Oak Cliff’s Maurice Hooker battles war of rough upbringings before ‘All or Nothing’ bout

Maurice Hooker, the WBO champion who is 26-0-3 with 17 knockouts, grew up in Oak Cliff. WBC champion Jose Ramirez is 24-0 with 16 knockouts and grew up picking crops in the California central valley.

During Thursday’s press conference ahead of Saturday’s world super-lightweight unification bout at College Park Center on the campus of UT Arlington, both sides took turns fighting over which boxer had a rougher upbringing.

The fight, which has been dubbed the “All or Nothing” will leave one of them without a belt.

“This is very big. We’re trying to bring excitement back to Dallas with boxing,” Hooker said during a press conference Thursday at Don’t Tell Supper Club in downtown Dallas.

Hooker has watched Errol Spence Jr., who is from DeSoto, become one of the biggest names in boxing as the IBF welterweight champion.

“We used to train together in the same gym,” he said. “He’s another guy from Dallas, Texas who has the same goals I’ve got. He’s already a champion, I’m already a champion.”

To do that, Hooker needs to beat Ramirez Saturday night.

“I know he’s coming. I have to be prepared for whatever he brings,” he said. “He has a good left hook. I’m ready to go out there and show the world what I’m about. This fight means everything to me. I hope Jose is ready.”

The fight will be broadcast on the DAZN app in the United States and on Sky Sports in the United Kingdom.

“This fight needs no hype. It’s as great a classic matchup you can get in boxing,” co-promoter Dino Duva said. “This is what the fans need, this is what boxing needs. None of the [expletive] of the [television] networks getting in the way of great fights. I hope this continues in the future.”

But then it was quickly back to the rough backgrounds of the two fighters. According to a recent story on, Hooker had 33 arrest warrants by the time he was 21.

“He came up in one of the roughest neighborhoods in the country,” Duva said. “If you think that’s any easier than working in the fields in California you don’t know what that neighborhood is about. Both of these kids deserve credit. They’re at the top of their game right now.”

On the undercard, IBF world super featherweight Tevin Farmer will fight challenger Guilluame Frenois, undefeated featherweight Tremaine Williams fights Yenifel Vicente and middleweight Austin Williams fights Jabrandon Harris.

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Stefan Stevenson has been covering sports for the Star-Telegram since 1997. He spent five years covering TCU athletics, which included two BCS bowls, two trips to the college World Series and the move to the Big 12. He has covered the Texas Rangers since 2014 and started reporting on the Dallas Cowboys in 2016.