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Jose Ramirez vs. Maurice Hooker close to being finalized for July 27

Latest JOSE RAMÍREZ Matchroom Boxing USA Maurice Hooker Murat Gassiev Ramirez vs. Hooker Top Rank Boxing


By Dan Ambrose: A unification fight between light welterweight champions Jose Carlos Ramirez and Maurice Hooker is close to being finalized for July 27th on DAZN at College Park Center in Arlington, Texas, according to Dan Rafael. The 26-year-old Ramirez (24-0, 16 KOs) will have his WBC 140-pound title on the line against WBC light welterweight champion Hooker (26-0-3, 17 KOs).

Jose Ramirez needs this fight

This is a good fight, and an important one, especially for Ramirez, because he’s got Josh Taylor, Viktor Postol and Pablo Cesar Cano breathing down his neck as the top three contenders in the World Boxing Council’s top 10 ranking. It’s better for Ramirez if he faces 29-year-old Hooker in a unification fight, because if he beats him, he can vacate the WBC belt rather than getting beaten by one of those three guys. Ramirez would likely lose to all three of those fighters.


In Ramirez’s last fight, he won a HIGHLY controversial 12 round majority decision win over Jose Zepeda last February. Boxing News 24 scored it for Zepeda by a 116-112 score, but the judges had Ramirez winning 115-113, 116-112 and 114-114.

Zepeda picked the Top Rank promoted Ramirez apart in the entire fight. The way that Zepeda got the better of Ramirez, he made it clear that he’s not going to stay a champion for much longer. That’s why it’s important that Ramirez win the WBO belt, because he can vacate the WBC strap and potentially avoid Taylor, Cano and Postol. Regis Prograis lost patience in waiting for his title shot against Ramirez, so he entered the World Boxing Super Series 140-tournament, and is on the verge of capturing the Muhammad Ali when he faces Josh Taylor later this year.

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Ideally, it would be nice if the winner of the Ramirez vs. Hooker fight faces the winner of the WBSS tournament in a match that would have all four of the 140-pound titles on the line. We’ll have to wait and see. If Regis Prograis looks sensational in destroying Josh Taylor in the final of the WBSS tournament, he may scare off the winner of the Hooker vs. Ramirez fight.

You’ve got to give Matchroom Boxing USA promoter Eddie Hearn huge credit for being willing to let Hooker face Ramirez in a unification fight. Hearn could have let Hooker make ordinary defenses of his WBO belt, and he would stand a good chance of holding onto the strap for couple of years due to the weak contenders in the WBO’s top 15. Hearn is willing to put Hooker in with Ramirez, but it’s an understandable move. Ramirez looks very beatable with his nonexistent defense. This is a guy that Hooker should be able to beat with ease, as long as the scoring is sound. Hooker might not be able to beat Ramirez if the judges are scoring the fight like they did with the Ramirez-Zepeda fight. Hooker might need a knockout to win under those circumstances.

Ramirez vs. Hooker will be shown on DAZN

The tricky part in making the Ramirez-Hooker fight is which network would show the fight? Ramirez is Top Rank Boxing, and fights on ESPN. Hooker is with Matchroom USA, and competes on DAZN. However, Hearn says Top Rank won’t prevent the fight from taking place on DAZN.


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“It’s a fight both sides want, a fight I think the fans want. It’s a brilliant fight for the division,” said Hearn to ESPN.com. “It would be on DAZN but there’s still a long way to go to getting anything done but the conversations are positive.”

There’s some interest from boxing fans in a Ramirez vs. Hooker fight, but not a ton of interest. The fans would likely prefer to see the winner of the WBSS tournament face Ramirez or Hooker. Prograis is expected to win the WBSS tournament, and it would be a lot more interesting seeing a fight between him and Ramirez or Hooker than those two facing each other. A lot of fans already think Top Rank had Ramirez duck Prograis when he wanted to fight him before the start of the WBSS tournament.

Ramirez-Hooker is a decent fight, but not a great one. Ramirez vs. Prograis, Josh Taylor, Cano, Ivan Baranchyk or Postol would arguably be a lot more interesting. Hooker is a good fighter, but he’s been exposed in his fights against Darleys Perez, Abel Ramos and Tyrone Chatman. Those fights were all scored as draws. Hooker looked like he should have lost the fight against Perez. The judges were very generous to give him a 10 round draw in November 2016. Hooker looked like he should have lost that fight by at least two to four rounds.

Hooker won the vacant World Boxing Organization 140 pound title last year in June in defeating former WBO lightweight champion Terry Flanagan by a 12 round split decision. It was a close fight. Prograis did a much better job recently in beating Flanagan by a lopsided 12 round unanimous decision in the quarterfinal of the WBSS tournament last October. The ease with which Prograis defeated Flanagan in comparison to the way Hooker struggled in beating him showed the huge difference in talent between them. Hooker still will likely have more than enough talent to beat Ramirez.

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Murat Gassiev to fight on Ramirez vs. Hooker undercard

Former IBF/WBA cruiserweight champion Murat Gassiev will be making his heavyweight debut for Matchroom Boxing on the undercard of Ramirez-Hooker on July 27. Gassiev (26-1, 19 KOs) hasn’t fought since losing to WBC/WBO cruiserweight champion Oleksandr Usyk (16-0, 12 KOs) in the final of the WBSS tournament last year in July 2018. Gassiev, 25, has let 11 months go by without fighting, and now he’ll look to reinvent himself at heavyweight with his co-promoters at Matchroom. Gassiev, 6’3″, is a big puncher, but he’s slow and his work rate is horrible. He’s going to have problems at heavyweight if he doesn’t throw more punches, and learn to let his hands go while his opponents are throwing shots. Gassiev tends to wait until his opponents stop throwing shots before he fires off a punch. It’s a bad habit that could get him trouble at heavyweight.

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