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Hooker and Saucedo prepare for showdown

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The "Red River Rivalry" — the pugilistic version —has kicked off. WBO junior welterweight champion Maurice Hooker, from Dallas, Texas, will defend his world title Friday evening against Oklahoma City native Alex Saucedo at the Chesapeake Energy Arena, home of the NBA’s Oklahoma City Thunder.

 

This will be the first title defense for Hooker (24-0-3, 16 KOs), who won the belt June 9 when he traveled to Manchester, England, and defeated Terry Flanagan via split decision.

 

Saucedo (28-0, 18 KOs) earned his first world title shot with a sensational, bloody seventh-round TKO against Lenny Zappavigna on June 30 at the Chesapeake Energy Arena. 

 

The undercard, including the welterweight showdown between Egidijus "The Mean Machine" Kavaliauskas and Roberto Arriaza, will stream live at 6:30 p.m. ET on ESPN+ — the new multi-sport, direct-to-consumer subscription streaming service from The Walt Disney Company’s Direct-to-Consumer & International segment in conjunction with ESPN.

 

Hooker and Saucedo worked out Monday at the Azteca Boxing Club. This is what they had to say.

 

Maurice Hooker

 

"This is his first time in a world title fight, so he’s nervous. It’s his first big fight at home. A championship. I know he’s nervous."

 

"I’ll tell you this. Don’t blink, because I’m coming."

 

"I’m feeling good, feeling confident in myself. I’m ready to fight."

 

Alex Saucedo

 

"Maurice Hooker is a champion for a reason. He’s a great fighter with a good reach and power in both of his hands. We have a tough fight on our hands, but we will be ready for anything that he brings to the table."

 

"I’m going to show boxing fans the real me on Nov. 16. He can say what he wants about me getting hit a lot, but I don’t have any draws on my record. He says I’ve been hit a lot, but if you have three draws on your record, that means you’re not that hard to hit."

 

"I am a different fighter than Terry Flanagan, who he won the title from. As always, I’m going to give it my all in the ring. I just want to beat him up and become the new WBO junior welterweight champion of the world." 

 

"Hooker’s fight with Flanagan. All I have to say is I’m a different fighter than Flanagan. On Friday, he will see the type of fighter I am."

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