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Breakdown: Jose Ramirez vs. Maurice Hooker fight preview and prediction

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Jose Ramirez and Maurice Hooker unify their respective WBC and WBO junior welterweight titles live on DAZN. We have the preview of Saturday’s big fight.

Maurice Hooker v Alex Saucedo Photo by Brett Deering/Getty Images

Network and promoter conflicts have mercifully stepped aside for one minute so we could be treated to a big junior welterweight fight between WBC champion Jose Ramirez (24-0, 16 KOs) and WBO champ Maurice Hooker (26-0-3, 17 KOs) in a unification matchup. The fight is being contested in Dallas, Texas, so it should produce a great atmosphere for what is one of the best boxing matches of the summer.

Ramirez vs. Hooker streams live on DAZN on Saturday, July 27th at 9 PM ET/6 PM PT.

Jose Ramirez

  • All-action. Ramirez is a fan-friendly fighter who, perhaps almost to a fault, is not afraid to slug it out with his opponents. He won the WBC title with a thrilling 12-round decision over Amir Imam in March of 2018, and his first defense against Antonio Orozco was highly entertaining. Ramirez clearly beat Orozco and floored him twice, but it wasn’t necessarily all easy going.
  • Close call. The next title defense was a bit tougher for the 26-year-old. Faced off against Jose Zapeda, it was a slow start for Ramirez before he closed strongly in the second-half of the bout. The judges awarded him the win by majority decision, but it was a rough-and-tumble affair that was too close for comfort.
  • Ferocious body puncher. Ramirez is not a vicious knockout artist and can occasionally get a bit wild with his offense, but he consistently goes to the body. That was evident against Mike Reed and in his second knockdown vs. Orozco. Look for Ramirez to try and implement the same approach against Hooker in hopes of wearing him down.
  • Enemy territory. Ramirez’s last two fights (and much of his career) have been in his hometown of Fresno, California. This time around he’ll be in Hooker’s backyard not just to defend his title, but with the goal of becoming a unified champion by snatching the WBO belt away from Maurice’s possession.

Maurice Hooker

  • Road warrior. If Ramirez has benefited from “home field advantage,” Hooker has had to do the opposite. He bested England’s Terry Flanagan in the United Kingdom to win the vacant WBO title, then against mandatory challenger Alex Saucedo, he recovered from an early knockdown to stop the Oklahoma City fighter in front of the OKC crowd.
  • A ridiculously long reach. Hooker has cheater arms (h/t Phil Mackenzie). It is not normal for a fighter at 140 lbs — let alone one at 5’11” — to possess and 80 inch reach. He’ll have a 7 12 inch reach advantage against Ramirez.
  • Weight troubles? Hooker nearly lost his belt on the scale prior to his unanimous decision over Mikkel LesPierre in March. He missed weight by .5 lbs and needed another attempt to avoid the worst case scenario. For what it’s worth, Hooker doesn’t seem too fazed by that near-disaster, and WBC’s weight checks ideally have got him on track to have no problems for Friday’s weigh-in.
  • Slight underdog. Betting odds have Ramirez as the favorite over Hooker, just like he was against Saucedo, so he’s garnered underdog status both home and away. He proved many wrong by dealing with Saucedo’s aggressive style, he’ll have to do so again vs. Ramirez.

What else is on the card?

  • Tevin Farmer (29-4-1-1 NC, 6 KOs) vs. Guillerme Frenois (46-1-1, 12 KOs). Farmer is the IBF junior lightweight champion who has been a very active fighter since winning the vacant title last year. That’s great to see... we just wish his strength of schedule would be better. Farmer is coming off a pretty fun win over Jono Carroll, who fought France’s Frenois to a draw. Frenois hasn’t fought since then, and there’s not much reason to believe he’ll trouble Tevin.
  • Joey Dawejko (19-7-4, 11 KOs) vs. Rodney Hernandez (13-7-2, 4 KOs). This should’ve been the heavyweight debut of Murat Gassiev, unfortunately he pulled out with an injury. Hernandez is in for a rematch with Dawejko, whom he fought to a draw the first time. Hernandez scored a shocking upset KO of Onoriode Ehwarieme last time out, while Dawejko is looking to snap a three-fight losing skid. Hey, it’s heavyweights... it could be fun and sloppy, or it could be bad and sloppy.

Final Verdict

I love this fight because it’s truly 50-50. Ramirez is a Top Rank/ESPN fighter and he’s got the approval to go to DAZN to fight the Matchroom fighter. We need more of this in boxing. As for the matchup itself, Hooker has the jab, volume, and reach to make life difficult for Ramirez. The power advantage has to be shaded to Ramirez, but I think Hooker is the more technical boxer and can control the terms of the bout to get the nod on the scorecards. It should be a fascinating battle between two elite 140 lbs talents.

Prediction: Maurice Hooker, UD.