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Dallas’ Maurice “Mo” Hooker Makes Second Appearance in San Diego This Thursday!



(San Diego, CA) – Most fighters will tell you the reason they get into the sport is to fulfill a life-long dream, to follow a father’s or older brother’s footsteps or to escape a bad neighborhood. For hard hitting undefeated Dallas, Texas, light welterweight Maurice “Mighty Mo” Hooker (11-0-1, 9KOs) it was something much more primitive than that.

“I love to fight, I like to cause pain to my opponent,” Hooker says with a smile and a Texan twang. “I was getting in trouble in school so my stepdad took me to the gym thinking I was going to get beat up and leave; well I did the beating up and liked it.”

A boxer/puncher who loves to use his jab and he is always looking for the knockout proven by his 75% KO ratio, Hooker joined the local gym at the age of fourteen and took off amassing ninety-seven amateur fights and only losing seven in a career that began at 119 pounds. After a number of local titles and tournament wins, “Mighty Mo” went pro in early 2011 surprisingly amidst jeers and boos.

“I was fighting a hometown favorite in St. Louis,” he explains. “I felt weird. Everybody kept telling me I was getting knocked out, it was first fight and he was undefeated with five knockouts, when I came out, I was booed. Once I figured he had no power, I began to outbox him. I felt I won the fight.”

Unfortunately the judges did not and awarded him with split draw. That is the closest of Hooker has come to losing, stopping nine of his next eleven opponents. Demond Brock, who went all four round with him in his fourth pro fight, is considered his toughest fight to date by the twenty-four year old. “He just wouldn’t go down. I hit him with everything and he took it all.”

Three years ago after that first fight, Hooker hooked up with Arnie Verbeek, a financier, who has helmed his career ever since, “it feels good to have him in my corner and watching over me. Gives me the chance to concentrate on training.”

One of the changes that Verbeek has brought to the team is the inclusion of San Diego-based trainer Vince Parra. Parra, better known as the trainer of world title challenger Mercito Gesta, Vista’s Aaron Garcia and #5 world ranked bantamweight Rolly Lunas, has nothing but high praise for the tall lanky fighter.

“He has a lot of tools, power, boxing skills and a good work ethic,” Parra mentioned. “We’ve been together for two fights, about three and a half months, and things are coming along.”

Hooker also feels that the fit is right with his new trainer, “things are coming along. I like the slight changes he is doing to my style and he is teaching me a lot, different stuff.”

The first fight Parra worked with Hooker, Maurice only needed a little over two minutes to stop Tijuana tough guy Mario “Popeye” Hermosillo in late July here in San Diego. A month later Hooker knocked out John Revish back home in the first round.

One of the ways that Parra has taught him new things is by taking him to Freddie Roach’s Wild Card Gym in Hollywood, CA. Once there and after seeing a spirited sparring session between Hooker and recent world title challenger Ray Beltran, Roach did not hesitate to hire Hooker’s services for his newest pupil, three division world champion Miguel Cotto. Cotto is slated to return to the ring in early October against Delvin Rodriguez.

“It’s been awesome, I thought he was a much bigger guy, he is actually kind of small,” Hooker shares with a chuckle. “He is very patient, very smooth, that is something that I am looking to learn from him.”

Hooker might also want to pick Cotto’s brain on the best road to stardom since Hooker wants to get where Cotto has been, “my dream is to be a champion in four divisions, 135, 140, 147 and 154. It’s going to happen.”

The Four Points by Sheraton Hotel is located at 8110 Aero Drive, San Diego. Tickets are available at SanDiegoFights.com or by calling 619.420.8866. Doors open at 6:30pm with the first punch thrown at 7:30pm.