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Jarrell "Big Baby Miller"—Free at Last

By Robert Ecksel on January 30, 2020

Can he keep his nose clean, even allowing for the paltry punishment levied against him?

Undefeated heavyweight contender Jarrell “Big Baby” Miller (23-0-1, 20 KOs), having served his six-month suspension for having failed a pre-fight drug test, is returning to the ring.


With the slap on the wrist for testing positive prior to his fight with then-unified heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua behind him, “Big Baby” has signed with Top Rank so as to provide Tyson Fury with someone to fight, in the not too distant future, who is not European and an easier sell.


That he blew the chance of a lifetime against Joshua is neither here nor there. Hopefully he will stay clean. Hopefully he’ll explain how he thought beating the system in such an obvious manner would go undetected.


When the news of his failed drug test originally broke, Miller, having forgotten that denial is the most sincere form of admittance, went on the defensive.


“I am absolutely devastated upon hearing the news my boxing license has been revoked in NY State and I will be vigorously appealing this decision,” he wrote on Instagram. “I have NEVER knowingly taken any banned substance and when I found out the news last night I was totally shocked.”


He wasn’t alone.


“My team and I stand for integrity, decency & honesty and together we will stand to fight this with everything we have!


“I refuse to just lie down and let my dream be taken away from me when I know in my heart that I’ve done nothing wrong.


“Remember, don’t believe everything you hear and see. The facts will prevail and I shall be vindicated. I don’t have anything to hide and the truth will make itself known.”


Well, the truth made itself known and here we are.


Now, at the age of 31, and with Top Rank in his corner, “Big Baby” is on the comeback trail and we’ll keep an eye on his ability, and willingness, to fight without having to cheat.


“Jarrell Miller is serious about coming back,” Top Rank’s Bob Arum told Sky Sports, “doing things the right way and becoming heavyweight champion of the world.”


Miller will need a tune-up or two before he starts clamoring for a title shot. But because he is “one of boxing’s most unique and exciting characters, but most importantly, he can fight,” in Arum’s words, the wait won’t be long.


Miller is playing the villain instead of the victim this time around, which is preferable under the circumstances. But playacting aside, our concern is how long he can keep his nose clean, even allowing for the paltry punishment boxing levied against him.


“Everyone wants to portray the superhero,” Miller said. “We don’t live in a sunshine world. I’ll never be the superhero. In my world, the majority of the time, the villain wins.”


It’s a bleak worldview in which there’s some truth, but Sonny Liston said it better.


“A boxing match is like a cowboy movie,” he told TIME magazine. “There's got to be good guys, and there's got to be bad guys,” and, as echoed by Jarrell Miller, “I'm the bad guy—O.K., people want to think that, let them. The bad guys are supposed to lose. I change that. I win.”


Liston didn’t win in the end. Boxers rarely win in the end. Maybe Jarrell “Big Baby” Miller can rewrite the script now that he’s been given another chance.

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