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Ramirez: We Might See Better Hooker Against Prograis Than When He Faced Me

Jose Ramirez has a feeling an improved Maurice Hooker will give Regis Prograis a tougher fight than some might expect.

Ramirez knocked out Hooker in the sixth round of their 140-pound title unification fight July 27, but the unbeaten WBC/WBO champion wouldn’t be surprised if Hooker beats Prograis in their pivotal non-title fight. The 12-round, 143-pound bout between Hooker and Prograis was scheduled for April 17 at MGM National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Maryland, but the COVID-19 pandemic caused an indefinite postponement.

“Hooker is strong,” Ramirez told BoxingScene.com. “He throws a good right hand. He has some power behind him. I know he’s with a good team. He’s with [Terence] Crawford. He’s with ‘Bo Mac.’ He’s with Steven Nelson, Jamel Herring. He’s in a camp where I feel like the chemistry’s very good for him. He belongs with a team like that, that’s gonna push him. So, you might see a better Maurice Hooker than you saw when he faced me.”

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Dallas’ Hooker hired Brian McIntyre, Crawford’s trainer, following his loss to Ramirez last summer in Arlington, Texas. The 30-year-old Hooker (27-1-3, 18 KOs) has raved about how much training alongside Crawford and other committed champions and contenders has helped motivate him.

Hooker knocked out Mexican veteran Uriel Perez (19-5, 17 KOs) in the first round of his only appearance since losing to Ramirez. New Orleans’ Prograis (24-1, 20 KOs) lost his last fight to unbeaten IBF/WBA champ Josh Taylor (16-0, 12 KOs), the Scottish southpaw who topped Prograis by majority decision in the final of the World Boxing Super Series’ 140-pound tournament October 26 at O2 Arena in London.

“It’s a 50-50 fight,” Ramirez said of Hooker-Prograis. “I wouldn’t pick a winner. It’s an interesting fight. They have different styles. And they’re fighting at a catch weight, at 143 pounds, so you never know if those three pounds will make a difference. In this case, I think it’ll be a better advantage for Hooker, being that he’s a bigger guy. Those three pounds will definitely make Hooker look a lot bigger than Prograis because Prograis has the smaller frame, he’s a shorter guy. But we’ll see how all that plays out.”

Whenever they can return to training camps, Ramirez expects Hooker to be better prepared to oppose Prograis than the former WBO junior welterweight champ was for their fight.

“The sparring,” Ramirez said, “what’s going on in camp and the sparring partners that you have and the team that you have, I think that’s important to get you ready for a big fight like this. That’s why I say I think Hooker will come out a much better fighter from being in a camp where there’s a lot of talent. Sparring and everything is very important to keep you sharp.” 

Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.

User Comments and Feedback
Comment by H.B.Viper on 05-28-2020

TR, & yourself ran from Prograis with questionable defenses.Then ran from the Super series. Yes your unified, but there will be a stain for not fighting him when the time was right. YOU was not ready.

Comment by Vodkaholic on 05-28-2020

Why is the fight at 143?

Comment by Boxfan83 on 05-28-2020

I can see Hooker winning a very conservative fight.

Comment by angkag on 05-28-2020

Sounds like a fun fight whatever weight they go in at, but still confused by Hooker saying he wants to prove he's the best at 140 by fighting at 143.

Comment by PBR Streetgang on 05-28-2020

Sounds like an interesting an honest take on Hooker and Prograis. I have Regis in this one, I think he probably learned alot in that Taylor fight. Hooker can look very good or very pedestrian. While he's with a good…

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