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Regis Prograis vs Maurice Hooker and Javier Fortuna vs Luke Campbell Set For April 17th


By: Hans Themistode

The Jr Welterweight division is about as ruthless a weight class that you will find within the entire sport of boxing. 

Just think, former champions Kiryl Relikh and Ivan Baranchyk are essentially afterthoughts. It isn’t because they aren’t great fighters, but it’s more so because of the talent pool that currently lies within the division. 

With title holders Jose Ramirez and Josh Taylor considered the best that the weight class has to offer, another pair of former champions are in need for a big win of their own. 

Maurice Hooker and Regis Prograis are still recognized amongst the elite of the division. However, they came up short in their respective unification matchups. Now, with no other viable options, they have looked towards a matchup against one another.

Both men have made it a tendency to mention the other whenever the cameras are rolling. Knockout threats and “easy work” statements have been the theme of both fighters when regarding the other. Well now, it’s officially time to shut up and fight. 

Terms for a contest between the pair has officially been agreed upon to take place on April 17th, at the MGM National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Maryland. 

The Maryland based card won’t simply revolve around the main event as the supporting bout will be just as interesting. 

Javier Fortuna, who once held titles at both the Featherweight and Jr Lightweight divisions will look to become a three division world champion when he takes on Luke Campbell for the vacant WBC title. 

Since a contest against Adrian Granados which resulted in a no contest, Fortuna has gone on to win two straight contests. Campbell on other hand, represents the complete opposite as his career has fallen short of exceptions. 

It’s safe to say that after winning gold in the 2012 Olympics, more was expected of Campbell. His career has been solid but not spectacular. He was given the first loss of his career back in 2015, surprisingly at the hands of Yvan Mendy. Campbell would avenge that loss three years later but questions still remained. In his two title challenges, he has come up woefully short against Jorge Linares and Vasiliy Lomachenko. The latter took place at the end of August in 2019. 

For Campbell, he’ll be hoping that the third time’s the charm. 

Regardless of who wins between Fortuna and Campbell, the winner could be forced to take on WBC champion in recess Devin Haney, who was stripped of the title due to a shoulder injury. Provided everything checks out from a health standpoint, and also that Haney doesn’t elect to move up in weight, the winner of this title could see their title reigns cut short if the highly touted Haney returns back to form.

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Jose Ramirez Unifies Belts with TKO over Maurice Hooker


By Robert Aaron Contreras

WBC, nay, unified junior welterweight champion Jose Carlos Ramirez is the hottest fighter in the division following a thrilling Saturday night at the College Parker Center in Arlington, Texas, his opponent Maurice Hooker’s de-facto hometown. Ramirez snatched Hooker’s WBO belt with a knockout flurry in the sixth round.

Ramirez (25-0, 17 KO) showed no qualms about traveling from California to Texas. Nor did he when Hooker (26-1-3, 17 KO) nearly spun his head around with check hooks and jolting jabs. The newly-unified beltholder fought through his opponent’s reach advantage, working his patented one-two combination thoroughly and consistently until finally he found his moment to take out Hooker.

“I threw that one-two that works perfectly for me,” Ramirez said after the fight. “He landed some good shots. But real champions always have faith in themselves. I was here with one mission: to be the unified champion of the world.”

Ramirez looked every bit like a man on a mission to open the title tilt. The center of the ring immediately belonged to him and Hooker was soon stumbling backwards from quick flurries. Hooker did straighten out his lengthy jab. But Ramirez stepped on his foot that again caused the taller man lose his balance and hit the deck.

Referee Mark Nelson, at the merciless command of watching a fight in realtime with no replay, called a knockdown. Ramirez at least affirmed the round in his favor by closing the period slipping Hooker’s long arms and stuffing short, straight left hands into his opponent.

In Round 2, Ramirez tried jabbing his way in. But Hooker sat back, relying on his incredible size, and spearing elongated right hands through Ramirez’s guard and occasionally circling out and away to his left with check hooks.

The momentum though was again in Ramirez’s corner in the final minute when he finally pinned his man to the ropes. With Hooker’s back stuck there, Ramirez pressed his weight onto his championship counterpart for leverage and pitched overhand shots to the head.

Ramirez’s navigation looked a little different in the third stanza. Instead of driving forward, the WBC champ shot quick punches upstairs and sidestepped to either side of Hooker. The movement did not stop Hooker from stunning him with chopping right hands in the waning moments of the round… or the chippy punches that ensued after the bell.

Ramirez caught Hooker’s attention in the fourth frame: jab upstairs, left hook to the liver and right back upstairs with a left hook. From there the round reached its symposium of violence, more chippy action resulting in blistering, two-way action.

In Round 5, Hooker’s jab was as daunting as ever—his 80-inch reach longer than many standout heavyweights—but complimented the punch with interchanging checkmark-shaped uppercuts. Ramirez also found moments of success, chasing Hooker down, crashing punches into his man’s raised gloves. Not every punch landed cleanly but it was pouring on enough to prevent any return from Hooker, whose long arms became obsolete in close quarters.

But what a round it was, the crowd worked their way into the broadcast when Hooker turned his focus to Ramirez’s midsection.

Both men traded jabs in the fateful, sixth period. Less frenetic than the round before, the pace could not have lulled Hooker to sleep but the left hand that clipped him with under two minutes to go nearly did. Hooker was visibly hurt and Ramirez pounced with 10 unanswered shots. Referee Nelson had no choice but to call an end to the title fight as Hooker’s eyes basically rolled to the back of his head.

According to CompuBox, Ramirez landed 99 of 414 total punches (24 percent) and Hooker actually connected on 129 of 360 (36 percent).

DAZN correspondent Chris Mannix asked Ramirez if he had his eyes and heart on unifying even more belts when they become available following the proposed Regis Prograis vs. Josh Taylor WBSS finale.

“Of course, those are the top guys,” Ramirez answered. “I want to get all the titles—that’s my goal.”

Tevin Farmer def. Guillaume Frenois by unanimous decision

Farmer cruised to another successful title defense—and cruise is certainly the right word. He was extended the entire 12-round distance by his challenger Frenois, of France. And for the second time in a row the American world champion took the last couple rounds off. In the end the judges still awarded Farmer the fight on scores of 116-111, 116-111 and 119-108.

A big speed advantage was quickly realized by Farmer, leading Frenois around early on. Frenois opened up in the third. But the defending champion was back on top over the next couple rounds.

In Round 6, Farmer would be warned for a blow that strayed way below the belt. It could not have happened at a worst time for the challenger as it was Frenois’ best round so far. Another low blow occurred in the tenth period and referee Mark Calo-oy couldn’t let it go, deducting the American a point.

The foul did nothing to convince Farmer to close out the show emphatically. For in the final stages, Frenois clipped his man with multiple left hooks and conceivably stole the final three rounds. In the end, it did not matter.

