Hooker poised for PPV debut

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By Jeff Zimmerman
Photos by Stacey Verbeek

From the hardscrabble streets of Dallas, Texas to the bright lights of Las Vegas, Nevada NABO Junior Welterweight Champion Maurice “Mighty Mo” Hooker (21-0-2, 16 KOs) is well on his way to hitting the proverbial jackpot. Guided by his manager Arnie Verbeek, owner of Maple Ave Boxing Gym in Dallas and promoter Roc Nation, Hooker will make his PPV debut as the lead in fight to Kovalev-Ward when he fights former world champion Darleys Perez (33-2-1, 21 KOs) on Saturday, November 19th.

For Hooker, with his slender build and powerful right hand and of course his signature lollipop that he brings into the ring and enjoys post-fight, the path to this point has been anything but easy. Nothing has been handed to Hooker and every fight to date has been an important stepping stone to get to this stage of his career. Perhaps that is why he seems unfazed of the moment and the fortunes that potentially lie ahead.

“It’s another fight, another big fight. It’s still a ring, I still go in there and do my thing. I try not to let anything get to me, just another fight.” 

His trainer Vincent Parra is also a calming influence on Hooker.

“We try to make sure he knows and he does, it’s just him and the other guy in the boxing ring we have been training in. The people get blanked out when you’re focused and the only thing you can see is Darleys Perez, that’s where the focus comes in,” stated Parra.

This will be Hooker’s third fight under the Roc Nation banner as well as fighting alongside promotional stablemate world champion Andre Ward. Like past camps, he has trained and sparred with super lightweight champion Terence Crawford and also added the young but talented lightweight Devin Haney to the mix.

“Sparring with Crawford I learn a lot. We talk after sparring. He tells me what I am doing wrong and what I am doing right. I had to be patient sparring with him. Sparring with Devin, it was good. He brings a lot of energy and is very quick. He reminds me of myself when I was sparring Miguel Cotto. I think he is the next up and coming. He is young and willing to learn the game.”

At 27, Hooker is still relatively young, far from his prime and still learning but with a breakout performance preceding this year’s biggest fight in Kovalev-Ward, this could be the fight that truly launches his career. Roc Nation must hope so by putting him in this position, but Hooker takes it all in stride.

“No, I don’t feel any pressure, this is what I do for living, just another big fight for me. It’s just another big fight for me, my fight before that was a big fight for me, my fight before that was a big fight for me. I’m just moving up one fight at a time. I see Darleys Perez, he’s beatable. I see my skills can beat him. No pressure on me, I’m just ready to fight, this is what I do for a living.”

Don’t expect Hooker to look past Perez either even though an impressive win could line him up for big fights in 2017.

“I am not worried about that, right now I am just worried about Perez. After this fight we’ll see, but right now I am just worried about Perez. He’s a dangerous little guy and I just don’t want to lose focus and look to far down the road, I’m just focused on him right now.”

Parra is not taking any chances with his prized pupil and knows that Perez is a dangerous fighter and will have Hooker prepared.

“There’s the obvious thing, we are bigger, he’s moving up to Mo’s division, we have the reach advantage which he does on most guys and he’s a pure puncher, but with that being said this is boxing and anything can happen. We just keep it in perspective that he was a world champion and he made it to that point and not a lot of guys do and we have to respect that,” explained Parra.

Parra added, “I just expect if Maurice fights Maurice fight, he’s definitely the better all-around fighter. Maurice has to fight his fight and if he does that I think we are going to take care of business and move on to the next.”

Hooker also takes great pride of being a part of an exciting crop of fighters hailing from Dallas that include Errol Spence Jr., Charles Hatley and Samuel Clarkson just to name a few.

“It’s a good feeling. I hope everyone makes it from Dallas. It’s a good feeling that Dallas is coming up but everyone has their own pace and I wish all of them the best. Right now I am just worried about me, but it’s a good feeling. We are coming up.”

Hooker is ready to test Perez early.

“I will go in there and box him, just look for an exciting fight, I am going to box him. I am going to test his chin early and see what he’s made of coming up from 135. He has been hurt a couple of times and I am going to test his chin. Go in there box, stay relaxed and take my time with him.”

Parra just wants Hooker to be himself.

“Just be Mo, if you watch us, we approach every fight the same. Mo will go out to the middle of the ring and meet him and either he will go out and meet Mo there or he’ll start dancing and go from there. We like to plan on guys having a plan for us, we are not worried about what he’s going to do, and we are more focused on what we are going to do. Maurice is going to fight his fight and make Perez fight his fight.”

Parra continued, “The plan is to be himself. Mo is going to come up and fight at range and look for opportunities and if there is blood in the water I send him at him. Everything is going to be done very methodically. Like Mo said, he’s going to take his time. You can plan all you want, but fights play out and act out and do what we want to do and see how Perez can handle and how he can adjust.”

Although Hooker and Parra are 100% focused on their fight, both weighed in on the Kovalev-Ward mega matchup.

Hooker stated confidently, “Ward is going to outbox him, he is going to make Kovalev adjust to him, and he has ring smarts. Andre Ward is just a good fighter. I see Andre Ward winning.”

Parra expects a great fight and sees it as a toss-up.

“If you’re a fight fan, it’s a fight fan’s fight, it’s going to be interesting. For me, it’s a 50-50 fight, I’m a fan of both guys. Obviously we are stablemates of Andre Ward but on the other side John David Jackson is one of my really good friends and I have been following him and Sergey for a lot of years so for me it’s just a hard fight to dissect because both guys do so many things well. Both guys have very good camps. I look forward to a great fight I think it’s going to be tremendous, it’s very hard for me to pick at this point.”

Hooker, as always, will look to steal the show with his one punch knock out power. And although he is taking the right approach and sees this as just another fight, it is far from it. An impressive performance could put him on a “fighters to watch list” in 2017. So far for Hooker, his manager and promoter have made all the right moves. A big win next Saturday could lead to those potential jackpots that only fighting in Las Vegas could bring. But don’t expect Hooker to be blinded by the bright lights.

“I have no pressure, I am always looking for the knockout, it’s going to be a very good fight and I am going to take it to him.”

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www.fightnews.com/Boxing/hooker-poised-ppv-debut-359952

Photos: Maurice Hooker, Claressa Shields Putting in Work

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NABO Junior Welterweight Champion Maurice “Mighty Mo” Hooker (21-0-2, 16 KOs) and Two-Time Olympic Gold Medalist Claressa “T-Rex” Shields co-hosted a media workout in Las Vegas ahead of their undercard appearances on Kovalev-Ward “Pound For Pound” taking place Saturday, Nov. 19 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. Photos by Hoganphotos.

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Shields, making her professional debut against American rival Franchon Crews, will be featured on the freeview telecast beginning at 7:00 p.m. ET/4:00 p.m. PT on the Pay-Per-View events channel prior to the official telecast, and through livestreaming on HBO Boxing’s YouTube channel.

Hooker, who will be defending his NABO title against veteran Darleys Perez (33-2-1, 21 KOs), will be featured during the televised undercard leading up to the main event on HBO Pay-Per-View® beginning at 9:00 p.m. ET/6:00 p.m. PT.

Kovalev vs. Ward “Pound For Pound”, a 12-round mega-fight for the WBO/IBF/WBA Light Heavyweight World Titles, takes place Saturday, Nov. 19, at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nev.

The event will be produced and distributed live by HBO Pay-Per-View beginning at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT. “Pound for Pound” is presented by Main Events, Roc Nation Sports, Krusher Promotions and Andre Ward Promotions and is sponsored by MGM Grand Hotel & Casino, Rosneft and Corona Extra.

