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Maurice Hooker in Talks To Face Robert Easter With Eye On Yordenis Ugas

Former junior welterweight world titlist Maurice Hooker is in talks with Premier Boxing Champions about a possible fight at 145 pounds against former lightweight titlist Robert Easter Jr. for later this year.

Brian McIntyre, Hooker’s trainer and adviser, told BoxingScene.com on Friday that both camps want to make the bout and that he hopes a win for Hooker will land him a shot at secondary welterweight world titlist Yordenis Ugas after that.

McIntyre said initially PBC was aiming to match Hooker with Josesito Lopez in a welterweight bout to serve as the co-feature of the Errol Spence Jr.-Danny Garcia Fox pay-per-view card on Dec. 5 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, but that the fight fell through.

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McIntyre said then Hooker was discussed as a possible opponent to face Sergey Lipinets on Oct. 24 after Kudratillo Abdukakhorov, whom Lipinets was supposed to fight for a vacant interim welterweight belt in the main event of a Showtime-televised card, was forced out of the fight because of an ongoing visa issue preventing him from traveling to the United States.

“But there wasn’t enough time,” McIntyre said to BoxingScene.

Eventually, unbeaten former Canadian Olympian Custio Clayton was signed to face Lipinets, which led to talk of the fight between Hooker and Easter.

“Then they just started last week about Robert Easter at like 145 pounds,” McIntyre said. “It’s a nice fight. Mo can get a good name on his resume, so I immediately agreed to the fight as long as the numbers are right and the date is right so we can have time to lose the weight. They haven’t said a date yet but probably the end of December. On Wednesday, the Easter camp agreed to the fight but we haven’t really figured out the money yet. But he’s a good name and a former world champion.”

Hooker (27-1-3, 18 KOs), 31, of Dallas, lost his junior welterweight world title by sixth-round knockout in an action-packed and competitive fight with Jose Ramirez in July 2019 in front of Hooker’s hometown fans in Arlington. He bounced back with a quick first-round knockout of journeyman Uriel Perez in December and then was set to face fellow former 140-pound titlist Regis Prograis in April.

However, the coronavirus pandemic caused the fight be postponed and when they tried to reschedule it for this past summer Hooker said he would no longer be able to fight as a junior welterweight and wanted to increase the weight limit to 145 pounds. Prograis agreed to go up some weight but they could not agree on an exact weight limit and the fight was never rescheduled.

Now Prograis is with PBC and set to fight on the Gervonta Davis-Leo Santa Cruz Showtime PPV undercard on Oct. 31 and Hooker, who has parted ways with co-promoters Roc Nation Sports and Matchroom Boxing, also may next fight on a PBC card against Easter.

“I know Easter is a good fighter. I do need somebody to push Mo, which is why I agreed to the fight. I know he’s a good ass fighter,” McIntyre said. “We’ll see if they come up with the money. That’s the main thing. If they come up with the money and we got enough time (to train) then we’ll take the fight.”

McIntyre said Hooker immediately said he would fight Easter when his name came up.

“He said yeah right off the top of his head,” said McIntyre, who added that Hooker has been with him at training camp in Colorado Springs, Colorado, where McIntyre is preparing welterweight world titlist Terence Crawford for a Nov. 14 defense against former titlist Kell Brook.

Easter (22-1-1, 14 KOs), 29, of Toledo, Ohio, lost his lightweight world title by unanimous decision to Mikey Garcia in a July 2018 unification fight. Easter is 1-0-1 since, fighting to a split draw against Rances Barthelemy for a vacant secondary lightweight belt in April 2019 followed by a unanimous 10-round decision over Adrian Granados last October.

Ultimately, McIntyre hopes they can work out the fight with Easter and then move on to challenge Ugas (26-4, 12 KOs), who won a split decision over Abel Ramos to claim a vacant secondary welterweight belt on Sept. 6 in Los Angeles.

“We’ll probably (work with PBC on) a fight-by-fight deal or do a two-fight deal, maybe options, but the end game is I want Mo to fight Ugas,” McIntyre said.

“That’s what I want (early next year). We like that fight. Ugas would be right there for Maurice. That’s what we want. We want the names and the champions at 147.”

Dan Rafael was ESPN.com's senior boxing writer for fifteen years, and covered the sport for five years at USA Today. He was the 2013 BWAA Nat Fleischer Award winner for excellence in boxing journalism.

User Comments and Feedback
Comment by TrillScottHeron on 10-17-2020

I like this scrap. Been a fan of Hooker since he got off the canvas to ice Saucedo a couple years back. Was worried about him adjusting to the power of mid-tier PBC WW’s after that Ramirez KO, but this…

Comment by sicko on 10-17-2020

I like this fight! Put it on the Undercard of Broner vs Prograis

Comment by Rick Taylor on 10-17-2020

[QUOTE=ShoulderRoll;20815571]BoMac trying to throw Hooker at Yordenis Ugas instead of having Terence Crawford fight him.[/QUOTE] bum crawford is still scared of ugas it seems

Comment by tokon on 10-17-2020

A catch-weight fight with a lightweight - that they'll only take if the money is right - then they expect to fight Urgas next?! What a sense of entitlement!!

Comment by Unidentified on 10-17-2020

I would love to see Robert Easter get punched in the face several times. That guy is trash...

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