THERE’S a new heavyweight on the scene – Jarrell ‘Big Baby’ Miller – and tomorrow night (August 19) he fights the durable Fred Kassi in a bid to move a step closer to the division’s big names.
The unbeaten 28-year-old is making a name for himself with highlight-reel knockouts and over the top interviews. He’s 17-0 (with one draw) and has only gone the distance twice – though never a full 10 rounds, which this fight is scheduled for.
He is absolutely convinced that, despite his inexperience, he has the beating of Anthony Joshua, Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder. The latter, America’s leading heavyweight and the reigning WBC champion, seems a particularly key target for Miller, who fights Kassi as a part of the ShoBox series.
Miller actually started out as a kickboxer, amassing a decent professional record. He did, however, also open a pro boxing account in 2009, though didn’t fight for a second time until 2011 after he finally decided to stop pursuing kickboxing.
It was yet another year until he fought for a third time but since then he has kept himself active, hammering journeymen and a couple of gatekeepers along the way.
He’s currently on a six-fight knockout streak and finds himself ranked highly by most of the major governing bodies – it might not be long before we see him get his chance at world honours.
First, he must move past the teak-tough Kassi who, despite coming off of three defeats and a draw, will be Miller’s toughest test to date. Though that is not to say it’s a particularly competitive fight – Miller is a heavy favourite.
Last time out Kassi dropped a technical decision to Hughie Fury and prior to that had been outpointed by Dominic Breazeale and drew with Chris Arreola – both of which were contentious. Before that, Amir Mansour knocked him out, his only stoppage loss to date.
Clearly, Kassi is the sort of name wheeled out for hot prospects to scalp before moving on to bigger and better things – both Arreola and Breazeale moved on to world title fights.
The New Orleans based Cameroonian can take a lot of punishment though has a tendency to take large breaks in fights, but can be difficult to pin down. Miller is undeniably heavy-handed though sometimes eschews technical skill in pursuit of a knockout.
Despite his large frame, Miller has quick hands and likes to throw lengthy combinations. Kassi may frustrate him at times, but Miller is likely to find the right shots to force a stoppage around the eighth round.