Hooker promises KO against LesPierre

970608074.jpg.0 - Hooker promises KO against LesPierre

Maurice Hooker defends his 140-pound title on March 9.

WBO junior welterweight titleholder Maurice Hooker is set to make the second defense of his belt on March 9, when he faces unbeaten but unheralded challenger Mikkel LesPierre on the Bivol-Smith undercard.

LesPierre (21-0-1, 10 KO) is a New York fighter who has also fought in the Dominica Republic on several occasions, and to date has never faced anyone considered serious competition. BoxRec have the 33-year-old ranked 74th in the world at 140 — BoxRec rankings aren’t gospel (nobody’s are), but they tend to give you at least a decent idea of the true quality of a fighter’s record, and LesPierre’s is tough to defend as a world title challenger.

But he’s got the shot. Hooker (25-0-3, 17 KO) broke through last year, going to England to beat former lightweight titleholder Terry Flanagan to claim the vacant WBO belt, and defending successfully against Alex Saucedo.

The 29-year-old “Mighty Mo” is thinking big performance against LesPierre next weekend:

“He’s going down on March 9, that’s all I know. … He doesn’t have power but I still have to be wary as he could close his eyes and swing, hit me with the backhand — it’s boxing. But if I see a weakness in him, I’m not going to hesitate — I want to KO him hard and fast, I don’t get paid overtime. I will show real power in both hands, and show I can put any southpaw in the world to sleep. … Fighters say they don’t look for the KO — I am looking for a big KO on March 9, I want it bad and I will KO him.”

Bovada currently have Hooker listed as a -5000 favorite, so the outcome isn’t seen as being in doubt, to say the least. But that puts the pressure, if there is any, on Hooker to perform.

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