NABA and USNBC Cruiserweight Champion, Matt Godfrey 12-0 (7), will look to unify his titles with WBC Continental Americas Cruiserweight Champion, Danny Batchelder, 24-2-1 (11), this Saturday at the Connecticut Convention Center, in Hartford, CT on a CES Promotion.
In an exclusive interview with Godfrey we had the opportunity to discuss his upcoming bout, amateur experience, turning professional, and his plans to win a major cruiserweight title and unify the division.
SaddoBoxing: Thank you for taking the time to speak with us today. I would like to let the fans to find out more about you; how did you get started in boxing?
Matt Godfrey: “No problem. I started boxing with a friend of mine Jason Estrada the 2004 Super Heavyweight Olympian. I started going to the gym with him when I was around 12 years old and I have been doing it ever since.”
SB: You actually grew up with him?
MG: “Yes, I have known him since second grade.”
SB: Where did the two of you start boxing?
MG: “We started boxing at Peter Manfredo, Sr’s gym.”
SB: What type of amateur experience did you have?
MG: “Actually I had a very good amateur background. I went to two Olympic trials, I had about 225 fights and I had about five National titles.”
SB: Tell me about your experience in the Olympic Trials?
MG: “My plan after the 2000 Olympic Trials was to wait for the 2004 Olympics. I was in the 2004 Olympic trials and lost in the finals to the eventual Olympian Devin Vargas. It was very disappointing because I had beaten him a few months before. I tried twice and didn't make it and I felt I matured enough in the amateurs and decided to turn pro at 23 years old.”
SB: Have you always been trained by Peter Manfredo Sr.
MG: “No, Dr. Estrada, Jason Estrada’s father trained me up until I turned pro. He handed myself and Jason over to Peter Manfredo Sr. and let him take care of the professional aspect of the game because the pros and the amateurs are so much different and he had a little more experience in the pros than Dr. Estrada did. Dr. Estrada is my second and Peter Manfredo Sr. is the chief in the corner.”
SB: They portrayed Peter Manfredo Sr. on the Contender as maybe having an aggressive style of training, was that an accurate portrayal?
MG: “Very accurate. He will push you to the limit. Unless you are in fantastic shape he will pretty much dictate how he wants you to work. He is very militant in his training methods.”
SB: Do you feel that style works well with you?
SB: You have been fighting professionally for only 2 Â½ years, how does it feel to be fighting for multiple titles in such a short period of time? (NABA Cruiserweight Title, WBC Continental Americas Cruiserweight Title & WBC United States (USNBC) Cruiserweight Title)
MG: “It feels good. Like I said taking those four extra years in the amateurs to mature helped me out a lot. I could of done that in the pros and I would of probably still been at the same point in my career had I turned pro when I was nineteen. So those extra four years in the amateurs helped me mature and put me where I am at now. With only 12 fights I feel I am ready to fight the best and the who’s who in the division.”
SB: Why do you feel you have been so successful?
MG: “I have a lot of experience. I have been fighting since I was twelve. Each time we get an opponent we want to try someone who will be a little more difficult each time and I have been able to progress. I have beaten some guys who have pretty good records and a lot of fights. We just want to keep getting better guys and see how I do. So far it has been pretty easy.”
SB: Stack up your competition in the cruiserweight division and the level of competition that you feel it holds?
MG: “I believe it is a very competitive division. Once they made the jump a few years back pushing the limit from 190 to 200 lbs, that gave some of the smaller heavyweights a chance to come down and fight in a division where they belonged. Some of the smaller heavyweights were able to make cruiserweight and make it a very interesting division. There is a lot of competition in there; I think it is the most athletic division. There are a lot of champions and the top ten are from different countries all over the world so it is a very competitive division.”
SB: Is there anyone in particular you would like to go after?
MG: “Anyone, I feel as though I am ready now to take on the world if I am not ready now I never will be. Anyone, no disrespect to them, they are all great fighters and they all deserve to be where they are at, but I feel as though it is my turn and if I get an opportunity to fight any of those guys ranked ahead of me I will.”
SB: Do you think you will campaign your entire career at the cruiserweight division?
MG: “It all depends. Right now my only goal in the sport of boxing is win a major cruiserweight title and unify the division. If I can do that then I can look on towards other things. I have to feel like I have conquered this division before I can move on and if I don't conquer it I am going to stay here until I do.”
SB: Why did your team decide on Batchelder as your next opponent?
MG: “We are neck and neck in the rankings (Godfrey WBC #10, Batchelder #12) and Batchelder has the WBC Intercontinental Title, he also has 24 wins and only 2 losses. He just lost a very close fight to heavyweight contender Brian Minto and we believe it will be a highly competitive fight. We want someone in there who is gonna test me and show me some things I haven't seen before. It is all part of the learning process we believe that Danny Batchelder is the perfect guy in this division at this time to give me the chance to go twelve rounds and see some of things I have not seen before.
SB: What do you know about him?
MG: “I think our styles match up well. As he put on weight he started boxing a little more than he did when he was a light heavyweight. He boxes a little more which will make it interesting for myself because I am used to guys coming at me so style wise, I believe it will be a good match up. I think overall I have too much speed and too much power for him. That will be the difference in the fight.”
SB: How have you been preparing for the fight?
MG: “I have been preparing for this fight since middle to late June because we kept trying to get a date for the fight and it kept falling through. My camp strongly believed that he was going to be our next guy in line so I just stayed in the gym and kept getting ready for him. I could have fought him a month ago and been ready so I have been getting ready for this fight for a long time.”
SB: What is your training regimen in camp?
MG: “I can't tell you that, then Danny Batchelder will win (laughing). Then he'll go and do my training regimen. I push myself to the limit every workout, every last ounce I have, so I have nothing left. That is my training regimen.”
SB: Any predictions for the fight?
MG: “Yes, I am going to win. It doesn't matter how it’s gonna happen but I am going to win.”
SB: Not looking past your current opponent, what are your plans? Any additional fights for 2006?
MG: “Yes, that is the plan one more fight after this one and hopefully go undefeated this year and look forward to an exciting 2007.”
SB: Anything else you would like to add and tell your fans?
MG: “I just want to thank all my fans for supporting me throughout my short 2 Â½ year career and I gain more fans as time goes on. I just hope everyone keeps watching the sport.”
SB: Thank you for your time and I wish you the best of luck against Danny Batchelder and in your career.
MG: “No problem, thanks a lot.”