Boxing Insider Interview: Maurice Hooker: Laying Claim as the Boogey Man at 140?


By: Kirk Jackson

“I’m here to show the world that I am ‘The Boogeyman’ and that I’m one of the best at 140.”

Apparently, Errol Spence isn’t the only ‘Boogeyman’ wandering around the landscape of boxing. Fellow Dallas native Maurice “Mighty Mo” Hooker 25-0-3 (17 KO’s) believes he holds the mantle as the Boogey Man at 140 lbs.

Heading into his third title fight, second defense of his world title and third consecutive fight across enemy lines, Hooker believes the other junior welterweights are wary of his abilities after repeat successful performances under demanding circumstances.

At the very least, Hooker believes he is the ‘Boogeyman’ for Bob Arum and his stable of Top Rank fighters.

“I can box, I can go toe-to-toe, I’m ready for whoever they put in front of me and I’m always looking for a knock out. Bob Arum doesn’t want his champion (Jose Ramirez) to lose the belt, then what? He’ll have no more champions at 140.”

“He tried to give my belt to Alex Saucedo so they’d have two champions at 140 (junior welterweight) but that didn’t work, so now I think they’re gonna try to stay away from me.”

The other champion Hooker is referring to when interviewed by Boxing Insider, is the current WBC junior welterweight champion Jose Ramirez 24-0 (16 KO’s). When pressed for a possible opponent if successful this weekend against undefeated challenger Mikkel LesPierre 21-0-1 (10 KO’s), Hooker mentioned the desire

“To me it’s whoever. I’d love to unify and fight Jose Ramirez for the WBC title in June. Pretty much I’ll fight anybody in June.”

“Nah I think that fight would be very hard to make because I’d don’t think Bob would want me to take out another one of his guys. I already took out Alex Saucedo and we don’t hear no word from him no more. I don’t think he wants me to away another guy, but if the fight (Ramirez) happens I would love it.”

Whether Hooker is truly the ‘Boogeyman’ at junior welterweight is yet to be truly determined. But what we do know is he possesses great mental strength to consistently challenge and defeat opponents on their own turf. And Hooker encountered various bumps, bruises and adversity along the way.

The adversity ‘Mighty Mo’ overcame thus far appears in various forms.

“Ahh yes my fight with Darleys Perez 34-4-2- (22 KO’s). A week before the fight I went to the doctor, my ear was bothering me. I went to the doctor and I had a hole in my ear, in my ear drum. He gave me some ear drops to take before the fight and he said before the fight I’d be good before the fight and it would close the hole.”

“But come fight night, I guess the hole didn’t close, I didn’t have an ear drum. It was the worst fight ever, I got in the ring and the ring was shaking, I couldn’t get my balance, I was off the whole fight.”

Another form of adversity came when Hooker clashed with undefeated Alex Saucedo in front of his hometown fans in Oklahoma City. This fight is where Hooker would suffer a knockdown in front of a ruckus crowd.

“I just got caught in the second round, first round was pretty easy to me and I came out the second round cocky and careless and he caught me with a good shot. It was a good shot, it was a flash knockdown, I wasn’t hurt at all. I knew from there I gotta take the guy seriously and my coach told me to take one round at a time and that’s what we did and I got up and took it to him.”

As things are heading into the semi-finals round of the World Boxing Super Series tournament, the junior welterweight division is heating up.

Another fighter if not considered the ‘Boogeyman’ of the division, at the very least regarded as one of the best fighters at junior welterweight, Regis Prograis 23-0 (19 KO’s) is on Hooker’s radar and a someone he has mean intentions towards.

“Uhh, I just don’t like him. He (Prograis) don’t care. I don’t like that guy, he feel like he’s the Boogeyman at 140 and I feel like I am too. I tell everybody I want the best at 140, and if Regis Prograis is the best than I want him. I guess he took it the wrong way, I don’t care how he takes it, he got defensive, I just hope he does good in the tournament.”

“Josh Taylor asked me to watch him but I hear he’s pretty good. I don’t care who wins the tournament, I just want to fight whoever wins it and go from there. For the tournament I don’t care who wins, I just want the winner but as far as the tournament I think he (Prograis) has a good chance of winning it.”

Whether these two match up remains to be seen. Fortunately, if they are to match in theory, the fans will be treated to a wonderful display of boxing with both guys going for the knock out.

But in order for Hooker to be recognized at the ‘Boogeyman’ or better yet as the flat out best in his division or even pound-for-pound caliber, he must continue to seek great challenges which includes fighting the best and moving up in weight for even greater contests.

If unification is the goal, ideally Ramirez would be next up and in succession facing the winner of the WBSS tournament, who would then have the other two world titles (IBF and WBA).

“The winner of the tournament, I’d love to fight the winner of the tournament, that’s my ideal next fight the winner of the tournament.”

Depending how things turn out tournament wise and promotion wise, we’ll see which match-ups are made. The last guy to occupy the throne as the best fighter at junior welterweight was able to unify the division to become undisputed champion – a rare feat only accomplished by Mike Tyson, Terence Crawford, Muhammad Ali, Marvin Hagler, Bernard Hopkins, Roy Jones Jr., Lennox Lewis and Cecelia Braekhus.

“I want to be like what Terence Crawford did. He had all the belts, he was the best at 140 then he moved up. What he did is what I want to do. That’s the goal but first if I move up, I wanna take over 140. I have to take over 140 before I move up.”

Hooker continues his quest this weekend.

Follow Maurice Hooker:
On Twitter
@mightymohooker
https://twitter.com/mightymohooker?lang=en

On Instagram:
MauriceMightyMoHooker
https://www.instagram.com/mauricemightymohooker/?hl=en

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