Plan for Jared Anderson: Face Top Contenders by 2025, Contend for Title by 2026

Boxing Scene

Top Rank promoter Bob Arum has big plans in store for Jared Anderson, but “Big Baby” needs to make sure he doesn’t blow them up.

Anderson (16-0, 15 KOs) is set to return for another showcase fight, headlining an ESPN show Saturday against Ryad Merhy (32-2, 26 KOs) at the American Bank Center in Corpus Christi, Texas.

Anderson, a 24-year-old heavyweight standout, will need to get back on track after traveling a circuitous road to arrive at this fight.

In February, Anderson led police on a high-speed chase that reached nearly six miles in distance and speeds up to 130 miles per hour. The incident took place in Michigan, and Anderson, of Toledo, Ohio, has since been charged with a felony.

In November, he was arrested in Oregon for driving under the influence and for improper handling of a firearm.

“We’re all aware of the situation,” Arum told BoxingScene. “Hopefully he will start maturing enough to understand what a great opportunity boxing is for him economically and for him to continue on the path that he’s been … He’s very charming, intelligent and articulate.”

Arum said he mentors the fast-rising contender alongside Anderson’s co-promoter Antonio Leonard and manager, James Prince.

Anderson is sitting pretty atop the short list of up-and-coming heavyweights who can potentially challenge for the throne in the era after Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk fight for the undisputed title and settle their rivalry.

In order for Anderson to earn a shot at the heavyweight crown and further prove his potential, the fighter could soon face a viable group of contenders that includes Deontay Wilder, Joseph Parker, Zhilei Zhang and Joe Joyce.

“He will be facing those types of names by next year,” Arum said. “We’re going to move him – starting now – relatively quickly. My goal is to have him fight for a world title by 2026. I really believe Jared has all of the ingredients to be a champion. But again, it’s a long road and he’s going to be tested. We’ve always had high hopes for him.”

Anderson must stay out of trouble and remain engaged to live up to his promise. In addition to his run-ins with the law, he has openly admitted that his love and passion for boxing isn’t there and that he wants to retire at the age of 27.

Anderson had a stellar 2023 inside the ring, recording a technical knockout of Andrii Rudenko inside five rounds in August, beating former titleholder Charles Martin via unanimous decision in July and stopping George Arias in three rounds in April. 

He will look to carry that momentum into his matchup with Merhy, a cruiserweight-turned-heavyweight contender who beat Tony Yoka via split decision in December. 

“Jared is in really good shape – if Jared is in good shape, there are few heavyweights around, if any, who can beat him,” Arum said. “He’s fighting a tough guy in Merhy, with a lot of experience. It’s the right fight for Jared at this stage of his career. If he’s successful on Saturday, we’re looking forward to having him fight very quickly again in the summer in Toledo, and again later this year.”

Arum also hinted that Anderson could next face the winner of Saturday night’s co-main event featuring 2016 Nigerian Olympian Efe Ajagba (19-1, 14 KOs) and 2016 Italian Olympian Guido Vianello (12-1-1, 10 KOs).

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