"His face! This is the biggest fight of my life and he’s the guy in the way. He’s the guy I gotta beat to make my dream come true, so I’m taking this very personal. It affects my family and my life and I don’t like the guy because of that. After the fight, we can be cool," stated jr. welterweight contender Maurice Hooker, who talked about his upcoming clash with former world champion Terry Flanagan. Check it out!
PC: April 14th, O2 Arena against Terry Flanagan for the WBO title. How is everything going?
MH: Everything is good. I can’t complain about anything. So far so good. We are just getting things sharper; everything is good.
PC: This is your first time going out to the U.K. Are there any thoughts of going out early to get acclimated?
MH: I think we are going to go there 9 days before the fight just to be ready.
PC: It seems like you are taking this fight personal and he’s not. What is it about Flanagan that rubs you the wrong way?
MH: His face! This is the biggest fight of my life and he’s the guy in the way. He’s the guy I gotta beat to make my dream come true, so I’m taking this very personal. It affects my family and my life and I don’t like the guy because of that. After the fight, we can be cool.
PC: Do you feel like too many fighters now are too friendly with one another prior to fights or even with guys who are in the same division as they are in?
MH: I’m just being myself. This is me. We are going to fight. I’m not trying to be friends with him. I’m trying to knock him out, he’s trying to knock me out; ain’t nothing friendly about that.
PC: Do you have a track record against southpaws? Any reservations about mixing it up with one?
MH: It don’t bother me at all to fight a southpaw.
PC: You are coming off of a wide margin decision win over Courtney Jackson, who was an undefeated kid, but that was 8 months ago. What have you been doing to combat this layoff and stay sharp?
MH: I have just been staying in the gym and doing my strength and conditioning. You only get one shot, so I will make the best of it. I was out in California, Omaha, and now I’m in Colorado, so I have been getting some good work with some good fighters. It’s like going to school, man. I worked with a lot of champions and I learned a lot and took a lot in.
PC: Did you study some tapes on Flanagan, and if so, what are your thoughts of him as an opponent?
MH: I respect him because he was a champion at 135 and now he’s coming up to 140. He got good footwork. I can’t take that away from him, but besides that, he ain’t got nothing else and it’s my job to take that away from him.
PC: You are heading over to his backyard. Do you feel you have to fight a certain way, do you feel you have to do more, or do you feel the judges will give you a fair shake...or are you planning on eliminating the judges?
MH: (Laughing) I feel like I don’t need the judges. I think everyone being around, the judges, the crowd is just motivation to me. I’m going there with one thing on my mind and that is to knock him down. I don’t want this to go 12 rounds. I don’t want this fight to go to the judges.
PC: I’m sure it will be hostile territory. What do you feel you have to do to focus on the guy across the ring and mentally block everything else out?
MH: I don’t think it really matters, but I have thought about it. They can’t step in the ring with him. They can cheer and boo, but they are not the ones in the ring with him.
PC: You are trying to erase his 0 and he’s trying to do the same to you. What would it mean for you to take his undefeated record while capturing that WBO title?
MH: It would mean a lot to me. My whole life I’ve been working towards this goal, so it would be special to me; especially to do it in his backyard.
PC: I was going to ask you that. Would it make the moment more special that you had to win your title on the road as the visiting squad?
MH: Yes! It would mean a lot more because it would mean I had to overcome more than the things that happen inside of the ring.
PC: It seems like you and Errol Spence are putting Dallas on the boxing map. I’m sure that’s an important aspect for you to carry the torch and let people know that they have some great hope in the Dallas area for the sport.
MH: It means a lot. Errol doing his thing and now it’s time for me to step up to the plate and do mine. We are showing that dreams do come true; just believe in yourself and work hard.
PC: When Terence Crawford left the 140-pound division, he definitely left a void and there is a lot of young talent in the division. What do you think of the landscape of the division and potential match-ups that you could possibly make?
MH: I see a lot of hungry fighters and I just want to fight the best out there.
PC: What can fans expect from Maurice Hooker on April 14th?
MH: They can expect a lot. I plan on looking great and bringing that title back home with me.
[ Follow Percy Crawford on Twitter @MrFighthype ]