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Terry Flanagan vs. Maurice Hooker on April 14

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By Jeff Aranow: Unbeaten former WBO lightweight champion Terry Flanagan (33-0, 13 KOs) will be facing #1 WBO Maurice Hooker (23-0-3, 16 KOs) on April 16 for the vacant WBO 140 pound title at a still to be determined venue in London, England. The fight date was made official on Thursday.

According to ESPN, Hooker’s promoter Dino Duva of Roc Nation Sports came to an agreement on Thursday for the Flanagan-Hooker fight with Frank Warren, the British promoter for Flanagan. Duva and Warren have been negotiating the Flanagan vs. Hooker fight for a month before they were finally able to get the fight agreed on. Duva is still looking over the contract for the fight, but the fight terms have been agreed on.

The news of the Flanagan-Hooker fight date being realized today hasn’t got the boxing world too excited. If Flanagan was facing Terence Crawford, then it would be a bigger deal. Crawford was the best fighter in the weight class since moving up to the division. Hooker, 28, recently fought to what some boxing fans consider a gift 10 round draw in November 2016 against Darleys Perez. Hooker appeared to lose the fight, but the judges gave him a very controversial draw. One of the judges that scored the fight for Hooker was Adalaide Byrd, who had it scored 97-93.

This will be the first for the 28-year-old Flanagan at 140, and he’ll be taking on a good fighter in Hooker. The two will battle it out for Terence Crawford’s old WBO light welterweight belt. Crawford gave up the belt so he could move on to bigger and better things a 147.

Flanagan dominated as the WBO lightweight champion since winning the title in July 2015 in beating Jose Zepeda by a 2nd round stoppage. Flanagan defended his WBO 135 lb. title successfully 5 times in beating the following contenders:

• Diego Magdaleno

• Derry Mathews

• Mzone Fana

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• Orlando Cruz

• Petr Petrov

If there’s any criticism that you can say about Flanagan, it’s the quality of opposition that he faced as the champion. Flanagan never fought anyone that was a real threat to beating him. The boxing fans didn’t get a chance to see Flanagan defend against Jorge Linares, Mikey Garcia, Dejan Zlaticanin, Robert Easter Jr., Raymundo Beltran, Richard Commey, Javier Fortuna, Yvan Mendy, Luke Campbell, Anthony Crolla or Felix Verdejo. Some of those guys would have been incredibly tough for Flanagan, and I’m not sure that he would beat them. Mikey Garcia, Campbell, Jorge Linares and Easter Jr. would have been a nightmare for Flanagan.

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If Flanagan defeats Hooker, it’ll be his second division world title. It’s a big deal for Flanagan to win the belt. It’s long overdue that Flanagan is moving up in weight to 140, because he’s been a huge lightweight for a long time. The 5’9” Flanagan looks like a welterweight after he rehydrates. It’s unclear how he was able to make weight all this time, because he was too big for the lightweight division. It might be hard for Flanagan to make 140 too. I wouldn’t be surprise if Flanagan’s stay at 140 is a short one. I think he needs to be fighting at 147. Flanagan is a southpaw with better power than his record would have you believe.

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