OAKLAND, CA - AUGUST 06: Maurice Hooker (right) fights Tyrone Barnett in their NABO Junior Welterweight Title bout at ORACLE Arena on August 6, 2016 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)
InterviewsNewsRoc Nation Sports

Maurice Hooker Looks for His Coming out Party on the Kovalev-Ward Undercard

Maurice Hooker Looks for His Coming out Party on the Kovalev-Ward Undercard

OAKLAND, CA - AUGUST 06: Maurice Hooker (right) fights Tyrone Barnett in their NABO Junior Welterweight Title bout at ORACLE Arena on August 6, 2016 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)

Fast-rising Junior Welterweight prospect Maurice “Mighty Mo” Hooker (21-0-2, 16 KOs) is poised for a breakout performance as he takes on veteran Darleys Perez on the Sergey Kovalev vs. Andre Ward HBO Pay-Per-View undercard on Saturday, November 19 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

The tall and lanky 27 year-old from Texas will make his Vegas debut while defending his NABO title in what will be his third ring appearance of the year against Perez (33-2-1, 21 KOs).

“I’m definitely ready and I feel like it’s my time to show the boxing world my skills and show everyone I belong on this stage,” said Hooker in a recent interview with Round By Round Boxing.

Hooker is 2-0 with 2 first round knockouts when acting as the opening act for fellow Roc Nation stablemate Ward. In August on the Ward vs. Alexander Brand co-feature in Oakland Hooker overpowered Tyrone Barnett to get the early stoppage.

Back in March in his Roc Nation debut, Hooker annihilated Wilfredo Buelvas in the first round on the undercard of Ward’s victory over Sullivan Barrera. Hooker’s opponent needed over 5 minutes after the referee first waived the bout off to finally make it back to his own feet.

Hooker is a tall 140 pounder, standing at an almost six feet with an 80 inch reach, which acts as an advantage over almost any Junior Welterweight.

“I’m going to use my jab against Perez,” Hooker said. “I will be very patient and take my time with him. If I see an opening then I’ll to go for it, but the gameplay always is to use my jab even when I get the first-round knockout.

Perez will serve as a huge step up in class for Hooker having been in tough battles with the likes of Anthony Crolla and Yuriorkis Gamboa.

“I watched four of his fights,” said Hooker. “He’s a former world champion and a tough fighter. I’m not taking nothing away from him but it’s just my time now.”

Hooker believes his power will be the key to victory in the bout judging from what he observed from watching Perez’s past bouts.

“He does some things very well,” said Hooker. “Then there are things I saw that I can expose, such as his chin. I know he gets hurt early in fights.”

Prior to signing with Roc Nation Sports, Hooker found himself in a tough bout against Ghislain Maduma last October in Madison Square Garden where Hooker escaped with a 10-round split decision victory after getting buzzed in the sixth round.

“I learned a lot from that fight,” Hooker recounted. “I lost focus around the fifth round because the fight was boring to me. I knew I was winning so I just lost focus and got caught with a wild hook.”

Hooker believes the experience made him a better fighter and he hasn’t even seen Round 2 since that night.

“Now I know not to take any opponent lightly,” said Hooker. “I have to always focus on on the guy in front of me and right now that guy is Perez.”

Hooker fought his entire career until then without the help of a promoter. Thankful to his manager for getting him fights, Hooker said he always had to be in shape because he didn’t know when his next fight would come.

Although Hooker won the 2011 Dallas Golden Gloves he admittedly didn’t travel outside of Texas while climbing the amateur ranks. Among his 100 plus bouts, Hooker recounts the three bouts with fellow Texas native Errol Spence Jr., claiming to have won at least one of their meetings.

Hooker’s first pro bout was more eventful then his opponent would have liked.

“I got a call from this guy to fight his guy who was 7-0 with 5 knockouts,” said Hooker. “I remember sitting in the locker room waiting to go because I was the main event in my first bout and everyone was passing by saying I’m about to get knocked out.”

Hooker gave his opponent, Tyrone Chatman, all he could handle en route to a split draw.

“I don’t even know if the judges were watching the fight,” said Hooker. “I think they just all expected me to lose.”

Hooker’s trainer, Vincent Parra, credits his fighter’s continued willingness to learn as a big key to his success.

“We’ve been in five world championship camps getting guys ready and that experienced raised Maurice’s IQ even more,” said Parra.

Hooker has joined the likes of Miguel Cotto, Ruslan Provodnikov and Terence Crawford in their camps to prepare them for title bouts.

“Maurice’s manager has done a great job to make sure that he doesn’t have to go to other figher’s camps for the money,” Parra said. “We go to these camps to take over and get ourselves the work and that’s why sometimes we are sent home early.”

Parra is confident Hooker will excite the crowd on November 19 if he follows the game plan.

“We have the size and need to control the ring,” said Parra. “This fight will introduce Maurice to the boxing world.”

 

Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images

 

Banking, Real Estate. New York. Staff Writer for Round By Round Boxing.

0 comments

FOLLOW @ RBR

Show Buttons
Hide Buttons