Boxing Insider Interview: Maurice Hooker: Boxing’s Road Warrior Striving for Greatness

Maurice Hooker 1375158 - Boxing Insider Interview: Maurice Hooker: Boxing’s Road Warrior Striving for Greatness

By: Kirk Jackson

Maurice “Mighty Mo” Hooker defends his WBO World Super Lightweight title for the second time against undefeated Mikkel LesPierre 21-0-1 (10 KO’s) at the Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, New York on Saturday March 9, live on DAZN in the US and on Sky Sports in the UK.

Continuing his role as the ‘Road Warrior’ Hooker won his title on the road by playing spoiler, snatching it from the former undefeated WBO lightweight champion Terry Flanagan (at the time 33-0 [13 KO’s]) in Manchester, England just two days shy of his birthday.

Hooker then traveled behind enemy lines for his first defense, overcoming adversity and placing together an exhilarating win over local favorite Alex Saucedo 28-1 (18 KO’s) in Oklahoma City in November of last year. Hooker climbed up off the canvas in the second round to stop Saucedo in the seventh.

Hooker once again travels behind enemy territory to New York, placing his WBO title on the line against Brooklyn’s LesPierre – who would be Hooker’s fourth consecutive undefeated opponent. Although facing home field disadvantage, ‘Mighty Mo’ anticipates success in the form of a knock-out for his title defense.

“With me, I really don’t care where I fight, the ring is my home. It don’t matter where I fight, I just gotta be prepared and ready.”

“I just gotta go in there and do me ya know. Make him adapt to me and I’m gonna use my jab. I watch him but I don’t see nothing that I’m really concerned about with his style. I don’t want to overlook him and I just gotta be prepared for whatever he brings come Saturday night.”

While Hooker is regarded as the heavy favorite, he doesn’t want to overlook his opponent LesPierre and realizes the challenger is coming into this fight hungry with the intention of an upset.

“To me it doesn’t matter who I fight. But this guy’s (LesPierre) is undefeated, but it’s hard to take somebody’s zero. I rather fight somebody undefeated than someone who got a couple losses already. Once they lost, they give up already. When they’re undefeated, it’s hard to take their zero, it’s hard to break them down.”

“He’s going to be more motivated, nervous too, but more motivated. He’s at home fighting for a world title, he’s the underdog this should motivate him, he’s gonna come prepared. This guy is pretty good, he’s durable, he never been knocked out, he won all his fights. You just can’t overlook this guy because you never know what he might bring come Saturday. I’m just ready.”

The role of the ‘Road Warrior’ the proverbial villain – at least on the road, is a role Hooker embraces. The boo’s, the negativity from fans, even the trash talk, fuels Hooker to train harder and perform under pressure. The distractions from the crowd do not prevent him from finding a measure of comfort inside the ring and getting into his ‘Zone.’

“When the fans are booing me and cheering for them, it motivates me to even go harder. Something about the crowd gets to me, being the underdog, getting booed.”

“Sometimes you’re the underdog, but sometimes it goes your way, makes you train even harder. Like I said, once I get in the ring, I’m very comfortable and I’m so zoned in.”

“I focus on that guy and the fans? What are they going to do, cheer? It’s nothing, as long as I’m doing what I’m supposed to do, the fans are gonna be quiet.”

“A lot of people take it wrong when I say I’m going to knock the other guy out but that’s the name of the game. A lot of people will say he’s big-headed, he’s this and that, but I put that in my mind the quicker I knock em out the quicker I get paid.”

“A lot of people think I’m cocky for saying stuff like that, like when I fought Terry Flanagan, I told him I wanna punch him in the mouth – I mean come on its boxing you’re gonna get hit in the mouth. A lot people take it the wrong way, I’m pretty sure the dude (LesPierre) I’m fighting on Saturday wants to knock me out. It’s boxing, we both knock each other out, people take it the wrong way, but once they interview me or get to know me they find out I’m a cool person.”

Clearing any misconceptions, Hooker is steadfast in stating his dedication towards family and exhibits a laid-back demeanor in during his time outside the ring.

“I like to hang out with my kids and my family I’m a real laid back person. I like to sit back watch tv or play with my kids, take my kids out somewhere to have fun. I’m real laid back.”

Nevertheless his laid back demeanor should not be mistaken for weakness or complacency for that matter. Hooker wants to achieve greatness like other great fighters before him, fighters he admittedly admired growing up. Fighters such as Mike Tyson, Roy Jones, Muhammad Ali and Tommy Hearns.

“I watch him (Tommy Hearns) a lot, I like his left hook to the body – I wanna get that down like how he had it. His left hook to the body, he had a good one.”

“When it’s all said and done I wanna be one of the best like Muhammad Ali. I want everyone to remember my name, I want everyone to know that I’ll go anywhere and fight anybody.”

Hooker realizes these aspirations and overall worldwide recognition requires greater accomplishments down the line. Starting with conquering his current division and obtaining more, ascending towards mythical pound-for-pound status.

“That’s the goal but first if I move up (in weight class), I wanna take over 140. I have to take over 140 before I move up.”

“When you say pound-for-pound, I look at pound-for-pound different. I’m looking at the different weight classes, how many titles you won in a different weight class. I would say Terence Crawford right now, he’s been in the game a little longer than Errol Spence. He had a belt at 135, he had all the belts at 140, he now has a belt at 147. You look at Mikey Garcia, but later on in Errol Spence’s career, I’ll say he’ll be pound-for-pound; if he moves up in weight or if he dominates at 147.”

“To me I’m not on the list yet, I haven’t accomplished some of my goals. To get on the list I have to keep working hard and keep pushing myself to win more titles and to put my name out there even more. But I’m not up there yet, I’m working, that’s one of my goals.”

By facing his fourth consecutive undefeated fighter in the challenger’s backyard, Hooker is making a statement. Hooker is chasing greatness and aims to establish his reputation as one of the best to ever do it. While the champion from Dallas known as ‘Mighty Mo’ has a steep mountain to climb, he won’t allow detractors and nay-sayers keep him down or from achieving his goals.

“I stay focused and I don’t wanna get cocky or too big headed and I keep pushin because I know I can better than where I’m at now.”

The post Boxing Insider Interview: Maurice Hooker: Boxing’s Road Warrior Striving for Greatness appeared first on BoxingInsider.com.

One thought on “Boxing Insider Interview: Maurice Hooker: Boxing’s Road Warrior Striving for Greatness

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *