|Cruiserweight Matt Godfrey: I will be champion before 2010!
Intreview by Bob Carroll, Doghouse Boxing (Mar 17, 2009) DoghouseBoxing.com
NABF Cruiserweight champion Matt Godfrey has been on a fast ride to the top. Godfrey, 18-1 (10 KO’s) has won five minor titles in his short career, but has the maturity and talent to bring the spotlight back to a division that has been void of stars until recently, when Steve Cunningham, Tomaz Adamek, and now Matt “Too Smooth” Godfrey have brought a new promise to the “forgotten weight division”. Rumors are abounding that Matt and former WBO heavyweight champion Herbie Hide, may be in talks to meet for the WBC cruiserweight title eliminator.
Recently, Matt sat down with Doghouse Boxing to talk about his past, present and what he is expecting for his future.
Bob Carroll (BC): Matt, you come from Providence, Rhode Island. At this time, Providence seems to be the hotbed of the boxing world, being the home to you, Jason Estrada, Peter Manfredo, Joey Spina and Ozzie Duran, just to name a few. Is there something in the water in Providence or is boxing taken that seriously for the residents
Matt Godfrey(MG): And let’s also not forget the 2008 Olympian Demetrius “Boo Boo”Andrade. I guess it is in the water (lol). It’s nice too see such a strong group of fighters from such a small town being able to make a big splash on the national and international boxing scene.
BC: You won three national titles as an amateur, in 2000 the National Amateur championship at middleweight, 2002 the National Golden Gloves at heavyweight and 2004 US National Amateur championship at heavyweight. How has this amateur background helped you as a professional fighter?
MG: It helped a lot. Being able to see so many different styles from fighters all across the country and throughout the world definitely gave me a good boost into the pros. If I hadn’t gotten the experience of 300+ fights in the amateurs, I don’t think I would be as successful as I am today.
BC: You were a second alternate for the 2004 US Olympic team, losing to eventual Olympian Devin Vargas. You had previously beaten Vargas as an amateur and should have beaten him in the box-off. Was this just a case of nerves that caused this loss, or was it just a bad fight for you?
MG: Devin made an adjustment from the first fight to the second fight. Our first fight he tried to come after me and take the fight to me. He quickly realized that wasn’t the right game plan resulting in the referee issuing two standing 8 counts in the fight. Our second fight he stayed away and boxed more. Built up a sizeable lead, about 4 or 5 points (an almost insurmountable amount), and stayed away. I credit him for making an adjustment rather than fight the same fight as the first.
BC: Would Vargas be someone you would like to fight now?
MG: Bob, if Devin were a cruiserweight and in the way of me becoming world champion, then absolutely!
BC: You turned pro in May 2004, winning a unanimous decision against Glen Morgan. Did getting that first professional win feel any different than those in your amateur career?
MG: Yes! Like night and day. The gloves are a lot smaller. The punches hurt a lot more and everything comes at you so much faster!
BC: After that, you reeled off 10 wins, setting up a fight against another up and coming fighter, Shaun George. In what was billed as your toughest test yet as a professional, you took George out in the first round. George is a very good fighter, what gave you such an early knockout over him?
MG: To put it simple, I landed the perfect shot at the perfect time. That split second may have been my only opportunity I that fight to land that punch. It just worked perfectly. I take nothing away from Shaun George but I don’t believe he should have been a cruiserweight at that time. We both traded shots and the punch from the bigger stronger man made the difference.
BC: In the win over Shaun George, you won the NABA cruiserweight championship, giving you the second profession title of your career, as you previously won the WBC USNBC cruiserweight title in 2005 against Willie Herring. How did it feel to hold a championship belt over your head?
MG: It felt great. Everything happened so fast for me. I’d been a professional for less than two years and I was already a main event fighter on ESPN holding two US belts.
BC: In your next fight, you decide to keep taking a step up in opposition and take on veteran Danny Batchelder. You won a close decision over Batchelder and added another title, the WBC Continental Americas cruiserweight title. How tough was it to fight Batchelder and what, if anything, did you learn from taking on a veteran like Batchelder?
MG: The Batchelder fight wasn’t a hard fight for me nor was it close (I won 9 of 12 rds). The thing I took away from that fight was experience. That being the first time I had ever gone 12 rounds. It was good to know that I can push hard in a fight and go the distance.
BC: You won your next three bouts, including one against former Contender series fighter Felix Cora, and that sets up a WBC eliminator fight against German Rudolf Kraj. In this fight, though you came on very strong towards the end, the judges awarded Kraj a close 12 round decision. How upsetting was it to lose your first professional fight, and did it make you go back and decide to train and fight harder?
MG: Losing your first fight is always difficult. You always look back and think about the things that you should have done. I was in the best physical shape of my career for that fight. I put it all out on the line in the second half of that fight. I started too slow. When we got back to the states myself and trainer Ross Enamait got right back in the gym within days, preparing for whatever else was next.
BC: A good friend of yours, Jason Estrada, has a very tough fight coming up against Alexander Povetkin in April. Are you helping him with the preparation of that fight?
MG: Right now I am the chief sparring partner for Jason as he prepares for his fight against Alexander Povetkin. I won’t give away too many details but I will tell you that a monkey wrench will be thrown into the heavyweight picture after this one!
BC: Do you have any plans to move into the heavyweight division in the future?
MG: I have no plans on moving to the heavyweight division. My goal is to win a world title as a cruiserweight. I have no business talking about “the big boys” until I win a world title as a cruiser.
BC: What can we expect from Matt Godfrey in 2009?
MG: Expect to see more exciting and crowd pleasing fights from me this year. And I will be champion before 2010!!
BC: Matt, you have the floor, what would you like to say to all of you fans and the readers of Doghouse Boxing?
MG: I want to thank all of my fans and loyal followers who have taken this journey with me into professional boxing. The fans I have gained on the way up and the fans I haven’t gained yet. I want to thank you all for keeping me going!!!
I'd like to thank Matt Godfrey for taking time out of his training schedule to do this interview. For more on Matt,, listen to Bob Carroll, Butch and "THE Big Dog" Benny Henderson Jr. every Wednesday night from 8-9pm EST on Fightin' Words Radio Show. To listen live via the internet, go to http://1490wwpr.com and look for the "listen here" tab. Don't forget to check out the Fightin' Words Radio Show website, fightinwordsonline.com
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