Miller Ready for Rahman Rumble
Shannon Miller admits he will be facing the most dangerous fighter of his career when he steps into the ring in the 10-round main event against two-time heavyweight champion Hasim "The Rock" Rahman at "The Rock Returns" event on June 19 at the Niagara Falls Convention Center in Niagara Falls, New York.
But the opportunity to notch a win over a big-name heavyweight and then parlay it into even bigger fights is potentially too lucrative to pass up. Besides, according to Miller, getting hit hard is completely painless.
36-year-old Miller comes from a
well-respected boxing family. His father, Bob Miller, is a trainer and
cutman for, among others, current super middleweight champion Lucien
Bute. His mother, Lorraine, was Mike Tyson's first promoter. His brother
Shawn is an undefeated light heavyweight. Miller himself has been
fighting since early childhood and turned pro at age 18.
During the day, Miller works as a public safety officer on the campus at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, one of the country's top technical colleges. At night, he trains under the watchful eyes of his father, brother Shawn and head trainer is Billy "The Professor" Growick.
Miller says despite the apparent danger he's never been a quitter and he's not going to start that night. "If Hasim Rahman beats me, he'll have to earn it," he snarls.
You have to look at boxing as a risk/reward
situation. Sure, there's a lot of risk, but the reward is also there. If
you beat him, you set yourself up for bigger things - bigger money.
That's the bottom line. I've always fought for money and to try and make
a better life for my family. My friends always ask me; really your dream
is not to be a champion? I wouldn't mind but a title belt doesn't pay
How is training going so far?
Training is going very well. I'm at the
point where I'm getting sick of it, so that's usually an indication
we're getting close to fight time. People ask me why I'm so happy on the
day of a fight. It's because the day-to-day grind of training makes me
Do you expect many fans to make the trip
from Troy to Niagara Falls to watch your fight?
I will have over 100 people there in
support of me. It's a good drive but I have a big fan base making the
What makes you think you can beat Hasim
Because he's older than I am and I always
give 100%, no matter what. If he beats me he will have to earn it. I
don't lay down for anybody. I've seen a couple of his fights that the
guy was so scared he fell from the first punch. If you're gonna beat me,
you've got to earn it. The bottom line is if he's expecting it to be a
guy coming to fall down he has the wrong guy. To beat me he will have to
beat me. I'm not the kind of guy who is going to run and hide. I'll give
him all the credit in the world if he beats me because I'm coming to
win. Throughout my career, no one can say I was a quitter.
Having been a boxer for virtually your
entire life, do you still get nervous before a fight?
No, I've been knocked down a few times and
what I've discovered is that if you get hit really well it doesn't hurt.
The first time I was ever knocked down was against Vinny Maddalone. The
first knockdown, if you watch the tape, I looked at my feet. I thought I
tripped. I had no inclination I had been hit. I was pissed. But then I
got knocked down again and I said to myself I can't be tripping trice. I
said to my corner what am I getting hit with and they said the right
hand. I had no idea. It really doesn't hurt. Contrary to what TV
commentators say. The last thing I was is hurt. I felt pretty good!
There's no threat of getting hit hard because it isn't going to hurt
What do you think of Hasim Rahman as a
He's extremely dangerous. Everyone has seen
his KOs. He can punch, so I'm completely aware of his punching ability.
His conditioning... I don't know. I've heard things here and there about
it, but I don't pay attention. I'm preparing for a prime Hasim Rahman.
He's definitely one of the best fighters I've faced and the most
Tickets for "The Rock Returns" are available online at championsofboxing.com or by calling 716.278.2195. They are priced at $30, $45 and $65 for ringside, in advance. Special VIP seating is available by calling 631.878.1676. For more information, visit championsofboxing.com. Doors open at 6:30 on fight night and the action starts at 7:30.