Lou DiBella warned Jerry Forrest before Forrest accepted a six-figure purse for his fight against Jarrell Miller that Miller might very well test positive again for a performance-enhancing drug.
Forrest’s promoter told anyone who would listen over the past couple weeks that he suspected Miller was using PEDs again as he prepared for his return from a PED debacle last year. DiBella wishes he were wrong, but he is relieved that Forrest won’t encounter more than boxing’s inherent danger when he enters the ring July 9 in Las Vegas, probably against Carlos Takam.
DiBella still feels that the boxing establishment failed Forrest, and even Miller, by not having more regular, restrictive PED testing in place prior to their fight.
“I knew he was dirty,” DiBella told BoxingScene.com on Saturday. “I just instinctively knew. But you know what? I’ve gotta be honest – I am mad at boxing. And it’s my industry, so I’m not eliminating myself when I say boxing. I’m mad at our industry because the kid is a troubled person and we didn’t do him any favors by not enforcing any normal protocols. When he blew that heavyweight title fight at The Garden, it was incumbent upon on some commission or the Association of Boxing Commissions or the ratings organizations or whoever to say, ‘You’re not fighting again unless you go into the 365-day-a-year testing.’ Legally, they felt they couldn’t suspend him. But they at least could’ve compelled him to be tested. At least that might’ve smoked this out when he didn’t have a fight scheduled. Or it might’ve kept him honest. This way, he has no reason to stay honest.”
The 31-year-old Miller failed Voluntary Anti-Doping Association tests for three separate substances in March 2019, two-plus months before he was scheduled to challenge England’s Anthony Joshua for the IBF, IBO, WBA and WBO heavyweight titles at Madison Square Garden in New York. Brooklyn’s Miller was removed from the Joshua bout, but he wasn’t suspended because he had yet to be licensed by the New York State Athletic Commission when he failed those tests.
BoxingScene.com has been informed that Miller had not received a license from the Nevada State Athletic Commission, either, but that all of his paperwork had been submitted to the NSAC. The NSAC, which then ordered Miller to undergo PED testing in accordance with its protocols, thus will treat Miller as a licensed boxer.
Bob Arum, Miller’s new promoter, told BoxingScene.com that the NSAC will temporarily suspend Miller on Monday. Arum also informed BoxingScene.com that Miller (23-0-1, 20 KOs) tested positive recently for one of the same three banned substances that cost him the Joshua fight (https://www.boxingscene.com/arum-miller-failed-test-1-same-3-substances-joshua-fight--149809).
DiBella suggested a three-year ban because Miller is a repeat offender, but he stopped short of endorsing a lifetime suspension. Before the infamous instance in which he blew a $6 million-plus payday for fighting Joshua, the California State Athletic Commission suspended Miller for nine months when he tested positive for the PED methylhexanamine before a kickboxing bout in June 2014.
“The first time he tested positive, he wasn’t in boxing,” DiBella said. “The time he tested positive for everything [before the Joshua fight], no one suspended him. So, I think it’s gonna get into legalities, also. For everything that happened [before the Joshua fight], because of a technicality he wasn’t suspended. Now, that being said, do I think he should be suspended for life? Honestly, he doesn’t belong in boxing right now. And if it’s not a lifetime ban, it should be a very substantial ban. It should be something like three years. It should be something where a major message is sent.
“I’m not gonna say it has to be a lifetime ban. Part of the reason I’m not gonna say it should be a lifetime ban is because I think there’s something wrong with this kid. I know him forever and I just can’t bring myself to dislike him. I’ve always sort of liked him. But there’s some sort of psychological compulsion, where there’s something in his psyche that’s really f*cked up. It’s gotta be a very, very stringent penalty. I’m not necessarily gonna scream lifetime, but I can tell you, as a lawyer, the fact that he was not suspended by any state for what happened [before] the Joshua fight may make it difficult for them to issue a lifetime suspension. Three years for an athlete is an extraordinary amount of time. And that kind of suspension would not trouble me.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.