A glance at CompuBox suggests the right man won. Farmer landed 167 of 636 total punches (26 percent) while Frenois connected on 75 of 425 total punches (18 percent).

In the post-fight interview, Farmer summed up his performance before eluding to why he let off the gas across the finish line.

“I came out here and did what I had to do,” Farmer said. “My hands are always messed up. I come in here and I win and I keep winning.

“I don’t care about the crowd,” Farmer continued as Frenois could be seen in the backdrop, propped up on the corner post to draw cheers from the Texas audience. “You going to love me or you going to hate me. My speed and my IQ won the fight,” Farmed concluded.

When asked of the possibility of unifying his belt with WBA belt holder Gervonta Davis, Farmer took the opportunity to set the record straight and express the plans he has in mind for his career.

“Eddie Hearn has sent [Davis] multiple offers,” Farmer said. “I want all the champions out there. But if I can’t make those fights, give me JoJo Diaz.”

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Fight Preview: Ramirez vs. Hooker, Farmer vs. Frenois


By: Robert Aaron Contreras

This Saturday, on DAZN, a unification is at hand between WBC beltholder Jose Carlos Ramirez and WBO claimant Maurice “Mighty Mo” Hooker. This despite the the heavy criticism both men faced for not joining the World Boxing Super Series (WBSS).

So while the WBSS finale between fellow junior welterweight champions Regis Prograis and Josh Taylor remains in limbo, the title staged is being propped up in Arlington, Texas—not far from Dallas where Hooker was a touted amateur fighter.

Ramirez vs. Hooker, 140-pound unification

Undefeated in 53 fights between them, both men regrettably turned in iffy performances earlier this year.

Hooker, for one, admitted in March to not taking seriously his challenger Mikkel LesPierre. As a result, it took the 29-year-old defending champ three attempts on the scales before finally hitting the 140-pound mark.

In Hooker’s defense—literally—LesPierre hardly edged a single round. Hooker turned him away by wide margins, befuddling the challenger at the end of his own 80-inch reach. The Texas-born boxer repeatedly straightened out his jab into LesPierre, peppering the New York transplant up and down. Mostly down, with a keen focus on setting up left hooks to the body.

A left hand from Hooker to the liver in the ninth round resulted in the only official knockdown. But additionally in the fifth stanza, a combination wobbled LesPierre, eventually falling to the canvas in a delayed reaction, which referee Benjy Esteves inexplicably called a slip.

Nonetheless, Hooker only gave up three rounds across all three judges’ scorecards. It was a dominant outing following a melee with Alex Saucedo, a finely-tuned combination puncher. Hooker was nearly finished in the second round by Saucedo. Hooker though finally got to his man, and pelted him down in the fateful seventh round.

It was a bruising display for a man with a frame such that it might suggest he can only box and move, relying on his gigantic arms that often make for awkward inside-punching sequences. But hanging back and utilizing his cartoonish length is never a bad plan either. His reach is without a doubt the longest of any high-level junior welterweight and lengthier than even heavyweights like Joseph Parker, Dillian Whyte and Luis Ortiz.

Andy Ruiz Jr., of course, proved the shorter—less imposing—man can always prevail. Ramirez will try to turn the same trick.

In addition to a unification, this weekend also represents Ramirez’s third title defense. He is unbeaten since turning professional in 2012. His has been a natural development in California, becoming a hit in his native Fresno. So much so Hooker reportedly wanted no part in fighting in his opponent’s domain, per BoxingScene.

Ramirez, though, had no problem traveling to Texas or even New York where he triumphed over Albany, NY’s own Amir Imam. In 2018, the visiting fighter earned the WBC belt, bullying Imam en route to a decision victory.

Ramirez, 26, secured his next two title defenses back home in Fresno. First he banged up the world-rated Antonio Orozco for a points win. His second defense against the excellent southpaw Jose Zepeda was not as easy as Ramirez escaped with a split-decision.

Zepeda however had never before been decisively beaten. A perennial contender, the Mexican challenger is not just a tricky southpaw but one with power, to boot. Ramirez experienced that firsthand, hardly landing cleanly on Zepeda. But the champion’s output was just enough to nick the rounds he needed. Fights at the elite level tend to be tit for tat. This one could have went either way.

Ramirez in proving he could pull himself out of a tough go and win big fights was the real takeaway.

Tevin Farmer vs. Guillaume Frenois, 130-pound title fight

Interestingly enough, both men here are coming off fighting the same opponent: Jono Carroll.

Frenois, a 35-year-old Frenchman, took on Carroll first. The two met last December in an eliminator for Farmer’s belt. Carroll, of Ireland—sporting too thick a beard for a boxing match that typically requires shaving down such facial hair—took an early lead. Frenois though bided his time, riding his bicycle, until Carroll’s barnstorming assault simmered down. As Carroll’s stalking approach became less creative, the French boxer applied a nice jab fighting in reverse to take back the second half of the bout.

The two settled for a split-draw, a reasonable decision.

Farmer’s time with Carroll was not any more fun. In March, the 28-year-old American headlined his first show on DAZN. It doubled as a homecoming defense in his native Philadelphia—a welcome occasion after lifting the strap in enemy territory over the Australian Billy Dib.

Carroll again got off to an early lead and by the end threw over 1,000 punches the champion’s way. The scrappy challenger ended up pushing Farmer the distance. Farmer was miserably unmotivated to fire back through the early-to-middle stages. But he turned it up in the final handful of rounds: clearly beating Carroll to the punch: clearly a combatant built for the championship distance.

Farmer has only punched in six knockouts in his 34-bout career. His fists were still mighty enough in 2018 to take out a puncher like James Tennyson by fifth-round TKO, focusing on piercing his challenger’s midsection. Farmer’s punch selection was daunting, adapting to lack of freak physical traits and relying on accuracy which matters most when dishing out liver shots. Farmer has always been one for adapting, developing over his career from an 8-4-1 club fighter, to a surging world champion, unconquered since 2013.

Frenois, far older than Farmer, is similarly a southpaw and undefeated since 2013 all the same. Amid his 15-fight win streak, the French stylist claimed in 2016 the European title, decisioning Samir Ziani, who remains Top 15 by multiple sanctioning bodies.

Two title defenses of the Euro belt followed before Frenoi left his beloved France for Yorkshire in the United Kingdom to pair off with Carroll.

Now Frenois has at last a crack at the world level. Few expect him to outduel his fellow southpaw. But a touch taller than Farmer, with a reliable chin to take whatever the champ has, it is not an impossible scenario.

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Hooker Re-Ups With Matchroom And Roc Nation


By: Sean Crose

“I want the WBC title,” says WBO superlightweight champion Maurice “Mo” Hooker, who has has recently decided to extend his contract (which is co-promotional) with Matchroom Boxing and Roc Nation Sports. “Everyone come to DAZN! Anybody – come to DAZN. Jack Catterall came all the way over here to America to watch me fight. Just wait young grasshopper, you will get your turn.”

