Hooker beats Saucedo on the road

The first defense of the WBO title for Maurice “Mighty Mo” Hooker was another test for him as he traveled to the hometown of his opponent in Alex Saucedo, but he came out of the arena still holding the strap.

Hooker responded from a 2nd round knockdown to stop Saucedo in the 7th round to retain the WBO junior welterweight title and stay unbeaten, moving to 25-0-3 and registering the 17th KO of his career. Saucedo, who was in his first world title fight, suffered his first pro loss. An attendance of 4,102 was at the Chesapeake Energy Arena to watch this action filled fight.

It got off to a quick start by the champion as he was very active with his punch output in Round 1. He threw over 100 punches in the round and had the momentum going to the next round. However, he was open for a counter right hand at the 2:10 mark in the 2nd round that made him lose his balance and go down to the canvas. He took the 8-count and recovered over the rest of the round to get his bearings back. Once that happened, he proceeded to take over the rest of the fight. He finished strong to end the round and then looked to take advantage of the lack of defense by Saucedo as he mixed up his attack over the next couple of rounds.

Hooker sits on the canvas after the knockdown scored by Saucedo. Photo by Mikey Williams

The right hook seemed to be the punch that was the money punch for Hooker in this fight, as it seemed like Saucedo had no answer for it. The left eye of Saucedo was damaged in Round 5 with the flurry that Hooker threw at the end of the round and opened up more in the 6th. Hooker threw some more punches to the body to weaken Saucedo and then in the 7th round it seemed like he couldn’t miss with the right hand. Hooker threw a series of two punch combinations that rocked Saucedo and scored a technical knockdown at 1:51 in the 7th.

After getting a count by referee Mark Nelson, the challenger could not get away from the barrage of punches by the champion and Nelson called the fight with 1:36 left in the seventh round. It was a valiant effort from the 24 year old originally from Mexico who made a home in Oklahoma City, but the step up in competition was too much for him.

Hooker was aware that Saucedo would come out firing at the beginning of the fight but kept his composure in order to finish. “I knew the first couple of rounds would be tough, but eventually it would be my time to take over,” Hooker said after the fight. “I stayed calm, stayed relaxed…I sat on the ropes, worked on my defense a little bit to see if he would tire (Sauced0) out and I went towards him.”

Hooker connects with the left hand on Saucedo. Photo by Mikey Williams

The champion acknowledged the toughness of the challenger. “Alex is a great fighter. He came to fight, and I came to fight, and I went right at him.”

For Saucedo, it was a tough loss but it was a measuring point to where he was at this point of his career. Afterwards he gave props to Hooker for pulling out the win. “He’s a champion for a reason. Now, I am going to rest, enjoy my family, and come back stronger. I gave it my very best in the ring.”

Cover photo by Mikey Williams of Top Rank

The Boxing Source

The Boxing Source is where to get news and some opinion pieces about the sport plus where to find podcasts which are available on Anchor.FM

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