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Fast Results from Oklahoma City: Hooker TKOs Saucedo

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  • Fast Results from Oklahoma City: Hooker TKOs Saucedo

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    By Arne K. Lang

    Early in his pro career, which began when he was 17 years old, Alex Saucedo and his trainer made the 3-hour drive from Oklahoma City to Dallas to train at the Maple Avenue Boxing Gym. During these workouts, Saucedo often sparred with Maurice Hooker. Tonight they fought for real and the stakes were high. Hooker was making the first defense of the WBO 140-pound title he captured with a split decision over Terry Flanagan in Flanagan’s backyard of Manchester, England.

    “We both got better,” said Hooker, looking back at those days. “I just got more better than him.” And tonight, in front of a hostile crowd, Hooker was the “more better” man, getting off the canvas to retain his title on a seventh round TKO.

    The fight was fought at a brisk pace. Things were looking good for Saucedo when he dropped Hooker with an overhand right in the second frame. He also had a strong fifth round. The crowd stood and cheered when he pinned Hooker on the ropes and flailed away with a barrage of punches. But Hooker launched a flurry of his own before the round ended and Saucedo went back to his corner at the end of the sixth with a bad cut over his left eye.

    In the seventh, Hooker landed a straight right that dictated a standing 8-count when the ropes kept Saucedo upright. Hooker then went for the kill and staggered Saucedo with several hard shots, compelling referee Mark Nelson to waive it off. Hooker improved to 25-0-3 with his 17thknockout. Saucedo, five years younger than Hooker at age 24, suffered his first defeat after opening his career 28-0.

    Co-Main

    In the co-main, Egidijus Kavaliauskas, a two-time Olympian from Lithuania who trains with Mikey Garcia at Robert Garcia’s Oxnard (CA) boxing academy, inched closer to a match with Terence Crawford with a third round stoppage of previously undefeated Roberto Arriaza (17-1). Nicaragua’s Arriaza, who had scored three first-round knockouts in his previous four fights, was simply out-gunned by the 30-year-old Kavaliauskas who suffered a bad cut over his right eye but persevered, improving to 21-0 with his 17thknockout.

    Other Bouts

    In a late addition to the card, former IBF 122-pound champion Jonathan Guzman returned to the ring after a 23-month absence and scored a 10-round unanimous decision over Mexico’s stubborn but overmatched Roberto Castaneda (23-11-1). Guzman, from the Dominican Republic, improved his record to 23-1. Before losing his title in Japan to Yukinori Oguni, Guzman had won all of his pro fights inside the distance.

    In an 8-round light heavyweight match, undefeated Trevor McCumby (25-0-1, 1 NC) scored a unanimous decision over Mexico’s Felipe Romero. The fight was expected to be a cakewalk as Romero (20-16-1) was 1-7 in his last eight and had been stopped 11 times. But in his second start back after the Nevada Athletic Commission slapped him with an 18-month suspension for PEDs (following his first round knockout of Donovan George), McCumby fought as if he still hadn’t shed all the ring rust. He was knocked down in the fourth stanza, but returned the favor in the sixth.

    Popular Long Island junior welterweight Cletus “The Hebrew Hammer” Seldin (21-1, 18 KOs) made quick work of Nicaragua’s Nelson Lara (17-11-4), dismissing him with a body punch 26 seconds into the opening round. Seldin was making his first start since suffering his lone defeat, a one-sided loss on points to Yves Ulysses.

    In a bout that was a temporal clone of the Seldin-Lara quickie, Isiah Seldon stopped Tyler Howard inside the opening minute of the opening round. Seldon (13-1-1, 5 KOs) is the son of Bruce Seldon, the Atlantic City Express, who briefly held the WBA version of the world heavyweight title. Howard, from Crossville, Tennessee, brought a 15-0 record but it was all smoke and mirrors as he had been fighting no-names off in the boondocks.

    New Top Rank signee Albert Bell, a former National Golden Gloves champion, improved to 13-0 (5) when Columbia’s Carlos Padilla (16-9-1) was pulled out after six rounds of a scheduled 8-round lightweight affair. Padilla has now lost five straight.
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