LAS VEGAS – Bob Arum believes Jarrell Miller.
Once Arum met with the besmirched Miller, the Hall-of-Fame promoter sensed sincerity from the unbeaten heavyweight contender regarding the performance-enhancing drug ordeal last year that cost Miller a payday in excess of $6 million to fight Anthony Joshua. Miller was removed from that fight after testing positive for three banned substances while training to challenge Joshua for the IBF, IBO, WBA and WBO titles June 1 at Madison Square Garden in New York.
Arum’s company, Top Rank Inc., announced last month that it signed Miller (23-0-1, 20 KOs) to a multi-fight co-promotional agreement. The Harvard-educated Arum realizes countless skeptics suspect Miller intentionally took PEDs to help increase his chances of upsetting Joshua, who was knocked down four times and stopped in the seventh round by Miller’s replacement, Andy Ruiz Jr.
“The way you address it, and I believe this, he claims that he didn’t know what was going into his system,” Arum told a small group of reporters following the final press conference Wednesday at MGM Grand for the Deontay Wilder-Tyson Fury rematch Saturday night. “And I’m sort of inclined to believe it. I mean, they get these street guys to train them and so forth. We’re gonna put him with a top nutritionist and he’s only gonna eat and abide by what the nutritionist tells him. Otherwise, I can’t promote him.”
When reminded of the widespread suspicion surrounding Miller, Arum referred to a conversation he had with Miller before agreeing to sign him.
“Again, I’m telling you just what he told me,” Arum said. “And it’s seems like it’s valid. Now, how could you not know? If a doctor or somebody gave me drugs to take because of illness or so forth, I wouldn’t know what I was putting in my system. I really wouldn’t.”
Arum didn’t offer details of his conversation with Miller.
Regardless, Miller tested positive for GW501516, also known as cardarine and endurobol, in a test administered by the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association last March 20. He also tested positive for human growth hormone and erythropoietin, also known as EPO, in separate samples taken March 31.
Miller admitted in the immediate aftermath of failing those tests that he “messed up.”
On Wednesday, Arum mentioned Miller could come back for what would be his first fight since November 2018 at some point in May in New York. Arum has been led to believe Brooklyn’s Miller would be able to box in New York, where he was supposed to challenge Joshua.
“What we made sure is in effect he served a suspension,” Arum said, referring to what would be more than a one-year layoff since those failed tests were revealed.
The 31-year-old Miller wasn’t licensed in New York when he failed those tests and thus wasn’t suspended by the New York State Athletic Commission.
Arum didn’t mention potential opponents for the 6-feet-4, 315-pound Miller’s next fight.
“We’re gonna see how good he is and then we’re gonna put him in good,” Arum said. “And then, we have all these heavyweights. He can fight some of our heavyweights, some of Eddie Hearn’s heavyweights or [Frank Warren’s] heavyweights. And people wanna see heavyweights.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.