The Big Baby will take his first step in the Biggest Little City.
Heavyweight Jared “Big Baby” Anderson’s professional boxing debut is Saturday, Oct. 26, at the Reno Sparks Convention Center. It is one of 11 bouts on a card headlined by Shakur Stevenson vs. Joet Gonzalez for the WBO featherweight title.
“I was 5-3, 160 pounds and then through high school I had a huge growth spurt and outgrew everybody,” Anderson told Tahoe Onstage. “I’m a bigger person now and I’m only 19. By my body size, you’d think I was 25-plus, so they started calling me The Big Baby because I’m still a kid.”
As a pro, the fast-growing, 6-foot-4 teenager won’t have to worry cutting his weight again down to the amateur heavyweight 202 pounds. He expects to weigh 220 to 225 for his debut, a scheduled four-rounder with 31-year-old Daniel Infante, who has 10 rounds of professional experience, winning one of his three fights.
Matching up with Anderson will be a tall order for anyone he faces. He is a left-hander who boxes in the orthodox – right-handed – style. He is apt to switch to a southpaw stance during his fights.
“It confuses a lot of fighters when they are looking out for one punch or two punches from one stance and then you switch around and now you are throwing different punches from a different angle,” he said.
That’s what happened when Anderson fought Adrian Tillman in the USA 2018 Elite National Championship finals. The Big Baby fought right-handed the first two rounds. When he switched to southpaw early in the third, he landed several right-hand jabs. One of the blows was so sharp, the referee called a standing eight-count on Tillman. Anderson won the decision and his second-straight national title.
The Toledo, Ohio, naive decided to forego plans to compete for a spot on the 2020 Olympic team and sign a deal last month with Top Rank, the promotion company led by Bob Arum.
“I’ve been sparring and fighting basically professionals for the last two years of my amateur career,” Anderson said. “I know what I am capable of and everybody around me tells me that I will be great and that I am ready.”
Anderson is training in Houston, sparring with unbeaten heavyweight prospect Efe Ajagba. The adjustment from the amateurs to wearing big boy trunks in the pros is great.
“I’ve learned that Olympic style boxing isn’t anything close to the pro style boxing,” Anderson said. “You’ve got to slow things down. You’ve got to pace yourself. You’ve got to look for shots and just be a lot sharper because you’ve got 10-ounce gloves flying at your face.”
Anderson is a heavy favorite his debut with fellow Ohioan Infante, who is from Youngstown. But he’s often been considered the underdog. He had his first taste of success when he won at tournament at the age of 13. He was seeded seventh in the eight-man national championships that he won in 2017.
“Nobody expected me to be where I am,” he said. “I was a heavy-set kid. No one expected me to slim out or get to the height that I am or get the speed that I have. I’ve always been the underdog. It’s nothing new to me. I could care less. When it’s man to man in the ring, you’ve got to see me, so that’s all that matters.
— Tim Parsons
Saturday, Oct. 26, at the Reno-Sparks Convention Center
Tickets: $110, $70 and $40 available at the Atlantis Casino Resort Spa gift shop or online:
Online stream: ESPN+ starts at 3:30 p.m., Greer-Nieves is at 7 p.m., followed by Stevenson-Gonzalez
Main event: Shakur Stevenson vs. Joet Gonzalez, 12 rounds, for vacant WBO featherweight title
- Co-feature: Mikaela Mayer vs. Alejandra Soledad Zamora, 10 rounds, female junior lightweights
Co-feature: Josh Greer vs. Antonio Nieves, 10 rounds, bantamweights
Albert Bell vs. Frank De Alba, 10 rounds, junior lightweights
Jason Sanchez vs. Adeilson Dos Santos, 10 rounds, featherweights
Andy Vences vs. Mark Bernaldez, 10 rounds, junior lightweights
Tyler McCreary vs. Matt Conway, 8 rounds, junior lightweights
Xander Zayas vs. TBA, 4 rounds, welterweights
Diego Elizondo* vs. Mike Danny Sanchez, 4 rounds, lightweights
J.J. Mariano* vs. Trinity Lopez, 4 rounds, junior welterweights
Jared Anderson vs. Daniel Infante, 4 rounds, heavyweights
* indicates local boxers