chapter of his career had him ridiculously pumped, because he knows what sort of disruption Perform/DAZN will be trying to accomplish, and the world’s best-known heavyweight, Anthony Joshua, champ was in the house, drawing gawking and fan frenzy action.
But while specifics of the billion dollar deal between DAZN, the streaming service, and Hearn were laid out, and new signees like Demetrius Andrade basked in the glow of the West Village (NYC) studio space on Tuesday, it was Brooklyn heavyweight Jarrell “Big Baby” Miller who stole the show.
Yeah, he thieved it, Brooklyn style.
The waiters sashayed about and offered up ludicrously fancy drinks. But Miller brought an outer borough edge to the event, and he managed to push buttons on Joshua, maybe get him flustered, and pissed off enough that he may well have secured himself “next” for AJ after the Brit takes down Alexander Povetkin at Wembley Stadium on September 22, a bout that will stream on DAZN. (DAZN’s US service opens up on September 10).
That Brooklyn style — maybe that’s not the right term for it. But it was brazen, and profane, and effective at stirring the pot, when Miller, on stage to hype his October 6 tango against TBA in Chicago in the first U.S. DAZN show, started barking at AJ.
You saw Joshua’s face tighten, and it looked like he was trying to ignore Miller. Not easily done, being that the 320-pounder was ten feet away from him, yapping at him.
I asked Miller exactly what he said to AJ in this video.
”Listen, AJ, you sweet and low, cotton candy, you Apple Jacks, apple juice, pansy, thong-wearing sucker, you’re lucky Eddie Hearn was between me, or I’d have busted your ass. But I got a date with your mom anyway,” Miller said, also, in some audio captured by The Sporting News.
And when Joshua was informed about that reference, to his mum, he got even more irked. Like, steaming. Like, maybe was wanting to try and teach the Brooklyner a lesson, ASAP.
OK, maybe this is WWE-style talking, but I don’t think so, I don’t think AJ is on the same promotional page as Miller, and I do believe the jumbo pugilist got under his skin, and dumped a tablespoon of salt while in there.
That was Tuesday, and on Wednesday, boxing royalty injected themself into the mix. On Twitter, Brit legend Lennox Lewis came to AJ’s defense, and told followers how he’d have handled such an incursion. By avoiding the offender, in fact, is what Lewis said he’d do.
Miller wasn’t in playing nice mode, cowed by Lewis’ standing as a Hall of Famer. He kept on the verbal attack, but did so in respectful fashion. Deftly handled, I thought. Miller seems to know where the lines are, and how to tiptoe the edge, and not go over that line. AJ might not agree, though.
Yeah, this thing isn’t done. AJ will likely have a fight in America, to help US fans get to know him better, so as to make an AJ versus Deonaty Wilder as massive as it could and should be. But I do think it likely that Jarrell Miller has insinuated his massive frame into the mix, and will be in a position to screw up the best laid plans of Team AJ.