Jerry Forrest feels the time is long overdue to send a message to those cheating in boxing.
The veteran heavyweight hopes the Nevada State Athletic Commission imposes a lifetime ban on Jarrell Miller for failing another performance-enhancing drug test. Miller was supposed to fight Forrest in a 10-round main event ESPN would’ve televised Thursday night from Las Vegas, but Miller ruined his comeback from a previous PED ordeal by testing positive for one of the same banned substances that cost him a $5 million payday and a shot at Anthony Joshua’s four world titles last year.
“I think they will ban him,” Forrest told BoxingScene.com. “I hope it’s for a lifetime. Look at it like this – if he kills anybody in the ring, and it’s because of PEDs, it’s [committing] murder. That’s cheating to the max. This isn’t like Lance Armstrong, taking a PED, beating cancer and all of that stuff, and then he’s cycling. You get what I’m saying?
“We’re punching people in the head here. This isn’t a scandal. This is real life, attempted murder. You can kill someone with a blow to the head. If you’re on a PED and you’re giving someone a blow to the head, that is attempted murder. You’re using a foreign [substance] in a combat sport. To me, that’s unacceptable. I can never accept that.”
Forrest wants the NSAC to come down as hard as possible on Miller mostly because he is a repeat offender.
Brooklyn’s Miller, 31, reportedly tested positive last month for GW501516, also known as cardarine and endurobol. Late in March 2019, two months before he was scheduled to challenge England’s Joshua at Madison Square Garden, he tested positive for GW501516, human growth hormone and erythropoietin, more commonly known as EPO.
The 6-feet-4, 315-pound Miller wasn’t suspended for failing those tests administered by the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association because he wasn’t licensed at that time by the New York State Athletic Commission. Miller previously was suspended for nine months by the California State Athletic Commission for testing positive for the PED methylhexanamine after a kickboxing bout in June 2014.
Miller (23-0-1, 20 KOs) has been temporarily suspended by the NSAC, which will hear his case at one of its upcoming monthly meetings.
“Someone has to be the example,” Forrest said. “I say that because if you make it look acceptable with him, someone else is gonna try it. And I just feel like right now is the time to put a ban on it and say, ‘Look, we won’t accept it. We won’t tolerate it. Fighters can lose their lives. Fighters can be hurt tremendously doing this. And it just shouldn’t be accepted.’ ”
Lou DiBella, whose company promotes Forrest, and Eddie Hearn, Joshua’s promoter, have suggested Miller has developed a psychological dependence on PEDs that made him do something so egregious. Forrest figures Miller is just plain lazy.
“In my opinion, he’s taking PEDs because he’s lazy,” Forrest said. “That’s just my opinion. Guys will take something to void out something else. So, if he’s been taking PEDs for five or six years, 10 years, what’s the reason behind it? You’re lacking something mentally or physically. No one cheats just to cheat. You’re gonna cheat because you’re lacking something. So, what’s he lacking? Was it mental or was it physical? I would assume it’s his work ethic because he took the steroids and he shot up to 310 pounds. If he was a workaholic, he would be 270 – solid, solid, solid. He’s 310, solid.
“That means he’s putting on weight and muscle from the steroids, but he’s not working at all. He’s not running. He’s not putting in the work. I’m 225. I would walk around at 245, 250 easily, if I were to get out of shape. You don’t find me at that. It doesn’t matter when. I’m always 225. The biggest I’ll get is 235. We’re always in shape, always in the gym. So, you do it the right way, and there’s a difference. He was just lacking something and that’s why he did PEDs. What he was lacking, I don’t know. I would assume it’s the work ethic. It’s a lot easier to cheat than to put in the real work.”
The 32-year-old Forrest (26-3, 20 KOs), a southpaw from Newport News, Virginia, is thankful that the NSAC caught Miller before their fight. He’ll instead encounter Cameroon’s Carlos Takam (38-5-1, 28 KOs) in ESPN’s main event Thursday night at MGM Grand Conference Center.
“I was completely shocked,” Forrest said. “It’s like he slapped boxing in the face. Essentially, he slapped boxing in the face. But hey, you can’t make people do the right thing. I hope he gets suspended and he can never box again.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.