Hooker-Ramirez kick-off press conference

By Jeff Zimmerman
Photos: itsGonzo

Quick quotes from Eddie Hearn, Maurice Hooker, Jose Ramirez, Robert Garcia and Vincent Parra from the launch press conference for the Hooker-Ramirez world super lightweight unification clash on Saturday, July 27 at College Center Park in Arlington, Dallas, live on DAZN in the US and on Sky Sports in the UK.
Hooker Ramirez Kickoff08

Eddie Hearn

It’s a great style matchup. As fans, we always want both champions to fight each other. Of course, Maurice Hooker is from Dallas and Jose Ramirez has huge Mexican support. It’s going to be a really split in the arena, College Park, Arlington, TX July 27. For a long time, I have been wanting to make this fight, but with Jose Ramirez is on ESPN and Maurice Hooker on DAZN, it’s quite unusual for two champions to come together, but we got it and I can’t wait.

Why Arlington?

I just like this arena. I think it’s a great arena. It holds like 7,000 which I think is a perfect amount for this fight. I remember seeing a Crawford fight here and thought it was great. I’m excited to see it. Hopefully the town, Arlington and Dallas get behind this fight, not just because Maurice Hooker is fighting because he is from Dallas, but it’s a great fight.

On the rise of Hooker

It is quite unusual that someone has worked from the small, local shows up. He’s one of those guys that really has to be motivated to perform at his highest level. When he boxed Terry Flanagan in the UK, when he boxed Saucedo, that’s when you get the best out of him. And other times he may be a little bit flat. This fight will get the best of Maurice Hooker. He’s a very dangerous fighter and it’s going to be interesting to see if can come through.

Maurice Hooker

I’m pumped up, it’s a big fight and I get to fight at home. It’s a blessing. It could have been somewhere else, New York, Vegas, it’s in Dallas, I’m ready.

It’s been a long journey, I took the hard way, but I am here now, and everything happens for a reason. I am not going to let this opportunity pass by me. I’m going to be prepared, train hard and be the best Maurice Hooker I can be July 27.

On the Saucedo fight

I had to show the world who I am and what I’m about. I knew I could beat him, but I told everyone in interview that the first 3 or 4 rounds would be the toughest of my life. He was young, he was hungry, and he had nothing to lose and everything to win and gain. I knew if I stayed relaxed and let him swing himself out and take him to that deep water and take him and that’s exactly what I did. I stayed calm, used my jab and took it to him in the late rounds.

Thoughts on Jose Ramirez

He’s tough, like another Alex Saucedo, but better. He can go 12 rounds strong, so I have to be ready and prepared to go 12 hard rounds with him. I am going in there and fight him, I’m not backing down from him. I am going to go in there and let him know why I’m the king of the 3rd round. It could be a hell of a round, because if we’re both in the middle of the ring, we might go toe to toe. I’m not backing up.

The impact of Errol Spence

It’s a blessing, we’re both from Dallas. I just want to show all the kids from my neighborhood, his neighborhood wherever hood they’re from dreams come through. Now we got 2 fighters out of Dallas that are world champions, anything can happen with a lot of hard work behind it and just stay positive and stay focused. I want to put it out there for all the kids that have been watching me and Errol Spence. Errol Spence has been training hard for a long time. He’s a good guy and it has paid off for a reason. I’m right behind him.

Jose Ramirez

Coming into his territory, his hometown, his network and promotion, they are going to want to take advantage and treat me as the opponent. I am going to prepare myself like I never have before. I am going to take this fight like I did against Amir Imam in New York. Imam was from upstate New York and I went in there focused and did my thing. There is another title that I have my eyes on that Hooker holds and my goal overall is to become the undisputed champion of the world. And one step closer to making that happen.

The underdog mentality

I am the type of guy that does train like an underdog all the time. I train so hard. I’m hungry and I push myself in the gym. I fight because there’s a lot of people that I support in their fights so when they have a champion, a true champion in front of them, it motivates them to pushes them to continue fighting for the positive issues they are fighting for. All that, I feed off that fuel and off their energy in a positive way and I push myself.

The humility of both champs

Maurice Hooker is a humble world champion and he’s very hungry. He fights for his family and he’s very respectful and I respect that. It’s not going to be an easy fight for either of us. I think the ones who are going to win at the end of the day are the fans. They are going to see two great people, two great champions put it all on the line to fight for bigger things at the same time give the fans the best boxing.

At the end of the day in the ring, that’s going to be our home. My home, his home, that is the only territory that is going to matter on July 27th, who takes care of that territory of that ring. I’m very motivated, he’s very motivated and that means the best unification match of 2019.

The outcome

There’s a chance it goes the distance or a chance it doesn’t. I think we both have the punch to end the fight early. I am going to be well prepared.

Robert Garcia, trainer of Ramirez

On what he learned about Ramirez from tough fight with Jose Zepeda

Those are fights, the fighter, me as a trainer we learn more than anything because it was very tough. Cepeda fought very well. We already knew he was very skilled. He did surprise us, he countered, boxed beautifully, gave us a hard time. Jose has a tremendous heart and he sucked it up and finished strong in the late rounds and pulled out the win. We learned more from those type of fights then if we go out and knock some one out in 2 or 3 rounds. That showed a lot from heart, his dedication, his cut. He had never been cut before so all that was a blessing coming into this fight now.

This is probably the toughest fight of Jose’s career. This is the biggest challenge he has ever been in and he has already gone through so many things. He already went through a hard fight, a cut so anything that happens in this fight will not surprise us, he will be ready for it.

The challenge of facing Hooker

Those are the ones that you got a watch out for. Those that did a lot of shows in ballrooms, that have to travel overseas to become a champion. Those are the ones that are hungry. Hooker doesn’t have the reputation of a signed fighter with a Top Rank or Golden Boy where they get a lot of publicity. He never went through that with a promoter until late in his career. He’s now with Roc Nation and DAZN which is helping him very much and bring these fights together for him. Those are the type of fighters you have to be careful of, they are dangerous, they’re hungry. They have been struggling for many years and now that they have the opportunity they don’t want to lose it, so we have to be in great shape and we know he will be in great shape and it’s not going to be an easy fight for either of them.

On how to fight the taller Hooker

We can’t try to outbox him. He’s got like a 6- or 8-inch reach advantage and that’s a big difference so there’s no way we can try to outbox him. We have to try and fight him, we have to fight him inside and Hooker does fight also. It’s not like he’s a runner or anything like that. Hooker fights. It’s going to be a great fight, full of action.

Vincent Parra, trainer of Hooker

More than anything, I want to thank Maurice, because when I got him he was a young prospect. Like I told a reporter, he was like a bolt of lightning. And I just knew if we harnessed it and put it in the right way, he could do something special. Last year in England he did that. We have always taken the hard road. We didn’t have a promoter until we had 20 fights.

We have been the underdog, we have been out of town. Maurice and I have travelled all over the United States together living in hotel rooms sparring with everybody. We got the best guys we could. He has always trusted me. With that, he has exceeded even my expectations.

More than anything both guys stepped up and wanted to show who is the best 140lber in the division. So, for that, I applaud Jose and Maurice and the two promotional factions and the networks for making this happen.

I’m just happy to be here. This is a great opportunity for Maurice and me to match wits with a great trainer like Robert Garcia and for Maurice to match skills with Jose Ramirez.

On July 27th there will be a unified champion, WBC, WBO and it will be Maurice Hooker and it will be right here in Dallas, Texas and will be a fight of the year candidate, I can guarantee you that.


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