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Maurice Hooker, Alex Saucedo close to deal for November title fight

06
Jul

Fresh off his thrilling victory over Lenny Zappavigna on Saturday, Alex Saucedo is ready to bounce right back into the ring.

Well, not just yet anyway, despite his Twitter joke Friday that he would step in to fight Jose Ramirez on short notice this weekend.

With his win over Lenny Z in the books, Saucedo figures to be named the WBO’s mandatory challenger to junior welterweight titleholder Maurice Hooker. To that end, Saucedo’s promoter Top Rank and Roc Nation Sports, which guides Hooker’s career, have been in talks ahead of a November showdown for the 140-pound belt. Saucedo’s manager, Sam Katkovski, told The Ring a deal is close.

Saucedo (28-0, 18 knockouts) said he and Hooker have sparred about 24 rounds at Maple Avenue Boxing Gym in Dallas, where Hooker (24-0-3, 16 KOs) still trains.

“I wasn’t in the shape I’m in now,” Saucedo told The Ring. “He’s a long fighter, long reach. “He was able to use it right, and (Terry) Flanagan is not the type of fighter he got the draws with. He has three draws. They were Mexican fighters that gave him trouble; warriors that put the pressure on him.

“We saw Darleys Perez putting pressure, that’s what made him uncomfortable, he doesn’t like it. We’ll try to take advantage of those weaknesses.”

Hooker’s victory over Flanagan last month was an upset, and a matchup between the 28-year-old Dallas native and Saucedo shapes up as a pick ’em fight. But Saucedo, a native of Mexico, is already looking ahead to a potential unification matchup in 2019.

The 24-year-old has long pined for a crack at Jose Ramirez, who holds the WBC junior welterweight title, and he’s been more vocal about it on Twitter recently. He engaged in a war of words with Ramirez’s manager, Rick Mirigian, in the aftermath of his win over Lenny Z.

“That’s the goal, go for the WBO first,” Saucedo said. “Once I take that, I would love to unify with Jose Ramirez. I definitely want the fight to shut (Mirigian) up.”

Katkovski added: “(Mirigian) does the talking for his fighter, I guess his fight doesn’t want to talk. We’re OK with it, as long as that fight happens some day.”

But first, Saucedo needs to secure the bout with Hooker, and then, of course, emerge with the win. After that’s out of the way, he can really begin to dream of a fight with Ramirez.

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