Hooker openly admits he is not pleased with his most recent performance, which was against Mikkel Les Pierre at the Turning Stone Casino on March 9th. Although Hooker won by unanimous decision, the fighter clearly felt he could have done better work in the ring. “I give myself a C- in my performance,” he says. “I wasn’t good but I had to push. Look, you live and you learn. If you judge me from this fight, you better not get in the ring thinking the same thing because I am coming for you.”

March 9, 2019; Verona, NY, USA; WBO super lightweight champion Maurice Hooker and Mikkel LesPierre during their bout at the Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, NY. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland/Matchroom Boxing USA

“Making weight was my fault,” he continues, referring to the trouble he had getting on point for the Les Pierrie battle. “I was in the room messing around. That was my fault. I’m learning as I go. I’m not done yet at Super-Lightweight, I want the massive fights.”

Although Hooker might be engaging in a fair bit of self-criticism at the moment, Matchroom honcho Eddie Hearn is still clearly pleased to still have the superlightweight in his stable. “I’m delighted to extend our agreement with Maurice and Roc Nation Sports,” he claims. “Maurice will return this summer, most likely in Dallas, giving him three World title defenses in just seven months.” Hearn’s fighters are beginning to stand out from others in the fight world due to their high rate of activity. The promoter states that Hooker will be no exception.

“We like to keep our world champions nice and busy and we want to push for unification match ups in 2019,” he says. “I believe Maurice is the best 140lber in the world right now and we look forward to helping him prove it on DAZN.” Indeed, being a part of Matchroom means Hooker will be showcasing his talents on DAZN, the streaming service which has lately gobbled up some of the top fighters in the business, such as Canelo Alvarez, and Gennady Golovkin.

“We’re excited to announce that we’ve been able to extend our co-promotional deal of Maurice Hooker with Matchroom Boxing USA,” claims Dino Duva of Roc Nation. “It’s a great partnership and we look forward to working with them not only with Maurice but on other fighters moving forward. Maurice is on his way to becoming one of the biggest stars on DAZN and this deal completely solidifies that.”

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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:
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Boxing Insider Interview: Maurice Hooker: Boxing’s Road Warrior Striving for Greatness


By: Kirk Jackson

Maurice “Mighty Mo” Hooker defends his WBO World Super Lightweight title for the second time against undefeated Mikkel LesPierre 21-0-1 (10 KO’s) at the Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, New York on Saturday March 9, live on DAZN in the US and on Sky Sports in the UK.

Continuing his role as the ‘Road Warrior’ Hooker won his title on the road by playing spoiler, snatching it from the former undefeated WBO lightweight champion Terry Flanagan (at the time 33-0 [13 KO’s]) in Manchester, England just two days shy of his birthday.

Hooker then traveled behind enemy lines for his first defense, overcoming adversity and placing together an exhilarating win over local favorite Alex Saucedo 28-1 (18 KO’s) in Oklahoma City in November of last year. Hooker climbed up off the canvas in the second round to stop Saucedo in the seventh.

Hooker once again travels behind enemy territory to New York, placing his WBO title on the line against Brooklyn’s LesPierre – who would be Hooker’s fourth consecutive undefeated opponent. Although facing home field disadvantage, ‘Mighty Mo’ anticipates success in the form of a knock-out for his title defense.

“With me, I really don’t care where I fight, the ring is my home. It don’t matter where I fight, I just gotta be prepared and ready.”

“I just gotta go in there and do me ya know. Make him adapt to me and I’m gonna use my jab. I watch him but I don’t see nothing that I’m really concerned about with his style. I don’t want to overlook him and I just gotta be prepared for whatever he brings come Saturday night.”

While Hooker is regarded as the heavy favorite, he doesn’t want to overlook his opponent LesPierre and realizes the challenger is coming into this fight hungry with the intention of an upset.

“To me it doesn’t matter who I fight. But this guy’s (LesPierre) is undefeated, but it’s hard to take somebody’s zero. I rather fight somebody undefeated than someone who got a couple losses already. Once they lost, they give up already. When they’re undefeated, it’s hard to take their zero, it’s hard to break them down.”

“He’s going to be more motivated, nervous too, but more motivated. He’s at home fighting for a world title, he’s the underdog this should motivate him, he’s gonna come prepared. This guy is pretty good, he’s durable, he never been knocked out, he won all his fights. You just can’t overlook this guy because you never know what he might bring come Saturday. I’m just ready.”

The role of the ‘Road Warrior’ the proverbial villain – at least on the road, is a role Hooker embraces. The boo’s, the negativity from fans, even the trash talk, fuels Hooker to train harder and perform under pressure. The distractions from the crowd do not prevent him from finding a measure of comfort inside the ring and getting into his ‘Zone.’

“When the fans are booing me and cheering for them, it motivates me to even go harder. Something about the crowd gets to me, being the underdog, getting booed.”

“Sometimes you’re the underdog, but sometimes it goes your way, makes you train even harder. Like I said, once I get in the ring, I’m very comfortable and I’m so zoned in.”

“I focus on that guy and the fans? What are they going to do, cheer? It’s nothing, as long as I’m doing what I’m supposed to do, the fans are gonna be quiet.”

“A lot of people take it wrong when I say I’m going to knock the other guy out but that’s the name of the game. A lot of people will say he’s big-headed, he’s this and that, but I put that in my mind the quicker I knock em out the quicker I get paid.”

“A lot of people think I’m cocky for saying stuff like that, like when I fought Terry Flanagan, I told him I wanna punch him in the mouth – I mean come on its boxing you’re gonna get hit in the mouth. A lot people take it the wrong way, I’m pretty sure the dude (LesPierre) I’m fighting on Saturday wants to knock me out. It’s boxing, we both knock each other out, people take it the wrong way, but once they interview me or get to know me they find out I’m a cool person.”

Clearing any misconceptions, Hooker is steadfast in stating his dedication towards family and exhibits a laid-back demeanor in during his time outside the ring.

“I like to hang out with my kids and my family I’m a real laid back person. I like to sit back watch tv or play with my kids, take my kids out somewhere to have fun. I’m real laid back.”

Nevertheless his laid back demeanor should not be mistaken for weakness or complacency for that matter. Hooker wants to achieve greatness like other great fighters before him, fighters he admittedly admired growing up. Fighters such as Mike Tyson, Roy Jones, Muhammad Ali and Tommy Hearns.

“I watch him (Tommy Hearns) a lot, I like his left hook to the body – I wanna get that down like how he had it. His left hook to the body, he had a good one.”

“When it’s all said and done I wanna be one of the best like Muhammad Ali. I want everyone to remember my name, I want everyone to know that I’ll go anywhere and fight anybody.”

Hooker realizes these aspirations and overall worldwide recognition requires greater accomplishments down the line. Starting with conquering his current division and obtaining more, ascending towards mythical pound-for-pound status.

