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Former sparring partners Alex Saucedo, Maurice Hooker ready for WBO world title bout

Maurice Hooker, left, and Alex Saucedo pose for a photo at the end of a news conference Wednesday at the Sheraton Hotel in Oklahoma City. [Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman]

Maurice Hooker, left, and Alex Saucedo pose for a photo at the end of a news conference Wednesday at the Sheraton Hotel in Oklahoma City. [Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman]

As far as boxing news conferences go, this was a royal tea party with Maurice Hooker and Alex Saucedo all prim and proper, showing nary a sign of disrespect.

There were no staged confrontations or outlandish comments Wednesday inside the ballroom of the Sheraton Hotel just one block away from Chesapeake Energy Arena, where Hooker will defend his World Boxing Organization light heavyweight title against Saucedo on Friday night.

After all, the champ and challenger were sparring partners not that long ago.

"In the boxing world," Saucedo said, "that's how it is."

As Saucedo began his professional career in 2011, he left his Oklahoma City home to train in Dallas at Maple Avenue Boxing Gym, where he often worked out with Hooker.

"Good sparring session. Tough guy," Saucedo recalled. "He's a guy with a long reach and power in both of his hands."

On Tuesday, Hooker posted photos on Instagram from those sparring sessions with a message that this bout has "been a long time coming."

"We both got better," Hooker said. "He got better. I got better. I just got a little more better than him."

He'll need to be Friday night as he makes his first title defense on Saucedo's home turf, three hours away from Hooker's native Dallas.

"I'll fight anywhere — outside, in front of your house, behind your house, in the ring..." said Hooker, who owns a 24-0-3 record with 16 knockouts. "I don't care where I fight as long as I fight."

Saucedo, undefeated at 28-0 with 18 knockouts, is just happy to have his first title shot in Oklahoma City. If the crowd is anything like the one that saw Saucedo win a bloody bout against Lenny Zappavigna on June 30 at Chesapeake Energy Arena, he'll take it.

"It's motivation for me, seeing the whole city come together," Saucedo said. "The way they were shouting 'O-K-C' in the arena was like when you go to a Thunder game. It was an amazing feeling."

ALEX SAUCEDO VS. MAURICE HOOKER

What: WBO junior welterweight championship

When: 11 p.m., Friday

Where: Chesapeake Energy Arena

Tickets: Start at $35. Ticketmaster.com. 

TV: ESPN+, 5:30 p.m. for the undercard; ESPN, 11 p.m. for the main event

Related Photos
<p>Maurice Hooker, left, kisses his title belt before posing for a photo with challenger Alex Saucedo at the end of a news conference Wednesday at the Sheraton Hotel in Oklahoma City. [Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman]</p>

Maurice Hooker, left, kisses his title belt before posing for a photo with challenger Alex Saucedo at the end of a news conference Wednesday at the Sheraton Hotel in Oklahoma City. [Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman]

<figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-22aeb39b7095a68566325166989618d1.jpg" alt="Photo - Maurice Hooker, left, kisses his title belt before posing for a photo with challenger Alex Saucedo at the end of a news conference Wednesday at the Sheraton Hotel in Oklahoma City. [Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman] " title=" Maurice Hooker, left, kisses his title belt before posing for a photo with challenger Alex Saucedo at the end of a news conference Wednesday at the Sheraton Hotel in Oklahoma City. [Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman] "><figcaption> Maurice Hooker, left, kisses his title belt before posing for a photo with challenger Alex Saucedo at the end of a news conference Wednesday at the Sheraton Hotel in Oklahoma City. [Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman] </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-n_f6c6ae10de646d1ef48023c53584cc6c.jpg" alt="Photo - Maurice Hooker, left, and Alex Saucedo pose for a photo at the end of a press conference for their WBO junior welterweight world title fight, at the Sheraton Hotel in Oklahoma City, Nov. 14, 2018. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman" title="Maurice Hooker, left, and Alex Saucedo pose for a photo at the end of a press conference for their WBO junior welterweight world title fight, at the Sheraton Hotel in Oklahoma City, Nov. 14, 2018. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman"><figcaption>Maurice Hooker, left, and Alex Saucedo pose for a photo at the end of a press conference for their WBO junior welterweight world title fight, at the Sheraton Hotel in Oklahoma City, Nov. 14, 2018. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman</figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-2420a922085676f0dc2131d0ff14c81c.jpg" alt="Photo - Alex Saucedo smiles during the press conference for his WBO junior welterweight world title fight against Maurice Hooker, at the Sheraton Hotel in Oklahoma City, Nov. 14, 2018. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman" title="Alex Saucedo smiles during the press conference for his WBO junior welterweight world title fight against Maurice Hooker, at the Sheraton Hotel in Oklahoma City, Nov. 14, 2018. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman"><figcaption>Alex Saucedo smiles during the press conference for his WBO junior welterweight world title fight against Maurice Hooker, at the Sheraton Hotel in Oklahoma City, Nov. 14, 2018. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman</figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-de57681ae99da854fc3a2f41966e15ef.jpg" alt="Photo - Maurice Hooker smiles during the press conference for his WBO junior welterweight world title fight against Alex Saucedo, at the Sheraton Hotel in Oklahoma City, Nov. 14, 2018. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman" title="Maurice Hooker smiles during the press conference for his WBO junior welterweight world title fight against Alex Saucedo, at the Sheraton Hotel in Oklahoma City, Nov. 14, 2018. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman"><figcaption>Maurice Hooker smiles during the press conference for his WBO junior welterweight world title fight against Alex Saucedo, at the Sheraton Hotel in Oklahoma City, Nov. 14, 2018. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman</figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-b5534871c2c8a1d58690c5e5890e7d75.jpg" alt="Photo - Former boxer Sean O'Grady speaks during the press conference for the Maurice Hooker vs. Alex Saucedo WBO junior welterweight world title fight, at the Sheraton Hotel in Oklahoma City, Nov. 14, 2018. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman" title="Former boxer Sean O'Grady speaks during the press conference for the Maurice Hooker vs. Alex Saucedo WBO junior welterweight world title fight, at the Sheraton Hotel in Oklahoma City, Nov. 14, 2018. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman"><figcaption>Former boxer Sean O'Grady speaks during the press conference for the Maurice Hooker vs. Alex Saucedo WBO junior welterweight world title fight, at the Sheraton Hotel in Oklahoma City, Nov. 14, 2018. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman</figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-74ce9f30c848c10a6024c4f8ea9679a4.jpg" alt="Photo - Alex Saucedo speaks during the press conference for his WBO junior welterweight world title fight against Maurice Hooker, at the Sheraton Hotel in Oklahoma City, Nov. 14, 2018. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman" title="Alex Saucedo speaks during the press conference for his WBO junior welterweight world title fight against Maurice Hooker, at the Sheraton Hotel in Oklahoma City, Nov. 14, 2018. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman"><figcaption>Alex Saucedo speaks during the press conference for his WBO junior welterweight world title fight against Maurice Hooker, at the Sheraton Hotel in Oklahoma City, Nov. 14, 2018. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman</figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-3675727d703613ed6e0cefe3461a7296.jpg" alt="Photo - Maurice Hooker speaks during the press conference for his WBO junior welterweight world title fight against Alex Saucedo, at the Sheraton Hotel in Oklahoma City, Nov. 14, 2018. