HOOKER AND RAMIREZ ANNOUNCED FOR DALLAS 140-POUND UNIFICATION BOUT

Undefeated Super-Lightweight champions Maurice Hooker and Jose Ramirez announced for clash at College Park Center in Arlington on July 27

The Super Lightweight division has a tough life. On the scale, the division also referred to as Junior Welterweight, resides just seven pounds south of the Welterweight division’s 147-pound weight limit. Perhaps there’s a bit of a ‘little brother’ stigma at play here.

While the Welterweight division has long stood as one of boxing’s most glamorous divisions, at times its star power and the frequent presence of some of the sports’ most lucrative purses, has caused Junior Welterweight to seemingly drag along as the equivalent of music theory’s passing note.

Want to test this hypothesis? What’s the likelihood that Welterweight could be a division featured in the World Boxing Super Series’ (WBSS) 8-man tournaments? And, with either one or two of the division’s champions included in the field?

There’s a better chance of the New England Patriots appearing on HBO’s Hard Knocks behind-the-scenes series.

Regardless of any struggles the 140-pound division faces with its perception or its rankings among the other 17 divisions, its fraught with talent and great matchups. More importantly, from fans’ perspectives, its laden with talent that isn’t necessarily too big to fail. The business of boxing doesn’t completely impede the most compelling fights from being finalized.

The next one up: WBO champion Maurice Hooker vs WBC champion Jose Ramirez slated for Saturday July 27 at the College Park Center in Arlington, Texas, live on DAZN in the US and on Sky Sports in the UK.

I am a dream killer, and Ramirez will be my next victim coming July 27.  – Maurice Hooker

This matchup of undefeated champions elevates the appeal of the division, and potentially sets the stage for the next major 140-pound fight – an undisputed bout. The winner between Hooker (26-0-3 17 KOs) and Ramirez (24-0 16 KOs) could conceivably meet the winner of the aforementioned WBSS’ tournament once Regis Prograis and the UK’s Josh Taylor decide the tournament’s Muhammed Ali Trophy recipient. That finale has yet to be scheduled, as Prograis just recently defeated Kiryl Relikh to become WBA champion April 27, with Scotland’s Taylor joining the division’s champions after lifting the IBF title off of Ivan Baranchyk in Glasgow May 18.

Junior Welterweight has been cooking since current WBO Welterweight champion Terence Crawford unified all four of the major belts to close out his 2017 campaign. In the wake of Crawford relinquishing the titles, eventually Hooker and Ramirez emerged as exciting champions.

Hooker won the title in dramatic fashion in Oklahoma in November, getting off the canvas to KO Alex Saucedo in his backyard, then widely outpointed Mikkel LesPierre in his first defense in Verona, New York in March.

I want to make it easier for people to decide who the best 140-pounder truly is. – Jose Ramirez

WBC champion Ramirez picked up the vacant strap in March 2018 against Amir Imam in New York. The 2012 Olympian made his first defense at home in September at the Save Mart Arena in Fresno, California, behind a stellar offensive display versus then-unbeaten Antonio Orozco. In a second defense at the same venue, in February, he earned a majority decision against Jose Zepeda.

“First of all I want to thank my promoters Matchroom Boxing and Roc Nation for getting me this opportunity,” said Hooker. “I’m proud to display my skills on DAZN – the best boxing platform out there. I’d also like to thank my team who are with me every step of the way. I want to show the world that I’m the best in the 140 lb. division. My dream is to become the undisputed champion in my weight class. This unification fight with Jose Ramirez is a major step towards that goal.

“Training camp for Team Mighty Mo Hooker is well underway and I’ll be at my absolute best on July 27 to take the green belt from Ramirez. It will be a thrill to do this in front of my home crowd and I’m looking forward to the energy they’ll bring to the ring. I am a dream killer, and Ramirez will be my next victim coming July 27.”

“I am ready for my opportunity to unify the titles,” said Ramirez. “To get the opportunity to be a unified champion is a blessing for me. I’m thankful to Bob Arum and Top Rank for believing in me to go out there and get the job done. I’m going to push myself hard to make the team proud.”

 

“This is a fight I wanted. I told my manager, Rick Mirigian, that I wanted to fight Maurice Hooker. I know this fight can take my career to the next level. I want to continue making statements at 140 pounds. I want to make it easier for people to decide who the best 140-pounder truly is.

 

“I’m treating this fight the same as when I won the title in New York City against Amir Imam. He was the taller fighter, the bigger fighter. It’s sometimes easier fighting someone in his backyard because it takes away some of my responsibilities behind the scenes. As the underdog, I have everything to win. It’s not just about defending my title but unifying the division as well. I’m ready to prove myself and show everyone what Jose Ramirez is all about. I can’t wait to bring Hooker’s title back with me to California.”

 

“I’m delighted to announce this excellent unification match-up between two great champions in Maurice Hooker and Jose Ramirez,” said promoter Eddie Hearn. “These are the fights that boxing needs and the styles will gel into a real fight of the year contender. Both champions believe they have the edge in this fight, tune in July 27 on DAZN to find out comes out on top.”

 

“This looks like a terrific battle, and I’m predicting that our guy, Jose Ramirez, will emerge as the unified champion,” said Top Rank’s Bob Arum.

“This is a big fight for Maurice and our team,” said Roc Nation’s Dino Duva. We have been looking forward to it since he became a champion – a title unification match in his hometown, doesn’t get any better for a fighter and his team. Mighty Mo will seize this opportunity to win over the hearts of the great Mexican boxing fans. A victory over a fantastic champion like Jose Ramirez will catapult Mighty Mo into superstar pound for pound status! Big thank you and congrats to DAZN and Matchroom Boxing for stepping up and putting this unification match together. Additional thanks to Top Rank, Ramirez promoter for making it work. This is what great boxing is about.”

“We’re thrilled to deliver another title unification bout to DAZN subscribers this year,” said Joseph Markowski, DAZN EVP, North America. “Credit to all parties working together with the fan’s best interest in mind. Hooker vs. Ramirez is the right fight happening at the right time.”

“This was not easy to get done and had many moving parts,” said Ramirez’s manager Rick Mirigian. “It’s the first of its kind in this new era of boxing and I pushed for this since February, I want to thank Top Rank and Eddie Hearn for working through a complex network landscape to make this huge fight happen for the sport.”

An announcement on ticket sales will be made a press conference in Arlington on Friday.

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