Jerry Forrest is glad Jarrell Miller got caught.
But even if the controversial heavyweight contender would’ve slipped past the Nevada State Athletic Commission’s testing for performance-enhancing drugs, Forrest is confident he would’ve beaten Miller anyway Thursday night. Forrest’s fight with Miller was scrapped June 27, when it was revealed Miller failed another PED test last month (https://www.boxingscene.com/jarrell-miller-tests-fails-another-ped-test-out-july-9-fight-with-jerry-forrest--149807).
“Of course, I’m against taking PEDs,” Forrest told BoxingScene.com. “But I still feel I could’ve beat him because he’s not a better boxer than me. He’s gonna be able to throw more punches and things of that nature. I completely get that. I just feel like, in my gut, his boxing skills are still stagnant, and he doesn’t change who he is in the ring.”
Forrest’s opponent changed from Miller to Cameroon’s Carlos Takam, who is a slight favorite to defeat Forrest in a 10-round main event ESPN will televise from MGM Grand Conference Center in Las Vegas (8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT). The 39-year-old Takam (38-5-1, 28 KOs) is a tough, experienced opponent who has faced a much higher level of competition than Forrest, but Forrest had hoped to prove himself against the polarizing Miller (23-0-1, 20 KOs) in what was supposed to be Miller’s comeback bout from a PED scandal last year.
“I don’t think much of him as a fighter,” Forrest said, referring to Miller. “I mean, he can box a little bit. But to me, a lot of guys are made because of where they are. He was in Gleason’s Gym, training or whatever, and then [promoter Dmitriy] Salita put him on TV. That’s my opinion. They found guys he can beat. That’s why I know for a fact I would’ve smashed him. Honestly, Joey Dawejko crushed him. He lost that Joey Dawejko fight [a majority draw in January 2013]. You can’t even find that fight online anymore.
“He’s been beat before. They just found a lot of guys that they gave him the win against. But you fight a guy like me, Joey Dawejko, we’re gonna crush a guy like ‘Big Baby’ Miller. He’s not a boxer. He’s an MMA fighter that walked into a gym, a guy had money and they put him on TV. They created ‘Big Baby’ Miller. You know what I mean? This isn’t a guy who came through the rankings, knocking guys out in the amateurs and hurting guys as a pro. No, no, no, no. This is a guy that’s promoted by Salita and they blew him up. It was just marketing.”
Miller beat Gerald Washington, Mariusz Wach, Johann Duhaupas, Tomasz Adamek and Bogdan Dinu in five successive fights from July 2017 to November 2018. Those wins and Miller’s mouth were enough to secure a shot at then-unbeaten British superstar Anthony Joshua’s IBF, IBO, WBA and WBO heavyweight titles in June 2019 at Madison Square Garden.
Brooklyn’s Miller tested positive for three banned substances two months before making what would’ve been a career-high $5 million payday for facing Joshua. Andy Ruiz Jr. replaced Miller, dropped Joshua four times and produced one of the biggest upsets in boxing history, a seventh-round technical knockout.
The 31-year-old Miller signed a promotional contract with Bob Arum’s Top Rank Inc. late in January. The NSAC temporarily suspended him last week for testing positive for a PED again.
The 32-year-old Forrest (26-3, 20 KOs), a southpaw from Newport News, Virginia, believes he would’ve become the first fighter to officially beat Miller had they fought Thursday night.
“I say I’d beat him with the PEDs because the PEDs aren’t gonna give him more skill,” Forrest said. “I mean, realistically, PEDs are gonna do a couple of things for him – he may be able to output more and he’s gonna be able to take more punishment. But that’s it. It’s not gonna raise his IQ. It’s not gonna make him less lazy. You know what I mean? I prepared to go 10 or 12 rounds with him. The thing with ‘Big Baby’ Miller you’ve gotta look at it is he’s not a power puncher. He comes in and he punches you with all of his body weight. That’s not a hard hitter. That’s someone that uses their body weight.
“You cut him off, you use angles with ‘Big Baby’ Miller, you utilize a jab with ‘Big Baby’ Miller, his eyes would be black, honestly. He’s super susceptible to a jab. It’s funny, because I told that to coaches in New York that called me, and we were talking about it. And they were like, ‘Yeah, that’s really all my guys do when they wanna get the upper edge on him.’ With a guy like ‘Big Baby’ Miller, man, you box him in circles. He’s too big to try to square up and fight all day long. No, no, no, no. I’m gonna super box this guy. That’s it.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.