Jarrell Miller has questioned Anthony Joshua’s heart and desire, even though he expects him to beat Jermaine Franklin.
Joshua fights for the first time since his successive defeats by Oleksandr Usyk and since appointing Derrick James as his new trainer when he meets Franklin at the O2 Arena in London.
That he relocated to Dallas to work with James suggests he remains ambitious, but he has also since spoken of fighting for financial rewards. Miller was scheduled to fight Joshua, 33, in 2019 until a failed drugs test led to him being replaced by Andy Ruiz Jr on the night Joshua suffered his first of three defeats in five fights, and as a stablemate of Franklin has followed the career of both.
Most recently Miller stopped Lucas Browne in six rounds in Dubai, and asked of Franklin’s chances, he told ProBox TV: “I heard he can’t really punch; doesn’t really have no punching power. But he’s game, and sometimes that’s all you need – a fighter that’s game and not coming to lay down.
“It depends on what AJ shows up. AJ’s picking an opponent that’s coming off a loss, even though he’s coming off a loss. Most people would say Jermaine Franklin is not on the level of Dillian Whyte, but he did well. ‘He’s not on the level of AJ.’
“I don’t think AJ’s all mentally there – from the beginning he was more like a polished doorknob, waiting for someone to give him a turn and knock him off the shelf. He just wasn’t built like that. Sometimes you look at guys, and yeah, they might be technically sound with certain things, but the heart, you can tell, the first time he gets in trouble he’s going to turn into a little bitch, and that’s what happened when he fought Andy Ruiz, and again with Usyk.
“He don’t know how to put on that killer instinct – it’s just not there. You can teach skill and fundamentals, but you can’t teach heart and to dig down. He just doesn’t have that.”
His time spent under James, having impressed when trained by Robert Garcia for the rematch with Usyk, has guaranteed a level of uncertainty around Joshua and how, as the favourite, he will perform in Saturday’s fight, but Miller doubts how much James could have taught him over the course of one training camp, and regardless believes Joshua is only driven by financial gain.
“When you have early success like he did, and a big bank account, sometimes guys don’t want to go out on their shield – they’d rather take the easy route,” the 34-year-old said. “I don’t think he’s gonna learn much with Derrick James, in a short period of time. It takes months or years to really get with a trainer and learn new technique. So I don’t know what Derrick James has been teaching him – you can pick up one or two things, but I don’t know if it’s going to make an extreme difference on his style.
“He’s always been fighting for money. Don’t get it twisted.”