Dallas

Dallas Native Maurice Hooker Punching His Way to the Top

The Dallas native fights July 27 at the University of Texas at Arlington

A training session is underway inside the Maple Avenue Boxing Gym. Vincent Parra wrapping Maurice Hooker's hands for another workout ahead of his July 27 bout against WBC Super Lightweight champ Jose Ramirez.

If you would have told the South Dallas native years ago he'd be in this position, he wouldn't have believed you.

"What's the chances for me where I'm Dallas, in the hood, make it to be a world champion," Hooker said.

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Hooker grew up in South Oak Cliff and Pleasant Grove, where things were anything but pleasant during his childhood. Fortunately he turned his love of fighting in the streets to fighting in the ring, and that's when Arnie Verbeek first came across this powerful pugilist.

"He took his gloves off and he threw them at his opponent," Verbeek said. "He threw a big tantrum and I told my kids, 'This is exactly what boxing is not about. Boxing is about discipline.' Well that kid was Maurice."

Boxing taught "Mighty Mo" as he's known, the discipline he needed. His 80-inch reach has been another factor in his success.

"He's been able to utilize it," Parra said. " Someone can't reach you by six inches and you can reach them, you do pretty good."

Hooker, who is unbeaten in 29 professional bouts, said he's fighting for more than just himself.

"I want to give back to my community," he said. "Where I'm from and just show everybody who in the hood to believe in yourself and it can take you far."

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