Jerry Forrest will fight a “Big Baby” on a Top Rank show ESPN will air after all.
The “Real Big Baby,” if you ask hard-hitting heavyweight prospect Jared Anderson.
BoxingScene.com has learned that the undefeated Anderson (12-0, 12 KOs) and Forrest (26-5-2, 20 KOs) have agreed to square off on the Teofimo Lopez-Jose Pedraza undercard December 10 at Madison Square Garden in New York. Forrest is 0-2-2 in his past four fights, but his two draws during that stretch came against American Michael Hunter and then-unbeaten Chinese southpaw Zhang Zhieli, heavyweights who were on the cusp of moving into position for title shots.
After back-to-back draws with Zhilei (majority) and Hunter (split) in 2021, Forrest lost a unanimous decision to Bulgaria’s Kubrat Pulev in his last fight. Forrest tore a muscle in his chest during the early rounds against Pulev, who won their 10-round match May 14 at The Forum in Inglewood, California by scores of 98-92, 99-91 and 99-91.
Though he hasn’t won a fight since September 2019, Forrest should test Anderson’s impressive power. The southpaw from Newport News, Virginia has been knocked out only once in 33 professional fights, and not since Gerald Washington stopped him in the second round of an August 2013 bout at Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio, California.
Forrest, 34, was supposed to fight Jarrell “Big Baby” Miller in an ESPN main event in July 2020. The besmirched Miller failed yet another test for performance-enhancing drugs, however, and was removed from that fight.
Cameroon’s Carlos Takam replaced Miller on short notice and defeated Forrest by unanimous decision in their 10-rounder at MGM Grand Conference Center in Las Vegas.
The 22-year-old Anderson has been touted by former sparring partner Tyson Fury and legendary promoter Bob Arum as a future heavyweight champion. The Toledo, Ohio native helped prepare the undefeated Fury for his back-to-back stoppages of former WBC champ Deontay Wilder in February 2020 and October 2021.
The 6-foot-4, 240-pound Anderson most recently knocked out Serbia’s Miljan Rovcanin (24-3, 16 KOs) in the second round of a scheduled eight-rounder August 27 at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Tulsa, Oklahoma. His fight with Forrest will be the first 10-rounder of Anderson’s three-year pro career.
In addition to the 12-round junior welterweight bout between Brooklyn’s Lopez (17-1, 13 KOs) and Puerto Rico’s Pedraza (29-4-1, 14 KOs) and the Anderson-Forrest fight, ESPN’s three-bout broadcast December 10 also will feature highly touted lightweight prospect Keyshawn Davis (6-0, 5 KOs). An opponent for Davis, of Norfolk, Virginia, hadn’t been secured as of Wednesday.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.