“That’s the goal but first if I move up (in weight class), I wanna take over 140. I have to take over 140 before I move up.”

“When you say pound-for-pound, I look at pound-for-pound different. I’m looking at the different weight classes, how many titles you won in a different weight class. I would say Terence Crawford right now, he’s been in the game a little longer than Errol Spence. He had a belt at 135, he had all the belts at 140, he now has a belt at 147. You look at Mikey Garcia, but later on in Errol Spence’s career, I’ll say he’ll be pound-for-pound; if he moves up in weight or if he dominates at 147.”

“To me I’m not on the list yet, I haven’t accomplished some of my goals. To get on the list I have to keep working hard and keep pushing myself to win more titles and to put my name out there even more. But I’m not up there yet, I’m working, that’s one of my goals.”

By facing his fourth consecutive undefeated fighter in the challenger’s backyard, Hooker is making a statement. Hooker is chasing greatness and aims to establish his reputation as one of the best to ever do it. While the champion from Dallas known as ‘Mighty Mo’ has a steep mountain to climb, he won’t allow detractors and nay-sayers keep him down or from achieving his goals.

“I stay focused and I don’t wanna get cocky or too big headed and I keep pushin because I know I can better than where I’m at now.”

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Maurice Hooker: “I Feel I Am the Best”


By: Sean Crose

WBO World Super Lightweight Champion Maurice Hooker (25-0) is looking forward to facing Mikkel LesPierre (21-0-1) this Saturday, March 9th, at the Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona New York, on a card to be aired live on the DAZN streaming service. The Dallas, Texas native is also looking forward to eventually facing off against an opponent in his hometown. “It would mean so much to me to fight in Dallas as a champion,” Hooker says. “I want to show the kids in my neighborhood that don’t have anyone to look up to that they can look at me – I’m a champion that they can follow and look up to.”

March 6, 2019; New York, NY, USA; WBO super lightweight champion Maurice Hooker and challenger Mikkel LesPierre pose after the final press conference for their March 9, 2019 fight at the Turning Stone Resort and Casino in Verona, NY. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland/Matchroom Boxing USA

“Dallas,” says Hooker, “is my home and in my heart, but there’s too many distractions to train there. In San Diego, I wake up thinking about boxing and go to bed thinking about boxing, and just train in between. The weather is great, I just love it.” As much as he loves the sport, Hooker claims boxing has done more than allow him to win titles and earn money.

“I wasn’t a disciplined kid so boxing taught me a lot,” he says. “My attitude was bad so boxing taught me to keep calm no matter what. When you look at what I’ve achieved, that’s the example I want to show the kids where I am from…my kids are my motivation – I want to give them the life that I didn’t have growing up, give them everything they want and be there for them.”

Although Brooklyn’s LesPierre hasn’t lost a fight, Hooker doesn’t see him as the most formidable foe he’s going to face. “I am my biggest opponent. Sometimes you can think ‘I’m a World champion, I don’t need to train.’ I know that can backfire on me in the gym so I am working harder than ever because I want to stay a champion and achieve more in the future.”

Hooker, who was last seen stopping Alex Saucedo in November of last year, is well aware that he’s in one of the hotter divisions in boxing. “It’s an open division,” he says of the super-lightweight realm, “and one I think I can take over. There’s a lot of good fighters in there making a name for themselves and a lot coming up…I’m a champion and I want to fight the best. I feel I am the best. My long arms, my chin, my skills and my hard work will put me on the top – I think that sets me apart.”

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DAZN Boxing Preview: Bivol vs. Smith Jr., Hooker vs. LesPierre


By: William Holmes

The Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, New York will be the host site for Saturday’s latest boxing offering by DAZN and will feature two separate title fights. The co-main event will be between Maurice Hooker and Mikkel LesPierre for the WBO Junior Welterweight Title and between Dmitry Bivol and Joe Smith Jr. for Bivol’s WBA Light Heavyweight Title.

The undercard also features some entertaining and competitive bout. Callum Johnson will meet Seanie Monaghan in the light heavyweight division, Sergey Kuzmin will meet Joey Dawejko in the heavyweight division, and Yamaguchi Falcao and Paul Mendez in the middleweight division. Prospects such as Otha Jones III and Junior Younan will also be featured.


Photo Credit: DAZN Boxing USA Twitter Account

The following is a preview of the two title fights on the card.

Maurice Hooker (25-0-3) vs. Mikkel LesPierre (21-0-1); WBO Junior Welterweight Title

Maurice Hooker exploded into the boxing scene when he won the WBO Junior Welterweight Title over Terry Flanagan at the Manchester Arena in Manchester.

He has defended the title once since then and looks to defend again against Mikkel LesPierre.

Hooker will have a three inch height advantage over LesPierre. He will also be five years younger than LesPierre, who is thirty four years old.

Both boxers have been relatively active recently. Hooker fought twice in 2018 and in 2017. LesPierre fought three times in 2018 and three times in 2017.

Both boxers had moderate success as an amateur. Hooker was a Dallas Regional Golden Gloves Champion and LesPierre competed as an amateur with moderate success.

Hooker has beaten the likes of Alex Saucedo, Terry Flanagan, Courtney Jackson, Cristobal Cruz, and Ty Barnett. He had draws with Darleys Perez, Abel Ramos, and Tyron Chatman.

LesPierre has beaten nobody of note. His biggest wins to date were against Gustavo David Vittori, Noel Murphy, and Mario Beltre.

This doesn’t appear to be a very competitive fight for Maurice Hooker. Les Pierre turned pro late and has never faced someone on Hooker’s level. Hooker should walk away with the win.

Dmitry Bivol (15-0) vs. Joe Smith Jr. (24-2); WBA Light Heavyweight Title

Dmitry Bivol is considered by many to be the best light heavyweight in the world. The former amateur Russian National Champion will face the heavy handed Joe Smith Jr.

Both boxers are in their prime with Bivol being 28 years old and Smith being 29 years old. Both boxers are also six feet tall. Bivol does have an edge in amateur experience as e was Russian National Champion and Smith was a New York Golden Gloves Champion.

Smith however, had a big edge in power as he had twenty stoppage victories while Bivol has eleven.

However, Bivol appears ready to face the power of Smith. He stated, “I am ready to fight. I hope Joe is ready too. We will make a great fight.”

Bivol has been the more active boxer of the two. Bivol fought three times in 2018 and four times in 2017. Smith only fought once in 2018, once in 2017, and three times in 2016.

Bivol has defeated the likes of Jean Pascal, Isaac Chilemba, Sullivan Barrera, Trent Broadhurst, Cedric Agnew, and Samuel Clarkson.

Smith has defeated the likes of Bernard Hopkins, Andrzej Fonfara, and Will Rosinsky. His losses were to Sullivan Barrera and Eddie Caminero.

Despite the fact Smith has been defeated before, the magnitude of this title fight is not lost on him. He recently stated, “This is what every fighter dreams of, to get a shot at a world title and this is my shot.”

