Controversial heavyweight Jarrell Miller can fight for the WBA title after entering the organization’s rankings following two comeback wins.
Miller served out a pair of suspensions after failing drugs tests before a clash with Anthony Joshua and another versus Jerry Forrest.
“Big Baby” had been out of action since 2018 until a recent return in June against journeyman Ariel Bracamonte. A drab points win got followed by a stoppage triumph over also-ran Derek Cardenas in July.
The pair of victories came against two opponents with a combined record of 19 wins and 16 losses. That seems enough for the World Boxing Association to ratify Miller’s return to the WBA Rankings.
Placed at number fourteen, Miller is higher than many other contenders who have been far more active than the New Yorker.
Oleksandr Usyk could choose the 34-year-old for a voluntary title defense. Furthermore, Miller has the potential to be sanctioned for a mandatory eliminator.
It’s a shocking turn of events that looks to be unexplainable. The WBA has a history of dumbfounding decisions, though, especially in the top division.
There are notable names absent from the WBA Top 15 Heavyweight Rankings. They include Dillian Whyte, Joe Joyce, Joseph Parker, Deontay Wilder, Frank Sanchez, Andy Ruiz Jr., and Filip Hrgovic.
Thoughts initially turned to Wilder and Ruiz getting ignored by the WBA due to their involvement in a WBC eliminator tournament. However, Robert Helenius, who also participates in that four-person competition, remains ranked.
Many other up-and-coming fighters would be far more worthy of a place than Miller. Top Rank’s Jared Anderson is just one plucked out of thin air.
It’s another headscratcher to see Lenier Pero rated when Anderson isn’t. Anderson is 12-0 with a one hundred percent KO ratio. Pero is 8-0 with 5 KO’s.
Fighting just eight times in three years seems far less than where a ranked contender should be right now.
But how on earth a fourth-round knockout of Cardenas at Embassy Suites Nashville in Murfreesboro and beating Bracamonte in South America when vastly over his usual weight warrant this kind of honor for Jarrell Miller is a mystery to most.
Miller should face a far more challenging task to become eligible than those two low-key W’s.
But, as we know, this is the WBA. They seem to be capable of anything when it comes to ranking requests for fighters.
A case in point comes from Lucas Browne. The Aussie got knocked out by Paul Gallen and Dave Allen early in his last five fights. But Browne gets rated at number ten.
WBA Heavyweight Rankings – August 2022
1 MICHAEL HUNTER – USA
2 ROBERT HELENIUS – FIN
3 HUGHIE FURY – GBR
4 MARTIN BAKOLE – COD
5 ANTHONY JOSHUA – GBR
6 ARSLANBEK MAKHMUDOV – CAN
7 LENIER PERO – CUB
8 TREVOR BRYAN – USA
9 ZHAN KOSSOBUTSKIY – KAZ
10 LUCAS BROWNE – AUS
11 AGIT KABAYEL – GER
12 OTTO WALLIN – SWE
13 KEVIN LERENA – RSA
14 JARRELL MILLER – USA
15 IVAN DYCHKO – KAZ
The views expressed in this article are the opinions of Phil Jay.