Ramirez vs. Hooker: Unification separator at 140

This Saturday night on DAZN Jose Ramirez and Maurice Hooker take part in a unification separator bout at the junior welterweight division. Later in the year during the fall another separation fight will take place in the finals of World Boxing Super Series between Regis Prograis and Josh Taylor. As we know styles make fights and style often produces a consistent result at the top levels. Ramirez will be the aggressor while Hooker will look to land clean shots on the outside using length. These types of matchups tend to be debated in an ongoing overall argument about who actually won the fight. Las Vegas betting odds call for yet another 50-50, a rarity in consecutive weekends featuring marquee matchups.

Boxing politics can cause collateral damage across the sports landscape when certain meaningful fights are marinated instead of made. Usually revenue is the key ingredient to why an important bout gets placed on the backburner. Bob Arum was willing to take a risk with Jose Ramirez allowing him to fight off ESPN after Eddie Hearn supplied a few opponents on the network involving Top Rank fighters. Arum seems confident his man will deliver a victory and make a mint in the process. Hearn would love to take out another one of Arum’s fighters, and be over the moon with a stoppage similar to Hooker’s over Alex Saucedo last November.

In late 2017, Jose Ramirez defeated 23-0 Mike Reed making a statement on ESPN and adding to his fanfare in Fresno, California. Four months later Ramirez took on the power punching Amir Imam for the vacant WBC 140-pound strap. Jose clearly beat Imam and it looked as though The Californian had tightened up his game plan strategy. Another victory for Ramirez last September over Antonio Orozco continued his education in effort to become a top-flight operator.

Then back in February, Jose Zepeda pushed Ramirez’s to the limit in a 12-round majority decision. That fight, and several other moments in the prospect portion of Jose’s career, showed on defense Ramirez is lackluster enough to skew his potential ceiling. Born and raised in Avenal, California, Ramirez claims he will fight more intelligently then Hooker and many others believe.

Maurice Hooker worked his way up the 140-pound division, throughout his career facing a few minor setbacks on the way. In 2011, Hooker’s first professional bout was ruled a draw, one of three in 29 bouts. 12 fights later Hooker drew a game Abel Ramos just 8-0 in 2014 which isn’t a bad blemish as Ramos almost defeated 1-loss Jamal James last year. Nine bouts go by without a loss until Hooker and Darleys Perez fought to a highly controversial draw. The majority of the media and public at large thought Darleys had done more than enough to win. Hooker was out-landed by 42 punches with Perez scoring 35% punching accuracy compared to 21% for Hooker. Credit goes to the Dallas native for regrouping after a poor outing to earn victories against a varying level of unbeaten opposition. Terry Flanagan and Alex Saucedo were the best two of the four.

The biggest unanswered question heading into this junior welterweight unification is which combatant will impose their game plan the most effectively. Ramirez loves to get inside and bang to the body while throwing bombs upstairs. His defensive guard will get exploited regardless of the Saturday’s outcome. Once the opening bell rings will find out if Ramirez can actually close the gap on Hooker’s daunting 80-inch reach.

Even though this podcaster believes Darleys Perez deserved the nod it doesn’t automatically equate to a shining example of how to beat Hooker. Ramirez doesn’t fight like Perez and we don’t know if Jose could translate elements to his game especially in just one camp. An obvious observation is that Maurice should use a constant jab and lateral movement in his homecoming main event on DAZN. Patiently landing pot shots as Ramirez walks directly into his punches.

The jab is a two way street meaning Ramirez will need a good one also if he hopes to land those heavy body shots. Ducking his head/upper-body to one side or using an angle behind a jab would be a sensible attack for Ramirez. Something has to give in this one, either Hooker will be able to control distance and tempo or Ramirez will land something big over the top or downstairs to change the fight. For the fans sake let’s hope we get a fair amount of two-way action that plays out that way.

Let us not ignore Hooker had weight problems versus Mikkel Lespierre needing 3 separate attempts to finally make the 140-pound limit. Another troubling note, Maurice has fought down to his competition while Ramirez has a more crowd/judge friendly fighting manner.

My Official Prediction is Jose Ramirez by Split-Decision.

Side Note: Gervonta Davis defends his WBA belt against mandatory challenger Ricardo Nunez in his hometown of Baltimore. The Showtime triple-header features two mid-level bouts in Yuriorkis Gamboa vs. Roman Martinez and Jezreel Corrales vs. Ladarius Miller on Saturday.

Written by Chris Carlson Host/Producer of The Rope A Dope Radio Podcast – Follow on Twitter RopeADopeRadio

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