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www.boxingscene.com/photos-maurice-hooker-claressa-shields-putting-work–110744?print_friendly=1

 

 

Maurice Hooker Blasts Barnett Out With First Round Knockout On Co-Main Event of Andre Ward/Brand Card

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Written by Hector Sanchez / Photos by Stacey Verbeek –

Super Lightweight champion Maurice “Mighty Mo” Hooker (21-0-2, 16 KO’s) from Dallas, Texas returned to Oakland and rocked Ty Barnett (23-5-1, 15 KO’s) with a stiff right hand in the opening moments of the first round to the thunderous applause and excitement of the boxing fans in attendance at the ROC NATION/HBO fight card at Oracle Arena this past Saturday night.

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As the first round continued, Barnett was moving to his left with his back to the corner, and Mighty Mo tagged him with a stiff left hand jab that snapped his opponent’s head back. As they moved in the middle of the ring, the champion landed his signature straight right hand that buckled Barnett’s legs and he retreated to the ropes.

Mighty Mo then moved forward and landed two lightning left hooks that backed his opponent up and then he landed a powerful left hook that buckled Barnett who landed against the ropes and attempted to hold onto the champion to save himself from going down.

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In the next second, Mighty Mo landed another huge left hook and a right hand that put Barnett down to the canvas that brought the audience to their feet around the Oracle Arena. Barnett took a knee as the referee made the count and then the fight continued.

As he danced around the ring waiting for the eight count to end, and sensing an early finish, Mighty Mo stayed composed as the fight continued. He quickly and cautiously went after Barnett and landed numerous left hooks and several overhand rights right in front of Bernard Hopkins who was a ringside commentator for HBO, along with Jim Lampley and Max Kellerman. After several more stiff jabs Mighty Mo landed a huge right hand that snapped Barnett’s head back against the ropes and the referee stepped in to stop the fight with the official KO at 2:17 of the first round.

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I was told before the fight by Mighty Mo that it would not go past five rounds and another prediction rang true. Because of his long training camp, he came into this fight with exceeding confidence and continued his undefeated winning streak and the defense of his WBO/NABO Super Lightweight title for his return to Dallas, Texas.

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At ringside, when I asked him, “How did you feel when you first touched him in the first round, he laughed and said “I knew it was over with, and he was in trouble.” He went on to say “I stayed relaxed and knew my knockout was coming and I am ready for anybody.”

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www.boxingnews24.com/2016/08/maurice-hooker-blasts-barnett-first-round-knockout-co-main-event-andre-wardbrand-card/

 

Gosselin: 47 years after Dallas’ last title fight, area boxer Maurice Hooker wastes no time in taking NABO junior welterweight crown

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It’s been 37 years since I covered my last fight.

It’s been 47 years since the city of Dallas hosted its last title fight.

I figured Friday night was a good time for both of us to end our droughts.

So I wandered over to Kay Bailey Hutchinson Convention Center to watch Maurice Hooker, a local kid, win the North American Boxing Organization’s junior welterweight title with a sixth-round TKO over Eduardo Galindo. It was the first title fight in Dallas since Curtis Cokes, another local kid, defended his welterweight title against Willie Ludick in 1968.

Both fighters entered the ring without defeats, but the night ended with Galindo sitting on his stool after five rounds with blood gushing from a cut over his right eye. The ring doctor stopped the fight.

Hooker improved to 18-0-2 while Galindo fell to 10-1-1. Hooker brought 13 knockouts into the ring and Galindo seven and the first round was a showcase of two fighters who could punch. Heavy blows were landed by both fighters. But Hooker focused on his boxing in the second round and took control of the fight.

Galindo came into the fight heavy at 151 pounds – 11 more than Hooker – and wanted to showcase his power. A frustrated Galindo twice challenged Hooker to stand there and fight, once in the second round and again in the fourth, but Hooker picked his spots and landed all the punches of consequence over the final four rounds.

The victory guarantees Hooker a spot in the world rankings. I doubt I’ll go 37 more years again before I see my next fight.

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_DSC7226 Photos by: Stacey Verbeek

 

http://www.dallasnews.com/sports/columnists/rick-gosselin/20150626-gosselin-47-years-after-dallas-last-title-fight-area-boxer-maurice-hooker-wastes-no-time-in-taking-nabo-junior-welterweight-crown.ece