Big league boxing returns to New York this weekend as two of Brooklyn’s most exciting fighters take on two tricky fighters as a stepping stone in order to put themselves back into title contention at middleweight and heavyweight respectively.
The main event features the ‘Miracle Man’ Daniel Jacobs as he looks to send a message to the rest of the middleweight division by beating dangerous undefeated fighter Luis Arias. This would then likely set up a fight next year with the winner of Saunders/Lemieux or Golovkin/Alvarez, as they look to settle their disputed draw that took place in September of this year.
In the co-main event Jarrell ‘Big Baby’ Miller takes on perennial heavyweight contender Mariusz Wach as they both look to become part of the major conversation brewing at heavyweight. A conversation that recently has been dominated by just four names, Anthony Joshua, Deontay Wilder, Joseph Parker and the bogeyman of the division, former lineal champion Tyson Fury, who is promising a comeback sometime next year.
A win for either Miller or Wach here would put them in that conversation as they both look to extend their winning runs and separate themselves from the chasing pack.
Jarrell Miller comes into this fight as the -1600 favorite with Mariusz Wach as an +800 underdog.
These odds do seem a little skewed and I will explain why.
‘Big Baby’ Miller has been on a run of eight consecutive stoppages and has signed on with Anthony Joshua promoted outfit Matchroom Sports as he looks to command respect in the heavyweight division. His last win against Gerald Washington, a guy who had given undefeated WBC champion Deontay Wilder fits in the early going of their fight back in February, was a statement of intent and he dealt with it in style, dispatching Washington at the end of the 8th round.
Mariusz Wach on the other hand, a man who is perhaps best known for his UD loss to Wladimir Klitsckho a number of years ago, is on his first return journey to the United States since 2012. Wins over Erkan Teper and Travis Walker have kept the Polish contender in the mix, but a loss to Alexander Povetkin in Russia two years ago set his second world title bid back a few steps and he is looking to build on from that.
Overall, this is an interesting match-up. Wach can fight and for a big man he has relatively good upper body movement. He employs good defense up top but is vulnerable to straight punches down the middle. Despite being 37, I honestly believe Wach still has something to offer this division in terms of world level as he’s a tough out for anybody at heavyweight and would give any of the reigning champions a test, so I’m not in complete agreement with the long odds being offered here.
Jarrell Miller however is a tricky opponent for Wach. Styles make fights and just as in the Alexander Povetkin match-up, Miller being the smaller man in this fight should be a big advantage and create problems for Wach in terms of judging the height dynamic. Wach does better when matched up against similarly large heavyweights and as the recent Anthony Joshua vs. Carlos Takam fight proved, unless you have clinical inside ability or can tie up effectively, fighting a noticeably smaller man can create problems for tall heavyweights who find the adjustment of fighting low problematic.
This is a compelling match-up. If Jarrell Miller comes into this fight fit and in shape and is completely focused on the task at hand then he probably has too much of an angle game for Mariusz Wach and should get the nod. But make no mistake, if Miller overlooks Wach in any way or isn’t firing on all cylinders come fight night then the odds offered on Wach, a man who’s never legitimately been stopped and who’s two sole losses are against former king Wladimir Klitschko and an underrated Alexander Povertkin, offer tremendous value.
Pick: Miller via decision (betting value on Wach however).