Maurice Hooker on Terry Flanagan: “I Feel Sorry for His Fans”

By Caryn A. Tate on June 8, 2018
Maurice Hooker on Terry Flanagan: “I Feel Sorry for His Fans”
“When I get in that ring with Terry Flanagan and I punch him in the mouth, can he take it?”

This Saturday, June 9, Maurice Hooker will fight Terry Flanagan at the Manchester Arena for the vacant WBO super lightweight world title…

This Saturday, June 9, Dallas native Maurice Hooker (23-0-3, 16 KOs) will fight Terry Flanagan (33-0, 13 KOs) at the Manchester Arena for the vacant WBO super lightweight world title.

Being British, Flanagan will without a doubt be the local favorite. He’s moving up from lightweight, where he held the WBO belt since 2015.

Hooker, meanwhile, has been working his way up to a world title shot. He has held the WBO’s minor NABO super lightweight title, but this is his first stab at the world crown.

Maurice, AKA “Mighty Mo,” spoke with me by phone before Saturday’s bout.

Like many fighters, Hooker got his start at a young age. “My childhood was rough,” he said plainly. “I got in fights on the street and turned to boxing. I learned to fight so I didn’t get a whooping.”

Maurice took inspiration from the greats who came before him. “I studied the old fighters like Tommy Hearns, Muhammad Ali, Ray Robinson. Ali, the way he talked, the way he boxed—he’s very entertaining to watch. Hearns, he’s one of the best—he’s tall like me and used his jab.”

Hooker has had a few opportunities to spar with one of the best boxers in the world: Terence Crawford, who also happens to be fighting this Saturday on a separate card from Las Vegas versus Jeff Horn. Hooker and Crawford are now friendly.

“I met him in Dallas,” Mo said of how their paths first crossed. “He was there for a fight. He came to my gym. I sparred him the week of his fight. We got in there and we started talking noise to each other.”

Hooker tries to use each new experience to grow. “I took a lot from [the experience]. Every training camp I do, I’m learning something new and different. I add to my style.”

As the “away” fighter, Mo is aware of the atmosphere he’ll face in Manchester. “I know the crowd’s gonna be for him. The crowd’s gonna be rude, against me, saying stuff. I don’t care about that. The only thing that matters to me is, when I get in that ring with Terry Flanagan and I punch him in the mouth, can he take it?

“He’s soft to me. He gets the belt, he runs. He did a good job of winning the world title and hiding it from everybody. I’m gonna take the fight to him. I’m ready to see him. I’m ready to get in that ring.”

When asked to clarify whether he thinks Flanagan is “soft” as a fighter or an individual, Hooker said, “Both. Look at who he fought. He’s fought 130-pounders. He gets the belt and he fights small guys.

“He run from tougher guys. Like Ray Beltran, he won’t fight him, he won’t fight Mikey Garcia.”

Hooker clarified what his intentions are should he win the world title. “I’m willing to fight anybody once I become world champion. I’m not gonna be like him and hide. I want to fight everybody. I want to fight the best.”

Mo had one thing to say to Flanagan’s supporters. “I feel sorry for ‘em. I’ll punch him in the mouth. He might go down early.”

Flanagan vs. Hooker will be streamed live in the United States on Showtime’s YouTube page starting at 1:30pm PT/4:30pm ET on Saturday, June 9.

Check out more of Caryn’s work at http://www.CarynATate.com and follow her on Twitter@carynatate

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