Brooklyn’s legacy of heavyweight champions is a rich one and Jarrell Miller may be the latest to carry the torch in boxing’s premier division.
Floyd Patterson, Mike Tyson, Riddick Bowe, Michael Moorer and Shannon Briggs are just some of the names to hold tight the boxing fabric of the New York borough, all five heavyweights would go on to claim world honours and etch their name in pugilism’s interminable history.
Miller plans to be the next in the line, the heir to Brooklyn’s throne and the fast-talking powerhouse ticks all the fictitious boxes, ‘Big Baby’ can talk and so far in his career the 29-year-old is walking the walk as he sits irascibly on the cusp of a world title shot.
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There is a fiery side to the former kickboxer though, a man certainly never shy of sharing his uncensored opinion and Miller was raised in the same Brownsville neighbourhood that also spawned out Tyson, Bowe and Briggs…
Born in 1966, Tyson would go on to become the starring heavyweight for almost two decades, but it was very much a vacillating career for the impulsive New Yorker, one full of unassailable highs as well as many tumultuous lows.
His troubles outside the ring were and have been well documented, but inside the squared circle ‘Iron Mike’ was unquestionable intimidation and ferociousness personified, one of the most devastating punchers the sport has ever seen.
Mike Tyson told Adam Smith and Johnny Nelson that he had no problem using intimidation throughout his boxing career
The self-proclaimed ‘Baddest Man on the Planet’ recorded 12 first-round stoppages in his first 16 professional fights and the emphasis with which Mike Tyson became the youngest world heavyweight champion at the age of 20 in 1986 was prodigious.
At the height of his career, the 5ft 10″ heavyweight would spend time away from the ring as problems subsided an incredible career inside it, but there is no doubt that when it comes to the sweet science, Tyson is and will always be one of Brooklyn’s finest products.
While Bowe was never as spectacular as Tyson, he had his own remarkable skill set in a penetrating jab, supreme footwork and ringcraft, a style closer to Larry Holmes than his ghetto neighbour ‘Iron Mike’.
The career of ‘Big Daddy’ is one that will always feel somewhat unfulfilled though. Yes, Bowe having won Olympic gold at the 1988 Olympics, defeated Evander Holyfield four years later to become the undisputed heavyweight champion, before he stopped Herbie Hide and then did the same to Holyfield in their trilogy encounter. But that was it and a feeling is left that there could have been so much more, a career-defining showdown with Lennox Lewis for one never materialised.
Unfortunately for Bowe he is not always remembered for his conventional boxing talents, his brawling at a press conference, two rioting fights with Andrew Golota and his striking of Buster Mathis Jr when the Michigan man was on the canvas stick in the memory, while troubles in his personal life further overshadowed his ring mastery.
Briggs, 45, still fights today but a recent drug ban has very much dented the twilight years of his boxing career.
The achievements of ‘The Cannon’ are best represented by his beating of a 48-year-old George Foreman in 1997 for the lineal world title, before, ten years later, he defeated Sergei Liakhovich to become the WBO world champion. Despite those victories, punishing defeats to Lennox Lewis and Vitali Klitschko are notable stains on a 68-fight career that started 25 years ago.
Those losses proved detrimental for the New Yorker as mental health issues plagued him over the years, his self-proclaiming of ‘The Champ’ does not come from those world title victories, but his continued fight against a psychological struggle.
Watch Jarrell Miller against Marius Wach on a New York bill that also includes Daniel Jacobs versus Luis Arias, along with Conor Benn’s US debut from 3am this Sunday, live on Sky Sports Action and Sky Sports Main Event.