Published on Yahoo Sports
Jose Ramirez came into Arlington, Texas and ruined Maurice Hooker’s homecoming.
In what will surely be a candidate for fight of the year, after a bout filled with back-and-forth action, Ramirez ended Hooker in the 7th round. He walked away as the unified super lightweight champion of the WBO and WBC titles and with his undefeated record intact.
The entire fight was a contrast of styles. Whoever imposed their style, largely through distance, controlled the fight. When Hooker used his long jab and fought in the middle of the ring, he looked calm while Ramirez bounced on his feet, as if bidding his time to attack. When Ramirez did attack and forced his way into Hooker’s body, he pushed him back into the ropes and negated his opponent’s natural advantages. There, against the ropes and smothered, Hooker looked helpless.
Throughout each round, just as it appeared either Hooker or Ramirez were beginning to gain control of the fight and establish their style, the other would answer. After the second round, Vince Parra, Hooker’s trainer, implored his fighter to remain calm. “Back to the jab,” he told him. At the end of the third round, it was Robert Garcia, Ramirez’s trainer, who told his fighter to not relent. “Don’t respect him!” Garcia screamed.
After several rounds that were difficult to score, the ending came suddenly. In the sixth round, Ramirez—not long after he looked momentarily stunned by one of Hooker’s shots—connected with a left hook that forced Hooker to stumble back into the ropes. Not giving Hooker any time to recover, Ramirez pounced. About nine unanswered punched from Ramirez snapped back Hooker’s head. It was sudden. And Hooker appeared to be only held up by the ropes at his back and Ramirez’s punches not allowing him to fall forward.
When the referee stepped in to hug Hooker against the ropes and wave off the fight, Ramirez celebrated by climbing his red corner. Ramirez’s cornermen hugged at his feet while not even ten feet away, Hooker struggled to keep his.
Ramirez won. At the time of the stoppage, he was leading on two scorecards while the other saw it even. Hooker lost. In front of friends and family, while Ramirez celebrated Hooker was left holding back tears and bleeding from his mouth and nose.