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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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