It will be interesting to see how Bivol responds to a power shot from Smith, if he’s able to land one, but Bivol is a very good technical boxer and he should be able to walk away with the decision.

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Top Rank Boxing on ESPN Results: Hooker Retains Title, Stops Saucedo in 7th


By: Michael Kane

Oklahoma will continue to wait for their first world champion since Sean O’Grady in 1981. Alex Saucedo was hoping to become Oklahoma’s second ever champion but fell short in his bid against the champion Maurice Hooker.

4102 fans were in the Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City to see if their man, Saucedo, could do it. Once again Hooker was on enemy territory, he won the WBO Junior Welterweight title in June when he travelled to Manchester to take on hometown favourite Terry Flanagan for the vacant title, winning by split decision.

There was to be no decision after this fight. Saucedo started well and landed a big right hand. This put Hooker on the canvas in the second, sending his fans into ecstasy. Hooker was bloodied but Saucedo didn’t finish him.


Photo Credit: Mikey Williams/Top Rank

Moving on to the 5th, Saucedo had Hooker against the ropes but the champ came back in the closing stages of the round.

In the 6th Saucedo’s eye was starting to look swollen.

The fight was over in the 7th as Hooker took control of the fight, Saucedo suffered a standing eight count after Hooker landed a right hand. Hooker went on to stop Saucedo later in the round, winning by TKO.

“Alex is a great fighter. He came to fight, and I came to fight,and I went right at him,” Hooker (25-0-3, 17 KOs) said. “I knew the first couple of rounds would be tough, but eventually it would be my time to take over.”

Saucedo (28-1, 18 KOs) said, “He’s a champion for a reason. Now I am going to rest, enjoy my family, and come back stronger. I gave it my very best in the ring.”

In the other big fight on the card, NABF Welterweight champion Egidijus Kavaliauskas (21-0, 17 KOs) defended his strap against undefeated Roberto Arriaza (17-1, 13 KOs).

It took the Lithuanian 3 rounds to put the Nicaraguan, Arriaza away to retain his NABF title and add the WBO Inter-continental title.

Kavaliauskas now wants a shot at World champion Terence Crawford, who was ringside.

“I want the best in the welterweight division, and the best guy right now is Terence Crawford.” Said Kavaliauskas. “I am ready for that fight next.”

Arriaza said, “I know I had him in trouble. I was the one who was dominating and was in control of the fight. I’m sure that I was going to finish him within six rounds, but he surprised me with a punch to the back of the ear and then connected with me while I was on the canvas.”

In other results:

Super Lightweight: Cletus Seldin (22-1, 18 KOs), KO 1, :26, Nelson Lara (17-11-4, 9 KOs).

* Left hook to the body put Lara down for the count

Super Bantamweight: Jonathan Guzman (23-1, 22 KOs), unanimous decision, 10 rounds, Roberto Castaneda (23-11-1, 16 KOs). Scores: 99-91 3X.

Middleweight: Tyler Howard (16-0, 11 KOs), KO 1, 1:30, Isiah Seldon (12-2-1, 4 KOs).

Light Heavyweight: Trevor McCumby (25-0, 18 KOs), unanimous decision, 8 rounds, Felipe Romero (20-16-1, 14 KOs). Scores: 78-73, 78-72, 77-73.

Lightweight: Albert Bell (13-0, 5 KOs),TKO 6, 3:00, Carlos Padilla (16-9-1, 10 KOs).

Bantamweight: Aaron Morales (5-0, 3 KOs), unanimous decision, 6 rounds, Francisco Lapizco (8-9, 2 KOs). Scores: 59-55 3X.

Super Welterweight: Paul Kroll (2-0, 2 KOs ) TKO 2, :13, Antonio Wattell (1-6-1, 1 KO).

Super Bantamweight: Rasheen Brown (2-0, 0 KOs), majority decision, 4 rounds, Sebastian Baltazar (1-3, 0 KOs). Scores: 38-38, 39-37 2X.

Lightweight: John Rincon (1-0, 1 KO) KO 1, 1:24, Emanuel Williams (0-1).

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Top Rank Boxing on ESPN Preview: Hooker vs. Saucedo


By: Michael Kane

Home town fighter Alex Saucedo is challenging champion Maurice Hooker for the WBO Super Lightweight title at the Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma on Friday 16th November.

This will be Hooker’s (24-0-3, 16 KOs) first defence of the belt he won back in June when he beat Terry Flanagan in Manchester, England. The Texan it seems doesn’t mind travelling to his opponents back yard.


Photo Credit: Top Rank Boxing Twitter Account

Saucedo (28-0, 18 KOs) is looking to emulate Sean O’Grady, by becoming Oklahoma’s second world champion. Its been a long wait, 1981 was the year O’Grady won the WBA Lightweight title. Saucedo last fought in June, when he stopped Leonardo Zappavigna in a fight of the year candidate.

Both boxers used to spar and train together when they were younger so should know plenty about each other.

“We both were young back then. We got better. I got better. He’s better. I just got a little more better than him. It’s going to be a good fight come Friday. I’m here in Oklahoma. I don’t care where I fight. It’s on.” Hooker said when asked about their past history at the press conference.

Hooker is unfazed fighting in Oklahoma, “l’ll fight anywhere. Outside your house, in front of your house, in the ring, on the sidewalk. I don’t care where I fight as long as I fight. I’m a fighter. I love to fight. I can outbox him. I can fight you on the inside. Come Friday, we’re going to see a good fight.”

Saucedo is dreaming of becoming the 2nd world champion from Oklahoma. He said, “I grew up just around the corner I always had the dream to bring championship fights back to Oklahoma, and now its here. I’m not going to let this opportunity go. I’m ready. We prepared ourselves in Big Bear for a very good fight. Like I’ve said, I’m ready for anything Maurice brings that night. I’m going to take that belt from him.”

When asked about his fight with Zappavigna, Saucedo replied, “It was a very tough fight. Everyone enjoyed it. I’m glad we’re here at this fight now. That fight got me to this point. Like I said, I’m going to take advantage of this opportunity.”

Also on the card, Californian based Lithuanian Egidijus Kavaliauskas defends his NABF welterweight tiltle against Nicaraguan Roberto Arriaza (17-0, 13 KOs).

Kavaliauskas (20-0, 16 KOs) won the NABF belt Mahonry Montes in September last year and has went on to successfully defend it twice.

Arriaza last fought in May and recorded a unanimous decision win over Juan Ruiz. Arriaza won the WBO Inter-continental title in March when he KO’d Sammy Valentin in the first round.

Press Conference quotes:

Egidijus Kavaliauskas

“Every fight for me is a step toward my dream. My dream is to become a world champion, so every fight for me, I’m bringing 100 percent of me because it’s a step. A big step. This fight is the same.”

“Big respect to Roberto. He’s a very good fighter. He and I have a similar style, so I know it will be a great fight.”

