The left hook of Jeff Lacy should be filmed and studied for future generations, preserved and protected like a rare painting.

It's the kind of hook you're lucky to see once every five or 10 years. You don't teach a guy to throw a left hook like that, you just step back and admire the work like you would admire a Rembrandt or a Picasso. Tinker with it too much and it might never be the same.

How good is the hook? Well, Lacy doesn't try to hide it because that would be like trying to hide the color of your hair or the shape of your nose or the sound of your voice. It's just part of who he is and what he does. His nickname – Left Hook – is a built-in scouting report for the next guy on his hit list.

“Remember to keep your right up, Rocky. Why do you think they call him “Left Hook” Lacy?”

It's like advertising your game plan and daring the other guy to do something to stop it.

No one has yet.

Lacy's hook is part of the reason he's already a world champion just 17 fights into his young career. His win over Syd Vanderpool in October for the IBF super-middleweight title validated his quick arrival to the top. It was a tough fight until Lacy stopped him in the eighth.

A nice guy from St. Petersburg, Fla., Lacy (17-0, 14 K0s) has spent a lot of quality ring time with his stablemate, junior-middleweight champ Winky Wright. He defends his title against contender Omar Sheika (26-6, 17 K0s) on SHOWTIME on Dec. 4 at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas.

For Lacy, it's a chance to make a little more noise in his division, show off a little without really trying to show off.

“You rise to the occasion,” Lacy said when asked if he was looking forward to his first title defense. “When I get a fighter that comes to fight, the best comes out of me. Omar Sheika is coming to fight, so you are going to see another great bout between us both.”

Lacy likes to put on great fights. He talks a lot about pleasing fight fans, as though that's part of the reason for fighting.

“Nothing has really changed,” he said when asked if his life is different since winning the championship. “I just looked at it (his fight with Vanderpool) as a great fight. I got a chance to show people that doubted me what I really have to offer as a professional fighter. I don't see anything different from before. Some people still like to watch me fight, some people still don't like to watch me fight. So it's still the same.”

Not really. The money is better, the respect is higher and the consequences of winning and losing are greater.

Against Vanderpool, Lacy said it was not so much what he learned as what he discovered he had to work on.

“In my other fights, I wasn't really able to show the skill level I have because you either had a guy that didn't want to fight or a guy who didn't come to fight,” he said. “And it's really hard to show your skill level when a guy is not competitive. What you saw against Vanderpool were my skills coming into play, but that's because he came to fight.”

He expects Sheika to come to fight and Sheika doesn't plan on disappointing him.

“I'm an aggressive fighter and our styles should make for a great fight,” Sheika said. “We are probably one of the most exciting fights out there with our styles. This is the fight of my life right now. I know I have to get past him to move on to better things.”

“Him” and his left hook.