Maurice “Mighty Mo” Hooker has his sites set on a second world title

Back on June 9, 2018, the 6-1 underdog, Maurice “Mighty Mo” Hooker managed to defeat Terry Flanagan, a southpaw, on his home turf, the Manchester Arena, Manchester, Lancashire, United Kingdom to win the vacant WBO World Super Lightweight Title. While two of the presiding judges had Hooker winning, the third judge scored the bout an incredulous 117-111 in favor of Flanagan, the hometown favorite.

Considering the location, Manchester, Lancashire, United Kingdom plus the posted odds that favored Flanagan in this fight, it was certainly considered a major victory for any American.

To come out victorious in that contest, Hooker, an orthodox fighter about to face a southpaw, needed to train non-stop for six months and be away from his family as well while learning how to defeat a southpaw. Assisting Hooker in this endeavor were two confidants, southpaw phenoms Errol “The Truth” Spence Jr. (the IBF World Welterweight Title holder) plus Terrence “Bud” Crawford (the IBF, WBA, WBC, and WBO World Super Lightweight Champ) who did indeed help Hooker defeat Flanagan.

At this point, Hooker, an established favorite of both San Diego and Dallas area Boxing fans, trains locally in Bird Rock, Calif. at the Pacific Training Center with a staff which includes his head trainer Vince Parra and Eddie Locco, the co-owner of the gym. Further inducements include the readily available sparring partners from the area which now include: top USA Amateur standouts and soon to be turning Pro Lazaro Francisco Lorenzana of San Diego and C. J. Earle from West Chester, Penna. Earle was sent our way by the legendary Bernard Hopkins. Also on hand, was 20-year-old Bryan “The Kid” Figueroa (15-1, 7 KOs) from The Arena Gym in Point Loma, Brandon Cruz (7-0) from the Bound Boxing Academy of Chula Vista, and lightweight Roberto “Tito” Manzanarez (37-3-2, 30 KOs) from Phoenix, Arizona by way of Los Mochis, Sonora, Mexico.

At the conclusion of their sparring session, Maurice Hooker posed for a photo with his sparring mates (l to r) Bryan “The Kid” Figueroa, Roberto Manzanarez, Maurice “Mighty Mo Hooker and Lazaro Francisco Lorenzana.
(l to r) Amateur standout (soon to be Pro) Lazaro Francisco Lorenzana of Chula Vista, Calif. plus 20-year-old Pro Brandon “2 Smooth” Cruz (6-1, 4 KOs) from Spring Valley, Calif.
Great things are expected of this young man, C. J. Earle, all the way from West Chester, Pennsylvania, a protégé of the one and only Bernard “The Executioner” Hopkins, the former multi-Federation, multi-Association World Light Heavyweight champion.
At times, it must seem that being a pugilist is all hard work, sacrifice and then the battle of the fittest but there is also the fun stuff. Like the time Hooker got to pal around with top heavyweight contender Tyson Fury. Or, the times when his manager Arnie Verbeek (right) chauffeured him and his mates around town in this classic Chevy Impala Convertible.
In Boxing, you have the boxers who have reached the pinnacle, climbed to the top of the mountain and looked across to the other side. While the youngsters coming up, like Bryan “The Kid” Figueroa, can only dream about what it must be like.
On hand to show her support was Mo Hooker’s wife Khaynisha Hooker (above) plus their sons: Maurice Hooker Jr. (l) and Khirese Hooker (r) just two of the eight offspring.

Hooker’s next fight is against Jose Carlos Ramirez (24-0, 16 KOs) at the College Park Center, Arlington, Texas, on July 27, 2019. Hooker, who has fought the tougher schedule, will have a one-inch height advantage plus a decided reach advantage of 80 inches to just 72.5 inches. That edge in reach should mean Hooker’s hard, snapping jab will be effective and keep his opponent at a distance. That being said, Jose Carlos Ramirez put on an exceptional performance against another local favorite Antonio Orozco (28-1, 17 KOs) back on September 14, 2018. In that Orozco loss, his first, Ramirez scored a resounding 119-107 victory on all three scorecards.

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