Roberto Arriaza

“I think this is a great opportunity. This is the opportunity of my life. I want to thank everyone involved for giving me this opportunity. I’ve been working hard for this.”

“I know he’s a great fighter. I have a lot of respect for him. Like always, I have a lot of faith, and in the name of God, I’m going to be victorious once again.”

Bob Arum

“It’s great to be back in Oklahoma City. It’s our second time here this year. {Sean O’Grady} is the pride of Oklahoma City. I never promoted Sean here, but he won the title from Hilmer Kenty of the Kronk group in Atlantic City, the {WBA} lightweight championship.”

Sean O’Grady

“I’ve kept my eye on Alex Saucedo since he was about 12 years old. And I can tell you right now, the kid can fight. He grew up in the amateurs. He was a great little fighter, even as a young man. At 12, 13, 14 years old, he was a great little fighter.”

“I like Maurice Hooker. He too has a great background in the sport of boxing. This is going to be a terrific matchup.”

ESPN, Midnight ET

Maurice Hooker (champion) vs. Alex Saucedo (challenger), 12 rounds, WBO junior welterweight world title

ESPN+, 6:30 p.m. ET

Egidijus Kavaliauskas vs. Roberto Arriaza, 10 rounds, Kavaliauskas’ NABF welterweight title

Cletus Seldin vs. Nelson Lara, 10 rounds, super lightweight

Jonathan Guzman vs. Roberto Castaneda, 10 rounds, super bantamweight

Albert Bell vs. Carlos Padilla, 8 rounds, lightweight

Trevor McCumby vs. Felipe Romero, 8 rounds, light heavyweight

Tyler Howard vs. Isiah Seldon, 8 rounds, middleweight

Aaron Morales vs. Francisco Lapizco, 6 rounds, bantamweight

Rasheen Brown vs. Sebastian Baltazar, 4 rounds, super bantamweight

Paul Kroll vs. Travis Conley, 4 rounds, super welterweight

John Rincon vs. Emanuel Williams, 4 rounds, lightweight

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Maurice Hooker Makes Terry Flanagan Eat His Words


By: Ken Hissner

Fighting Saturday for the vacant WBO World Super Lightweight title WBO World Lightweight Champion southpaw Terry “Turbo” Flanagan, 33-1 (13), of Manchester, UK, suffered his first loss losing a split decision to American Maurice “Mighty Mo” Hooker, 24-0-3 (16), of Dallas, TX, over 12 rounds.

The bout was held at the Manchester Arena in the UK with scores for Hooker by 117-111 and 115-113 and a 117-111 for Flanagan. The Referee was Terry O’Connor of the UK.

Prior to the fight Flanagan made the statement pertaining to his opponent Maurice “Mighty Mo” Hooker as “just another American”.

It was only the second time Hooker fought outside of the US. His other bout was February 2017 when he defeated former IBF World Featherweight champion Cristobal Cruz, in Tijuana, MEX, over 10 rounds. Hooker was the WBO NABO Super Lightweight champion at the time.

Hooker’s three draws started in his debut in April of 2011, against Tyrone Chatman, 7-1, of St. Louis, MO, at the Orpheum Theater, in St. Louis, MO. It was a split draw with each fighter getting a vote and the third a draw.
In January of 2014 Hooker was held to a majority draw by Abel Ramos, 8-0, of Casa Grande, AZ, at the Cook Convention Center, in Memphis, TN. Hooker got one of the votes.

In Hooker’s last draw in November of 2016 he fought to a split draw with former interim WBA Lightweight champion Darleys Perez, then 33-2-1, at the T-Mobile Arena, in Las Vegas, NV. Each fighter received a winning vote.

In August of 2017 in Hooker’s previous fight with Flanagan he defeated Courtney Jackson, then 18-0, of Homestead, FL, with winning scores of 100-90 twice and 99-91. It was held at the Omni Dallas Hotel, in Dallas, TX.

Hooker had an 85-7 amateur record and was a Dallas Regional Golden Gloves champion. The 28 year-old Hooker was the No. 2 contender defeating the No. 1 contender Flanagan. Alex “El Cholo” Saucedo, 27-0 (17), of Oklahoma City, OK, is the No. 3 contender. He holds the WBA-NABA USA and the WBO NABO titles. He is also the No. 2 contender in the WBA with the title being held by Kiryl “Mad Bee” Relikh, 22-2 (19), of Minsk, Belarus.

The win over Flanagan proves Hooker is not “just another American” opponent but now the WBO World Super Lightweight Champion!

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Tyson Fury Return & Flanagan vs. Hooker Preview


By: Ste Rowen

This Saturday night marks the return of the lineal heavyweight champion, Tyson Fury after almost 3 years outside of the ring since his 2015 victory over then heavyweight king, Wladimir Klitschko. Taking on Sefer Seferi 23-1 (21KOs) over a scheduled 10 rounds.

From being stripped of the IBF belt within weeks of clinching 4 titles (IBF, WBA, WBO & Ring) that came with beating the 11-years undefeated Ukrainian; then vacating the WBA & WBO citing health issues; to eventually losing the Ring Magazine belt due to inactivity earlier this year; it’s been a rollercoaster of events since that night at the Esprit Arena in Dusseldorf.

But the ride looks to be back on a steady rise again, and the lineal champion is ready to prove he’s better than ever.

‘I feel like I’ve been a goldfish in a tank and now I’m getting released back into the river where I belong,’ Fury told a packed-out press conference on Wednesday, ‘So just put me there and watch me swim.’
‘I’ve been out 1000 days, it’s a long time for anybody isn’t it? Not to mention the amount of weight I put on, 8 stone…I’m looking good, I’m flying…I’ve got better looking by the day.’

Fury, 25-0 (18KOs) admitted to rising to 27.5 stone. Compare that to the weight he expects to enter the ring this weekend, ‘Anywhere around 19’7.’

‘I feel sharper now, faster than I’ve ever been. More power. I just want it more.’

On his opponent, whose most notable fight came in a 10-round decision loss to Manuel Charr in 2016,
‘I’ve met his manager before, he was the manager of Christian Hammer, and I pumped his ass too. Listen Sefer’s a good fighter, I’m not underestimating Sefer. I look at him like I look at Wladimir, Joshua, Wilder, anybody.’

Seferi, according to Boxrec rankings, is Albania’s 2nd best cruiserweight (below brother, Nuri) and Europe’s 44th, having primarily fought most of his pro career at, or below 200lb. But, it was unrealistic to expect a top 10 level opponent as Tyson himself claimed a number of months ago.
Saturday’s fight is all about one man shaking off the rust and announcing his ring return.

Terry Flanagan vs Maurice Hooker

Fury may be the biggest name fighter on Saturday’s Manchester Arena bill, but he’s certainly not involved in the biggest bout. That honour goes to former WBO world lightweight champion, Terry Flanagan who takes on Texas native, Maurice Hooker, 22-0-3 (16KOs) for the vacant WBO super-lightweight championship.

