By Keith Idec
NEW YORK – Gerald Washington doesn’t feel Jarrell Miller can back up all of his trash talk.
The former USC football player suspects Miller’s over-the-top public bravado is a mere mask for self-doubt about Miller’s ability the thrive against the top fighters in the heavyweight division. Washington, who lost to WBC champion Deontay Wilder by fifth-round technical in his last fight, is confident Miller (18-0-1, 16 KOs) isn’t ready for the step up in competition he’ll take when he faces Washington (18-1-1, 12 KOs) in a non-televised, 10-round fight on the Adrien Broner-Mikey Garcia undercard Saturday night at Barclays Center.
“I’m sure he learned a lot from Shannon Briggs, and what a big mouth can do,” Washington told BoxingScene.com following a press conference Thursday in Manhattan. “This guy has talked himself into this position. This guy loves this limelight and this attention that he’s getting, with all this media coverage. This is the biggest fight of his career and I know that. He’s gonna have a lot of pressure on him to perform well in the ring.
“But I’m a great fighter in the making. I’m a champion on the rise and I’m gonna show him Saturday night. I’m gonna put this stiff jab in his face, he’s not gonna be able to catch up to me, I’m gonna wear him out and knock him out. As soon as I see him start to slow down, I’m gonna step up on him and start letting the bombs go.”
The 6-feet-4, 298-pound Miller hasn’t fought in nearly a year, in part due to a disagreement between Miller and co-promoters Dmitriy Salita and Greg Cohen that has been rectified. The 6-feet-6, 248-pound Washington is 35, but the late-developing boxer from Vallejo, California, says he is ready to ruin the 29-year-old Miller’s return to the ring in his hometown of Brooklyn.
“I think he’s really trying to convince himself and bring what he can to this fight,” Washington said. “I think he knows that I’m very well-prepared, that I’ve had some great experiences lately and I’ve put in the work to come to Brooklyn to beat him in his hometown. He’s a big guy, but we all know what that equates to in the ring. Yeah, he’s big and strong, and can punch. But I don’t think that he can keep up with me in the ring.”
Washington questioned Miller’s level of opposition since the former kickboxer turned back to boxing full-time.
“He’s done what he’s needed to do with those guys, but now he’s stepping up,” Washington said. “And he’s stepping up to the wrong guy. This guy keeps talking about how he wants to make chicken soup and fry some chicken. This guy has had enough to eat and the rooster [Washington’s nickname] is not something he wants in his diet. It would be very bad for his health.
“It’s gonna be a great fight here at the Barclays. This is very exciting to me. Him talking has got me motivated and it’s inspired me and made it fun for me. It took that little edge off. It’s gonna be a good, competitive fight, and I look forward to it.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.