Maurice Hooker Recovers From Early Knockdown, Stops Alex Saucedo To Retain WBO Title On ESPN

Maurice Hooker is now two-for-two in world title fights on his opponent's backyard after a comeback win over Alex Saucedo.

In the main event of a Top Rank card televised on ESPN, Hooker retained his WBO junior welterweight title by stopping Saucedo in Saucedo's hometown of Oklahoma City in the seventh round. It was Hooker's first world title defense since defeating Terry Flanagan in Flanagan's home country of England to win the then-vacant title earlier this year. 

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The fight delivered on its high-action potential as the two boxers combined for more than 170 total punches thrown in the first round. Saucedo got ahead in the second round by landing a counter right hand to knock down Hooker for the first time in the champion's career. Despite the knockdown, Hooker quickly bounced back and stunned Saucedo at the end of the round.

The two boxers would continue to trade blows, but for the most part, Hooker was able to keep landing the right hand and move around the ring as Saucedo's power was mostly neutralized. Saucedo did manage to land several combinations in the fifth round as Hooker barely moved and was a sitting duck off the ropes, unable to land any meaningful punches until the last 10 seconds when he landed a flurry of shots. 

Hooker would keep landing the 1-2 as Saucedo couldn't defend well against the champion's reach. Hooker would eventually get his own knockdown in the seventh round when he landed a right hand that almost sent Saucedo to the canvas if Saucedo hadn't used the ropes to keep himself up, meaning it would be ruled a knockdown. Once the fight resumed, Hooker wasted no time in hurting Saucedo and the referee quickly stopped the fight.

Initially, the fight looked like a tough one for Hooker, but he delivered on his knockout prediction when he recently spoke to Fightful. Nearly 1,000 punches were thrown in the fight as Hooker was the slightly more active and more accurate puncher. Hooker landed 165 of his 500 total punches thrown (33 percent) while Saucedo landed 133 of his 486 punches (27 percent).

After the fight, Hooker and WBC junior welterweight champion Jose Ramirez briefly exchanged words in the ring. There was no trash talk, but there was respect between the two world champions and Hooker challenged Ramirez to a unification bout on the DAZN streaming service, where Hooker was originally planned to fight Saucedo until Top Rank won a purse bid and put the fight on ESPN instead. 

 

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