‘Turbo’ Flanagan, 33-0 (13KOs) made five decent, but somewhat underwhelming defences of the lightweight strap he attained back in 2015, including convincing victories over Diego Magdaleno, Derry Matthews and Petr Petrov. But the Manchester native, who fights for a world title for the 4th time in his home city, was never able to secure the big unification bouts that were rumoured to be in development against the likes of IBF champion, Robert Easter Jr, or former WBA and Ring 135 champion, Jorge Linares.

In any case, speaking to ‘Fight Hub TV’, the southpaw is now ready to become a 2-weight world champion,
‘I wanted Linares, I wanted Lomachenko, I wanted them all, but they just didn’t happen…For some reason these fighters don’t. Maybe they see me as little reward and big risk.

‘I’ve prepared for elite fighters, I’ve not prepared for a Maurice Hooker, I’ve prepared for better,’
Terry fought just once last year, a 12-round defence against Petr Petrov and was due to fight his mandatory, Felix Verdejo around June time but pulled out because of a leg injury, before then deciding to make the move up in weight to 140.

‘Might Mo’ Hooker, trained by Vince Parra is yet to go the 12-round distance, going 2-0-1 in his last 3 fights over 10, including a split decision draw with former WBA lightweight champion, Darleys Perez on the KovalevWard1 undercard.

Hooker has so far made his career at super-lightweight and speaking to ‘British Boxers’, the American feels the difference in weight is going to be a big disadvantage for his British opponent,
‘The extra 5lb, my height, my power, my skills, everything; Terry’s not an exciting fighter and I’m ready for Saturday and I’m gonna take it to him.’

‘He’s soft. He was a champion at 135, how you gonna be a champion and not fight nobody?…He got a good matchmaker, they’re finding him these little guys to fight at 135.’

If Flanagan emerges the victor on the night, he’ll match fellow Mancunian, Ricky Hatton in becoming a two-weight world champion, and ‘Turbo’, though trying not to overlook his upcoming opponent, sees his future rising up at least another weight class,

‘I’m plenty big enough, I’m tall enough…I’m happy at the minute where I am but if them opportunities come up again at the weight above, I’ll jump at the chance.’

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HBO PPV Undercard Results: Curtis Stevens and Oleksandr Gvozdyk Emerge Victorious, Hooker Draws with Perez


HBO PPV Undercard Results: Curtis Stevens and Oleksandr Gvozdyk Emerge Victorious, and Hooker Draws with Perez
By: William Holmes

The T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada was the host site for tonight’s HBO PPV card featuring a main event betweenSergey Kovalev and Andre Ward for the Light Heavyweight Championship.

Three bouts were featured on the undercard, and the opening bout was between Curtis Stevens (28-5) and James De La Rosa (23-4) in the middleweight division.

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De La Rosa was rocked by a rising left hook from Stevens in the first round and he was on the defensive for most of the opening round. Stevens was able to land a left hook that knocked De La Rosa in the last thirty seconds of the round, but De La Rosa was able to get back to his feet.

De La Rosa had a cut by his left eye in the second round and took heavy shots to the body. However, he was able to start to land his jab in the last minute of the round.

Both fighters let it all fly in the third round and both landed several hard combinations. Stevens got the better of De La Rosa and landed the stronger shots, but he may have spent all of his energy.

De La Rosa began to relay on his jab in the fourth round and was able to keep Stevens at bay, and that jab continued to be successful for De La Rosa in the fifth and sixth rounds and even had Stevens trapped in a corner at multiple points.

De La Rosa looked like the fresher fighter in the seventh round and Stevens was short with most of his punches. Stevens crowded v in the eighth and was able to land some heavy hooks to the body, but he was deducted a point by the referee for landing a low blow.

The announcers felt Stevens may have hurt his left hand in the ninth round since he wasn’t throwing his patented left hook counter like he usually does. The HBO cameras were able to capture Stevens telling his trainer he hurt his left hand in the fourth round

Stevens pressed the action in the final round and landed some heavy shots over the top of De La Rosa’s guard which reopened the cut of De La Rosa, but it was De La Rosa who was raising his hands in the air at the final bell as if he won the fight.

The final scores were 98-90, 96-92, and 96-92 for Curtis Stevens.

The next bout of the night was in the light heavyweight division between Isaac Chilemba (24-4-2) and Oleksandr Gvozdyk (11-0).

Both boxers fought out of an orthodox stance and Gvozdyk was backing Chilemba up early with his contant jab. Chilema was able to land his check left hook near the end of the round, but it could have been scored either way.

Chilemba was missing with his hooks in the second round while Gvozdyk was finding a home for his right cross. Gvozdyk was landing at a higher clip than Chilemba in the third round, and he had Chilemba covering up in a defensive shell with his back against the ropes while Gvozdyk unleashed several combinations on him.

Chilemba had a strong fifth round and was able to land some short uppercuts on the inside, but Gvozdyk took back over in the sixth round and looked like he was wearing his opponent down.

Gvozdyk outworked Chilemba in the seventh round and Roy Jones Jr. threatened to stop the fight if he didn’t pick up the action in the eighth round. Chilemba was able to catch Gvozdyk by surprise in the opening thirty seconds of the eighth round, but Gvozdyk took back over in the final minute and had Chilemba’s nose bleeding badly.

Chilemba told his trainer, Roy Jones Jr., before the start of the ninth round that he was done and couldn’t fight anymore, and Jones told the referee the fight was over. Chilemba believed his right hand was broken.
Oleksandr Gvozdyk wins by TKO at the end of the eighth round.

The final fight on the undercard was between Maurice Hooker (21-0-2) and Darleys Perez (33-2-1) in the junior welterweight division.

Hooker was a lot taller than Perez and used it to his advantage by keeping a jab in the face of Perez in the opening round. However, Perez looked comfortable with Hooker’s power in the second round and was able to catch Hooker by surprise with some well timed hooks, and he had him hurt in the opening minute of the third round with a clean looping right hook.

Perez appeared to score a knockdown in the fourth round when he tagged Hooker with a right cross and sent him tumbling backwards and to the mat, but the referee ruled it a slip.

Hooker had a good fifth round with an active jab, but Perez again caught Hooker with looping right hooks in the sixth round.

Perez remained the aggressor in the seventh round and took some of Hooker’s best punches but kept on moving forward. Perez remained the aggressor in the eighth round and had Hooker circling away from his opponent and moving backwards.

The final two rounds played out like the earlier rounds, with Perez pressing forward and landing an occasional right hook or right cross while Hooker would land a number of jabs while moving backwards.

A lot of rounds could have been scored either way, but the judges appeared to agree by scoring the fight 97-93 Perez, 97-93 Hooker, 95-95 making the bout a draw.

