The gym is flooded with fighters of all kinds; novices, amateurs and professionals, like rising prospect Richardson Hitchins, a welterweight and fellow Brooklynite.
Hitchins, 20, subsequently improved to (5-0, 3 KOs) after recording a first-round knockout at Barclays this past weekend. Like Hitchins, Miller (20-0-1, 18 KOs) is also undefeated, except at 29 years old, the former (21-2) pro kickboxer is one of the world’s top-ranked contenders in boxing’s heavyweight division.
As Miller prepares for his workout guided by boxing trainer Aureliano Sosa, who will be in the Brooklynite’s corner on the 28th, he playfully air-boxes with Hitchins, a 2016 Olympian who represented Team Haiti.
“You see how that boy was looking last fight?” Hitchins asks Miller rhetorically after showing the heavyweight how he swiftly slips a double jab.
Miller smiles and nods his head because he knows “that boy” Hitchins is referring to is Anthony Joshua (21-0, 20 KOs), the current IBF, WBO, WBA Super and IBO World Heavyweight Champion who added the IBF strap after squeaking by Joseph Parker on March 31 in Cardiff, Wales, in Joshua’s United Kingdom home.
The 6-foot-4 Miller, a mountain of classic heavyweight bravado, has been critical of Joshua and WBC World Heavyweight Champion Deontay Wilder (40-0, 39 KOs) for the better part of two years. Miller even attempted to enter the ring after Wilder’s comeback knockout win over Luis Ortiz at Barclays on March 3.
“My resume is way better than their resume, and I haven’t fought for a title yet,” boasted Miller to BQE Media while getting his hands wrapped before a sparring session. “A lot of these guys at the top have some good money behind them, a good promotional team behind them, so that’s why they’re able to get away with that right now.
“Deontay can take speech therapy lessons, that still isn’t going to make him the people’s champ, and Anthony Joshua can model in Men’s Playgirl Magazine, that still isn’t going to get him the people’s champ,” he continued. “It takes more than a good face and a snazzy gold chain.”
Miller, currently a top-three contender in the WBA, WBO and IBF rankings, feels that he should become the mandatory challenger after a presumed win over Johann Duhaupas (37-4, 24 KOs) on Saturday, whom Wilder dispatched by TKO in 11 rounds in September 2015, despite never scoring a knockdown.
Wilder and Joshua seldom mention Miller’s name at all.
“I’m the full package,” Miller said, swaggering in his speech. “Deontay’s not the full package, he’s been the heavyweight champion for three years and nobody knows who the hell he is.
“You see a lot of Deontay’s interviews, they seem rehearsed,” he added. “You can hear the way he talks, a lot of the PR things he’s doing, it’s inauthentic. You have one person who talks too much in Deontay, and someone who has no kind of public presentation like AJ, who doesn’t talk at all.”
With Wilder’s struggles against Ortiz before scoring the tenth-round KO in a fight-of-the-year candidate, and Joshua’s unspectacular decision win over Parker, Miller says that both fights could’ve gone either way.
Miller pointed out that referee Giuseppe Quartarone seemed to interrupt the action multiple times when it appeared that Parker was taking control over Joshua, and when Wilder may have been out on his feet, referee David Fields let Ortiz continue, while in reverse, according to Miller, the fight would’ve been stopped.
Miller also referred to Wilder as a frequent rabbit puncher.
“If you’re smart and you watch those fights you’ll see that the referee had a big play in each of those fights,” he claimed. “If the referee would’ve done his job, Deontay might not have made it out, especially if that was Ortiz taking those punches.”
This coming Saturday will only mark Miller’s second fight at Barclays, and his second consecutive co-feature placing on the card, where his encounter with Duhaupas will lead into the night’s main event starring Brownsville native Daniel Jacobs.
So the fact that Wilder, who won his heavyweight title in January 2015, has defended his WBC crown in Miller’s home borough three times doesn’t sit well with the rising heavyweight.
“He doesn’t sell tickets anywhere else,” Miller said dismissively. “So they stack the undercard with a lot of other fighters from Brooklyn and New York in general, then they try to put on a decent main event. It’s not really him selling the Barclays Center, it’s the undercard.
“It’s business, I get it, but don’t try to sell people fake news,” he added.
Still, Miller insists that his primary focus is Duhaupas, who also has a chance to rise in the heavyweight ranks. With Duhaupas being a former foe of Wilder, it’s a chance for Miller to showcase himself, similarly to when he stopped Gerald Washington at Barclays last July in eight rounds, five months after Wilder KO’ed Washington in the fifth.
However, Wilder had noticeable troubles with Washington in the early going.
“My main task is taking care of the French fry and cooking him,” Miller says of Duhaupas. “I can’t look past this guy. He’s a fighter, he’s got two hands, a heartbeat and a brain just like me. Anything is possible if you don’t prepare yourself.”