** Jarrell “Big Baby” Miller has tested positive twice for performance-enhancing supplements and NYSAC hasn’t granted him a license for this fight and the bout is in jeopardy. **
One of the baddest men on the planet is set to make his USA debut as Anthony “AJ” Joshua stands toe to toe with Jarrell “Big Baby” Miller at Madison Square Garden on June 1. Joshua is defending his WBA (Super), IBF, WBO and IBO heavyweight titles, and is a -850 favorite to retain his titles, while Miller is coming back as a +525 underdog. Both heavy hitters will also enter the ring with perfect records.
Miller has been a massive favorite in his last eight fights, closing as a four-digit favorite in six of those bouts, with his lowest odds being -250 when he fought Gerald Washington in July 2017 – a fight Miller won via eighth-round retirement.
Meanwhile, Joshua has been a favorite in each of his last seven scraps and his odds for this fight are right around the average with his largest odds being when he fought Eric Molina (-4000). The tightest odds AJ has had was when he fought Wladimir Klitschko to win the WBA and IBO heavyweight straps – the England native closed at -200 for that bout.
AJ holds three of the four major heavyweight titles and, at the age of 29, he is in the prime of his career so it comes as no surprise that he is a big favorite to beat Big Baby, who is making a big jump in competition.
How will this fight play out?
Joshua (-850) is laying his perfect 22-0 record on the line, coming off an impressive seventh-round TKO victory over Alexander Povetkin in September of last year. Before that knockout victory, AJ went to the judges’ scorecards for the first time in his professional career with Joseph Parker, snapping his streak of 20 straight wins by T/KO.
The Brit always pressures his opponents, taking the center of the ring and then slowly backing them down looking to land his powerful right hand. Joshua also does a good job feeling his range with his long left jab that he works well behind, once again looking to land his thunderous right. Additionally, he has a great ability at judging distances and will sit just outside of his opponents’ range but close enough that he can spring forward with a counterattack.
Miller (+525) is also looking to remain undefeated in his professional career, with only four fights going the distance, one of them ending in a draw after four rounds in 2013. Of Big Baby’s 23 professional wins, 20 have been by knockout, including his last two. The New York native went the full 12 rounds with Johann Duhaupas in April of last year, ending his string of nine consecutive bouts with knockout victories.
The orthodox fighter uses his large frame to walk his opponents down looking for an opportunity to fire his heavy right hand. Big Baby has scary knockout power in his hands, but his punches are slow and he lunges forward behind his left jab to close the distance.
AJ is clearly the more athletic boxer and he will need to use that speed and movement to pick apart Miller from the outside before he can find his openings to do damage. Meanwhile, Big Baby is going to have to put himself in real danger to overcome the reach disadvantage he’s going to face and get in close to let his hands fly. Overall, I think that AJ is just going to be too difficult to hit and should be able to handle this fight easily.
Prediction: Anthony Joshua (-850) via knockout
Odds as of February 25 at [custom:bovada-link]
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