Fighters coming off a loss tend to take a soft touch the next time around, but don't tell that to Blair “The Flair” Cobbs.
The welterweight contender battles former junior welterweight world titlist Maurice “Mighty Mo” Hooker on Saturday in a scheduled 10-rounder on the undercard of the 147-pound main event featuring Vergil Ortiz vs. Michael McKinson.
This is the same Cobbs that suffered a ninth-round knockout loss at the hands of Alexis Rocha on March 19 in Los Angeles. While Rocha has since returned to the ring last month to outpoint Luis Alberto Veron over ten rounds, the latter's resume simply doesn't stack up to that of Hooker, a slick boxer who has been in the ring with a plethora of solid fighters.
“Blair ‘The Flair' looks forward to putting on a great show and redeeming himself [against Maurice Hooker] and going back to the top,” Cobbs told NYFights. “I'm going straight to the top. There are no stay busy fights, and there are no tune-ups.”
Given he beats Hooker, Cobbs already has a name in mind.
“Just look at the body of work. There are no tune-up fights, so what's the next after this? [It's] Vergil Ortiz. I fought Alexis [Rocha], lost, and still have to fight a top-10 contender. So let's dare say that Blair ‘The Flair' is “The Great One.” Let's dare to be great.”
However, Cobbs (15-1-1, 10 KOs) enters this fight with a brand new team. The southpaw previously worked with Hall of Fame trainer Freddie Roach but has since joined forces with Oxnard-based coach Roger Romo and his core squad.
The 32-year-old Cobbs explained to NYFights that he and his former team have no hard feelings. “I just have a good, solid team that's locked in and focused for whatever I'm doing and going through. It's a big change from the Wild Card. I still have nothing but the utmost respect for Wild Card; [they did] an amazing job; it's just when it's time for me to move to the next level, and I'm just in line with other fighters as supposed to the number one fighter and there's nothing else but focus on Blair The Flair's career. That's what I need.”
Cobbs continued “I don't need to just be thrown in there every day for sparring and just only kinda being looked at. I need somebody to have focus, and we need to lock in and win these fights. That's what's about having a really good, solid team.”
While Cobbs admits there have been some testy moments during training camp, he says it has only made their bond stronger. “For the most part, it's all progression. The loss to Alexis Rocha was also a step forward. Why? Because even after that loss, I'm still fighting a top-10 contender that's even harder and even better than the person I just fought.”
Cobbs is also working with Cicilio Flores, who previously served as the strength and conditioning coach for former three-division world champion Vasiliy Lomachenko. “We're here focused and locked in to give you guys the absolute best performance out of Blair ‘The Flair.' The more we train together, the better we're gonna grow and develop.”
And once more, Cobbs is betting on himself to earn a spot against the welterweight division's top dogs. “There are no step-backs with Blair ‘The Flair.' The next fight will be Vergil Ortiz, and then after that, we will be looking at the winner of the Terence Crawford-Errol Spence fight. Blair ‘The Flair' dares to be great.”