What's My Name; Maurice Hooker!

 In hindsight, it was a perfect introduction to the world; Top Rank Boxing on ESPN, live from the Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, OK. WBO jr. welterweight champion, Maurice “Mighty Mo” Hooker (25-0-3, 17 KO’s) walked into the lion’s den, defending his crown against hometown favorite, Alex Saucedo (28-1, 18 KO’s). A downsized, intimate, yet rabid crowd of more than 4,000 watched in-person as 950,000 viewed live on ESPN. With a captive audience as such, Hooker revealed himself to the masses in a defining, attention stealing manner.

 

Saucedo was favored to win at -175 odds, meaning you’d have to bet $175 to win $100. Hooker’s no stranger to this, however, having beaten the odds similarly, claiming the vacant WBO title in Terry Flanagan’s homeland. Even Maurice’s pro debut was in the hometown of a 7-1 opponent; overcoming adversity and the low expectations of others is what he does. He boogied his way to the squared circle, Mystikal’s “Man Right Chea” blaring over the speakers, supremely confident his name would resonate once the bout was over.

 

“OKC, OKC, OKC” chants raining down on the ring, round 1 began with Saucedo initiating the attack, coming forward as Hooker expected. He moved to set up offense and reposition, threw 109 punches and exhibited a harder, more authoritative jab than previously seen. Though an inch shorter, Saucedo was considerably thicker head to toe and took advantage of the small, phone booth sized ring to stalk and close distance in the 2nd. A looping right hand dropped Hooker on his backside, down for the first time in his career. He rose, nose bloody yet aware of his surroundings, firing meaty combinations, buzzing Saucedo with right hands by the ding of the bell. Right then and there, mainstream boxing fans caught a glimpse of the pride, determination, fortitude and bravery flowing thru Maurice Hooker’s veins.

 

The rowdy, blood thirsty Oklahoma City fans were no less energized, sensing or hoping Saucedo would build on the previous round’s knockdown, echoing their familiar battle cry. The atmosphere would’ve crumbled most, but Hooker relied on self-belief, familiarity with enemy territory, the heart of a champion and rose to the occasion. He fired 1-2’s, jabs, double jabs, left hooks off the jab, both over and under. His left hand has never looked more educated, getting every bit of mileage out of that 80” reach. By the 4th Maurice controlled proceedings from center ring with purposeful movement, subtle body-shots and sneaky uppercuts. “Mighty Mo” lingered near the ropes in the 5th, perhaps to fatigue Saucedo, but it resulted in a pretty big round for “El Cholo”. Hooker rolled with quite a few shots, parried and blocked others, even fired some nice, lowkey body-shots, but in a judging capacity it was a better round for Saucedo.  

 

Hooker moved less in the 6th, pivoting much slower, focusing on placing more power behind his punches and cut Saucedo over the left eye before the round was over. As if smelling the end, Maurice started round 7 right in the pocket, softening Saucedo up with jabs and 1-2 combos. A big right-hand counter came over Saucedo’s left jab and hurt him, and “Mighty Mo” went into kill-mode. A flurry worsened Saucedo’s condition and before long Hooker was teeing off like Tiger Wood, with right hands. A monster right cross dipped Saucedo’s knees about as low as possible without falling, and he staggered uncontrollably into the ropes, which held him up. After the ref’s mandatory 8-count, a follow-up series of blows quickly convinced him to end the contest.

 

What’s my name; Maurice Hooker! Just like that, the collective boxing masses gained a heightened level of respect for the man. Dallas area promoters, who were openly supporting and rooting for Saucedo, could be heard saying “I was wrong about Hooker”, in the immediate aftermath. In a world of objective, unbiased media, I was admittedly a Maurice Hooker cheerleader this night. Known him and his journey for many years and can say with certainty I’ve Never been more proud of a fighter from Dallas. Way to go “Mighty Mo”!


3 comments

  • Miracle you can look Maurice Hooker up on Facebook and leave a message.

    Sarge
  • Mehn….you are awesome…
    I admire your skills….
    One last thing i wanna be a boxer
    Like you too…only if you can
    Mentor me…i wanna be a great boxer…
    Thank you!

    Miracle
  • Mehn….you are awesome…
    I admire your skills….
    One last thing i wanna be a boxer
    Like you too…only if you can
    Mentor me…i wanna be a great boxer…
    Thank you!

    Miracle

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