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HBO PPV Preview: Sergey Kovalev vs. Andre Ward, Hooker vs. Perez, Chilemba vs. Gvozdyk, Stevens vs. De La Rosa


HBO PPV Preview: Sergey Kovalev vs. Andre Ward, Hooker vs. Perez, Chilemba vs. Gvozdyk, Stevens vs. De La Rosa
By: William Holmes

On Saturday night Roc Nation Sports and Main Events Promotions will team up to deliver one of the best fights that could be made in boxing on HBO Pay Per View. The T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada will be the host site for the WBO/IBF/WBA Light Heavyweight Title fight between Sergey Kovalev and Andre Ward.

Ten fights total are featured on this card, including the highly anticipated debut of two time Olympic Gold Medalist Claressa Shields.

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HBO appears to be ready to televise four fights on the pay per view, and the following is a preview of all four bouts.

Curtis Stevens (28-5) vs. James De La Rosa (23-4); Middleweights

This bout is on the pay per view card despite the fact it’s highly unlikely that either participant will be fighting for a world title in the near future.

Curtis Stevens is a fan favorite and shocked many in his last bout when he beat undefeated prospect Patrick Teixeira.

He’ll be giving up ½ inch in reach and about three inches in height to De La Rosa. However, he has faced significantly better competition and has a deep amateur background than his opponent.

De La Rosa lost his last two fights and only has thirteen knockout victories. Stevens has twenty one knockout victories and is known for delivering exciting bouts.

Both boxers only fought one time in 2016, zero times in 2015, and three times in 2014.

Stevens has beaten the likes of Patrick Teixeira, Tureano Johnson, Patrick Majewski, Saul Roman, Derrick Findley, and Elvin Ayala. He has lost to the likes of Gennady Golovkin, Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam, Andre Dirrell and Jesse Brinkley. De La Rosa has defeated the likes of Alfredo Angulo but has lost to the likes of Jason Quigley, Hugo Centeno Jr., Marcus Willis, and Allen Conyers.

Stevens has been inconsistent throughout his career, but this is a bout that he should win in a fan pleasing fashion.

Isaac Chilemba (24-4-2) vs. Oleksandr Gvozdyk (11-0); Light Heavyweights

Not many boxers can claim to have lasted twelve rounds with Sergey Kovalev, and Isaac Chilemba is one of them.

However, he’s facing a highly decorated Ukranian amateur that is managed by Egis Klimas, who has an impressive stable of boxers under his control, and many consider Gvozdyk to be future world champion material.

Gvozdyk has nine stoppage victories in only eleven professional bouts and is a 2012 Summer Olympics Bronze medalist. Chilemba has ten stoppage victories in thirty professional bouts, so Gvozdyk has a clear edge in power. Chilemba also does not have the amateur experience of Gvozdyk.

Gvozdyk will be the same height as Chilemba but will also have a two and a half inch reach advantage. They are of the same age. Gvozdyk has also been considerably more active than Chilemba. He fought three times in 2016 and four times in 2015, while Chilemba only fought once in 2016 and twice in 2015.

Gvozdyk has already defeated the likes of Nadjib Mohammedi and Tommy Karpency before he has faced his twelfth opponent. Chilemba has defeated the likes of Doudou Ngumbu, Maksim Vlasov, Edison Miranda, Denis Grachev, and Vasily Lepikhin; but he has also lost to the likes of Sergey Kovalev, Eleider Alvarez, Tony Bellew, and Willbeforce Shihepo.

Chilemba is a tough opponent with a strong chin, but he’s not on the same level of technique as Gvozdyk and he doesn’t have the power to score an upset knockout.

This should be a good showcase fight for Gvozdyk to show off his skills.

Maurice Hooker (21-0-2) vs. Darleys Perez (33-2-1); Junior Welterweights

Maurice Hooker is one of the most intriguing prospects on the undercard, as his reach and height has many people comparing him to Paul Williams.

Hooker will have a four inch height advantage as well as an amazing ten inch reach advantage over Perez. He’s also six years younger than Perez.

Hooker is known for being a hard puncher and has stopped sixteen of his opponents. Perez has twenty one stoppage victories, but his best days appear to be behind him.

Hooker fought three times in 2015 and twice in 2016 while Perez fought one time in 2016 and three times in 2015.

Perez has the edge in amateur experience. He represented Columbia in the 2008 Summer Olympics while Hooker’s biggest claim to fame in the amateurs was when he won the Dallas Regional Golden Gloves Championship.

This bout is a big step up in competition for Hooker. He has defeated the likes of Ty Barnett, Wilfrido Buelvas, and Eduardo Galindo. Perez has beaten the likes of Argenis Lopez, Jonathan Maicelo, and Jaider Parra. His losses have come to Anthony Crolla and Yuriorkis Gamboa.

Perez was the former WBA Lightweight champion, but he’ll be competing at a higher weight class on Saturday and will be facing a good opponent with a ridiculous reach advantage.

The ten inch reach advantage will be too much for Perez to overcome.

Sergey Kovalev (30-0-1) vs. Andre Ward (30-0); WBO/IBF/WBA Light Heavyweight Title

The main event of the night is one of the best fights that could be made in boxing today and the winner will likely have a claim to the top pound for pound spot on the mythical list.

Kovalev, at the age of 33, and Ward, at the age of 32, are nearing the end of their physical primes but neither have shown signs of slowing down inside the ring.

They both are six foot tall, but Kovalev will have a slight one and a half inch reach advantage when they are both inside the ring.

Ward has the deeper amateur background of the two as he won the Olympic Gold Medal in 2004. Kovalev also had success as an amateur and was a former Russian Champion as an amateur, but he never competed in the Olympics and was engaged intense competition with two other Russian amateur standouts, Matt Korobov and Artur Beterbiev.

Kovalev has the edge in power. He has stopped twenty six of his opponents while Ward has only stopped fifteen. However, Ward is a gifted defensive boxer and is excellent with his counters, and Kovalev often leaves himself open for counters after he throws one of his heavy combinations.

Kovalev has defeated the likes of Isaac Chilemba, Jean Pascal, Nadjib Mohammedi, Bernard Hopkins, Blake Caparello, Nathan Cleverly, Ismayl Sillah, Cedric Agnew, and Gabriel Campillo. He has fought twice in 2015 and once in 2016.

Ward has fought twice in 2016 and once in 2015. He has defeated the likes of Alexander Brand, Sullivan Barrera, Paul Smith, Edwin Rodriguez, Chad Dawson, Carlo Froch, Artur Abraham, Sakio Bika, Allan Green, Mikkel Kessler, and Edison Miranda.

This is a tough fight for many to pick, mainly because Ward has never faced a power puncher like Kovalev and Kovalev has never faced a slick boxer like Ward.

However, Ward’s jab is his best weapon and he’ll likely use it often to keep Kovalev at bay. History has shown that a slick boxer will usually beat a power puncher if everything else is reason, and Saturday should be no different.

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