By Thomas Gerbasi
Barclays Center, Brooklyn, New York - Unbeaten heavyweight contender Jarrell Miller has been chasing down a world title shot for a while now. On Saturday night in the co-main event at Barclays Center in his hometown of Brooklyn, he got one step closer with a clear-cut 12-round unanimous decision over France?s Johann Duhaupas in a WBA title eliminator.
Scores were 119-109 twice and 117-111.
Miller, who weighed in at a career-high 304.4 pounds, didn't appear to be slowed down by the extra weight in the opening frame, as he cut the ring off on the Duhaupas (244.2 pounds) and opened fire with both hands during the several times he caught him on the ropes.
Duhaupas smiled at Miller after taking another early barrage in round two, but there would be no such reaction after he ate a right uppercut that buckled his knees a minute in. A low blow by Miller bought Duhaupas a break, but when the action resumed, 'Big Baby' was back on the attack, wrapping up another round on the scorecards.
There were some good close quarters exchanges in the third frame, and while Miller still led the action, he was giving Duhaupas more than a few opportunities to get himself back in the fight.
Miller picked the pace up again in round four, and though he got drilled by a hard uppercut by Duhaupas, he was apparently unbothered by the blow, as he got right back to business, simply outworking his opponent.
In rounds five through seven, Duhaupas continued to show his grit and his chin, as he took several hard power shots and shook them off before responding with plenty of punches of his own, turning the fight into a war of attrition.
By round eight, Duhaupas was having success with his potshots as Miller tired, but he was not hurting the New Yorker or staying busy enough to make a significant move to win the fight.
The ninth was another Miller round, and though he drew blood from his opponent's mouth in the tenth frame, Duhaupas wasn't able to take advantage of Miller?s rapidly emptying gas tank.
The 11th round was when WBC champion Deontay Wilder stopped Duhaupas in their 2015 bout, and if Miller wanted to match that result, he made the effort, but the gutsy Frenchman wouldn't go down, extending the bout for three more minutes despite a long look from the ringside doctor between rounds.
There would be no miracle comeback for Duhaupas in the 12th round, but he undoubtedly earned some fans for his effort in defeat.
With the win, Miller improves to 21-0-1 with 18 KOs. Duhaupas falls to 37-5 with 24 KOs.