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Jose Ramirez Stops Maurice Hooker, Takes Another 140 Belt

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Mikey Williams

It’s a rare treat in boxing when two undefeated world titleholders in their primes walk across promotional lines to make an important title unification bout against each other.

It is even rarer when such a thing produces a Fight of the Year candidate.

But that’s what happened when Jose Ramirez, 29, from Avenal, Calif., stopped Maurice Hooker, 29, from Dallas, Texas, in six action-packed rounds on Saturday night at Arlington Park, in Arlington, Texas.

Ramirez successfully defended his WBC junior welterweight title and added Hooker’s WBO title to his collection in the process.

The fight sure didn’t look like it would be a stoppage win for Ramirez. The first round was a back-and-forth affair. Ramirez scored a knockdown with a glancing jab in the first round, but that’s because Ramirez stepped on Hooker’s foot and the referee missed it. The two fighters put their hardhats back on their heads soon after and went to work, with Ramirez’s sharp jabs doing well for his efforts while Hooker landed hard hooks and overhand rights in return.

Ramirez focused on digging to the body in the second round. While Hooker’s longer power punches kept him from getting in close as much as he probably wanted, Ramirez’s quick feet got him in range to land some solid hooks at the midway point, and he even pinned Hooker to the ropes for a good portion of the round. In close is where Ramirez had the real advantage, and he let his hands go with force to prove it.

Ramirez began to be more fluid in his attack in the third round, especially from the outside. His jabs, hooks and uppercuts were on point, and he moved his head around enough to keep Hooker’s looping punches mostly off their marks. Still, Hooker managed to land some hard blows to the head and body to make the round incredibly close.

Both fighters were world champions, and neither wanted his run to be over.

Hooker boxed well by keeping Ramirez at the end of his punches to start the fourth. He moved around the mat nicely and refused to let Ramirez close the distance. It’s not as if the California-born fighter didn’t try. He kept the pressure up, but Hooker landed the more telling blows and did so much more often.

They traded hooks in the fifth. Ramirez pressed forward and put Hooker’s back to the ropes again, landing withering hooks to Hooker’s lean body. But Hooker stormed back with pure determination. It was a real battle, both men teeing off in an action-packed three minutes of quality fighting.

A hard left hook that came at the end of a three-punch combination started the end of things in round six, and Ramirez threw a fight-finishing flurry that knocked Hooker’s head around like a bobblehead until the referee stepped in to wave it off soon after.

The end was sudden, shocking and violent. It’s a shame Hooker had to lose in such a way after fighting such a fine fight, but that’s the kind of thing that happens when the best fight the best.

Boxing probably needs more world champions like Hooker was, a fighter who went overseas to defeat Terry Flanagan in Machester by split-decision in June 2018 and followed it up by stopping Alex Saucedo five months later via seventh-round knockout in Saucedo’s hometown, Oklahoma City.

It also needs more like Ramirez, who took the biggest fight of his life in front of Hooker’s pro-Dallas home crowd and delivered the single best performance of his career.

Tevin Farmer defeats Guillaume Frenois by Unanimous Decision

Tevin Famer defeated Guillaume Frenois by unanimous decision on the undercard of the Hooker-Ramirez card in Arlington. Judges at ringside scored the bout 119-108, 116-111 and 116-111.

Farmer, 28, from Philadelphia, Penn., successfully defended his IBF junior lightweight title for the fourth time, and it was in fine fashion against Frenois, 35, a fellow southpaw from France.

Frenois just never made things interesting. Farmer was faster, more accurate and seemed to carry more pop on his punches in every single round. While the Frenchman entered his first world title opportunity with just one loss, he had never really competed at the world level and it showed.

It was a workmanlike performance from Farmer, who also sprinkled in his best Pernell Whitaker impersonation with fancy footwork and stalwart defense. Farmer went to the body hard throughout the fight and he strayed low enough to get a point taken away in round 10.

It didn’t matter. Tarver won just about every single exchange. He was better at everything, and the fight wasn’t very competitive except for maybe the eleventh and twelfth rounds when the brave challenger did his best work against the champion, who seemed content by that point to coast to the decision victory.

Farmer is one of boxing’s best success stories. He didn’t get off to a hot start in his boxing career, but after suffering several early losses, he settled nicely into being one of the best boxers in the world.

While promotional entanglements might make things difficult for him to get important title unification opportunities against WBC champ Miguel Berchelt, WBO champ Jamel Herring and WBA champ Gervonta, Farmer has already solidified himself as one of the very best looking pure boxers on the planet.

Kelsey McCarson covers boxing for NY Fights, The Sweet Science, Gambling.com and Bookies.com. He also hosts a YouTube show about boxing with his wife, Rachel McCarson, called "Real Talk with Kelsey and Rachel".

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