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Maurice Hooker vs. Ty Barnett on Ward vs. Brand card on Saturday

Andre Ward Alexander Brand Maurice Hooker Ward vs. Brand


By Hector Sanchez / Photos By Stacey Verbeek: Maurice “Mighty Mo” Hooker (20-0-2, 15 KO’S) from Dallas, Texas is ranked in the top ten by the WBO as a junior welterweight. On Saturday, August 6, 2016 he returns to the Oracle Arena in Oakland, California to showcase his exciting brand of boxing against Ty Barnett (23-4-1, 15 KO’s) on the undercard of the HBO Andre Ward/ Alexander Brand championship fight

His first fight at the Oracle Arena was in March of this year where he made his debut fight with Roc Nation against Wilfrido Buelvas (17-5, 3 KO’s). Although his camp probably wanted more rounds, Mighty Mo wasted no time by taking out the southpaw Buelvas in explosive fashion with a crushing body shot in the first round.


As impressive as he is with his boxing skills in the ring, Mighty Mo is just as impressive outside the ring. At his home gym at the Maple Avenue Boxing Gym in Dallas, Texas, Hooker is always helping out the young fighters by offering them advice in boxing, showing them his accomplishments, but also mentoring them to stay in school so they can give back to the community themselves some day.

In addition to giving back to the youth of his neighborhood, he has teamed up with Roc Nation’s promotion of “My Brother’s Keeper / Success Mentors Initiative,” a program where professional athletes and artists promote the importance of school attendance of all students throughout the nation. Dallas, Texas, Mighty Mo’s home town is one of thirty cities that will participate in this great cause whose mission is to reduce absenteeism in schools and also connect them with trained school-linked caring adults and peers over the next 3-5 years. Hooker has joined this cause with Kevin Durant and other professional athletes around the nation, and as an incentive to students, STATE Bags has partnered up with Roc Nation to give out school backpacks. When asked about his association with this endeavor, Hooker said, “This cause is very important to me and I am glad to give back to my community because I know what it is like to come up in a rough neighborhood.”

Prior to his last fight, “Mighty Mo” fought at Madison Square Garden on the undercard of the HBO “Triple G” – Gennady Golovkin fight where he continued his winning streak and defeated Ghislain Maduma (17-1, 11 KO’s).

In preparation for his upcoming fight with Barnett, Mighty Mo has been in training camp for approximately six months. While in training, he was asked to join the camp of newly crowned WBC Super Lightweight Champion Terence Crawford (29-0, 20 KO’s) in Denver for Crawford’s preparation for his own fight against Viktor Postol (28-1, 12 KO’s). When asked what he learned from Crawford, he said “Patience, because when you don’t have that against someone like Crawford, you pay for it.” Because of this experience and training with one of the best pound for pound fighters in the world, Mighty Mo will no doubt be bringing that with him to defend his title at the Oracle Arena.

Speaking of patience, Mighty Mo’s manager, Arnie Verbeek told me that same exact thing prior to my interview with this young champion. Verbeek said, “In his fight against Buelvas, Buelvas tried to turn the fight into a wrestling match, but Mo did what he had to do and finished it early.” “What I want him to show now is composure and to be patient.” It appears that manager and fighter are on the same page, which indicates to me that Mighty Mo already knows what it will take for him to get to that next level.

Verbeek went on to say, he expects Mighty Mo to not only use his height, reach, and power to dominate his next opponent, but to “Be in control of this fight, regardless of what happens, and be a Focused Fighting Machine from the first to the last second of the fight.”

Early in his boxing ascendance, Mighty Mo had built his record without a promoter, but now that he has signed with Roc Nation, he sees lots of opportunities for his career. With hard work, he knows that he can get to the elite level along with other champions that are with Roc Nation, such as former lightweight, welterweight and middleweight champion Miguel Cotto (40-5, 33 KO’s), Bantamweight champion Guillermo Rigondeaux (17-0, 11 KO’s) and other up and coming world champions.

When asked about his opponent, Ty Barnett (23-4-1, 15 KO’s), he said “I am going to be patient and I am ready to go to work and get the job done.” Never one to shy away from giving a prediction or telling me about the result, he went on to say “I plan to put pressure on him early and it won’t go past five rounds.” Mighty Mo is trained by Vincent Parra from San Diego and there is no doubt that he will have him ready to defend his title and bring it back to Dallas, Texas.

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