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman" title="Maurice Hooker speaks during the press conference for his WBO junior welterweight world title fight against Alex Saucedo, at the Sheraton Hotel in Oklahoma City, Nov. 14, 2018. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman"><figcaption>Maurice Hooker speaks during the press conference for his WBO junior welterweight world title fight against Alex Saucedo, at the Sheraton Hotel in Oklahoma City, Nov. 14, 2018. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman</figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-03bbd82475daac25e15bfd2967f04cd7.jpg" alt="Photo - Promoter Bob Arum speaks during the press conference for the Maurice Hooker vs. Alex Saucedo WBO junior welterweight world title fight, at the Sheraton Hotel in Oklahoma City, Nov. 14, 2018. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman" title="Promoter Bob Arum speaks during the press conference for the Maurice Hooker vs. Alex Saucedo WBO junior welterweight world title fight, at the Sheraton Hotel in Oklahoma City, Nov. 14, 2018. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman"><figcaption>Promoter Bob Arum speaks during the press conference for the Maurice Hooker vs. Alex Saucedo WBO junior welterweight world title fight, at the Sheraton Hotel in Oklahoma City, Nov. 14, 2018. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman</figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-de0e2f52825a2eb9250d7df29f847617.jpg" alt="Photo - Maurice Hooker, left, and Alex Saucedo pose for a photo at the end of a press conference for their WBO junior welterweight world title fight, at the Sheraton Hotel in Oklahoma City, Nov. 14, 2018. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman" title="Maurice Hooker, left, and Alex Saucedo pose for a photo at the end of a press conference for their WBO junior welterweight world title fight, at the Sheraton Hotel in Oklahoma City, Nov. 14, 2018. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman"><figcaption>Maurice Hooker, left, and Alex Saucedo pose for a photo at the end of a press conference for their WBO junior welterweight world title fight, at the Sheraton Hotel in Oklahoma City, Nov. 14, 2018. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman</figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-22aeb39b7095a68566325166989618d1.jpg" alt="Photo - Maurice Hooker, left, kisses his title belt before posing for a photo with challenger Alex Saucedo at the end of a press conference for their WBO junior welterweight world title fight, at the Sheraton Hotel in Oklahoma City, Nov. 14, 2018. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman" title="Maurice Hooker, left, kisses his title belt before posing for a photo with challenger Alex Saucedo at the end of a press conference for their WBO junior welterweight world title fight, at the Sheraton Hotel in Oklahoma City, Nov. 14, 2018. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman"><figcaption>Maurice Hooker, left, kisses his title belt before posing for a photo with challenger Alex Saucedo at the end of a press conference for their WBO junior welterweight world title fight, at the Sheraton Hotel in Oklahoma City, Nov. 14, 2018. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman</figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-66b9bc8f68faaf9e30d2fe142bc4e77e.jpg" alt="Photo - From left, former boxer Sean O'Grady speaks near Alex Saucedo, promoter Bob Arum and Maurice Hooker during the press conference for the Hooker vs. Saucedo WBO junior welterweight world title fight, at the Sheraton Hotel in Oklahoma City, Nov. 14, 2018. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman" title="From left, former boxer Sean O'Grady speaks near Alex Saucedo, promoter Bob Arum and Maurice Hooker during the press conference for the Hooker vs. Saucedo WBO junior welterweight world title fight, at the Sheraton Hotel in Oklahoma City, Nov. 14, 2018. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman"><figcaption>From left, former boxer Sean O'Grady speaks near Alex Saucedo, promoter Bob Arum and Maurice Hooker during the press conference for the Hooker vs. Saucedo WBO junior welterweight world title fight, at the Sheraton Hotel in Oklahoma City, Nov. 14, 2018. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman</figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-n_f6c6ae10de646d1ef48023c53584cc6c.jpg" alt="Photo - Maurice Hooker, left, and Alex Saucedo pose for a photo at the end of a news conference Wednesday at the Sheraton Hotel in Oklahoma City. [Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman] " title=" Maurice Hooker, left, and Alex Saucedo pose for a photo at the end of a news conference Wednesday at the Sheraton Hotel in Oklahoma City. [Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman] "><figcaption> Maurice Hooker, left, and Alex Saucedo pose for a photo at the end of a news conference Wednesday at the Sheraton Hotel in Oklahoma City. [Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman] </figcaption></figure>
Jeff Patterson

Jeff Patterson is the sports editor of The Oklahoman. A native of Lexington, Kentucky, he allegedly once told his father on a childhood trip passing through Oklahoma that he would one day live there. He doesn't recall this, but he fulfilled that... Read more ›

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