Godfrey vs. Cora in April cruiserweight battle

13/02/2007

Godfrey vs. Cora in April cruiserweight battle

Press Release: Cruiserweight contender Matt "Too Smooth" Godfrey will battle on his 2000 U.S. Olympic Trials teammate, Felix "Bad News" Cora, Jr., on April 6, 2007 in the main event at a site to be determined.  Also, aNazim Richardson, a candidate for Trainer of the Year (Boxing Writers Association of America), has been added to Matt's corner as chief second. Godfrey, 14-0, is coming off of four wins in 2006 against Lloyd Bryan (TKO4), Danny Batchelder (WDEC12), Shaun George (TKO1) and Ernest Mateen (TKO2). Cora has beaten the likes of Arthur Williams, Darnell Wilson and Chris Thomas. The Galveston, Texas native lost his last fight to Vadim Tokarev this past May. "Cora is one of the toughest cruiserweights to fight because of his style and experience," Godfrey said. "He's left-handed, extremely slick and very busy throwing 100 punches a round. Even though he only has nine knockouts, he has power in both hands and you don't seem 'em coming."
 
With Godfrey having only 14 fights as a pro, Cora is a risky fight, one pitting two 26-year-old cruiserweight lions against each other now instead of waiting for sometime down road. "Nobody really wants to fight either of these cruiserweights," Godfrey's manager Bret Hallenbeck added. "Matt's reputation and ability showed us that he needs to fight upper echelon people in the cruiserweight division to position him for a major world title fight. Same thing for Cora and that's why this fight is happening."
 
Richardson, who trained Bernard Hopkins for his sensational performance against Antonio Tarver, has been added to Godfrey's corner because Matt's trainer, Peter Manfredo, Sr., will be too busy working with his son, Peter Manfredo, Jr, for his April 7 title fight against world super middleweight champion Joe Calzaghe in Wales. "Peter's not being replaced by Nazeem," Hallenbeck explained. "Peter's son is fighting for a world title and he'll be in Matt's corner as an assistant in future fights. We did our research and found that Naazim has the ability and knowledge that we were looking for. We (Bret and Matt) talked to Naazim and then went to Philadelphia for two days to meet and for Matt to workout for him. The chemistry was there right away; they just flowed. I interviewed him, met with some team members, and we selected Naazim. Matt is going to Philadelphia on February 18th to train there five weeks. He's going to have plenty of good sparring there."
 
Richardson and Godfrey have known each other for years, starting when Matt was a Junior Olympics boxer. "I've known him a long time and Brother Naazim is one of the best in the business," Godfrey noted. "Sometimes getting away and working with somebody else is good because he may see some mistakes that we didn't notice. It's a good opportunity for me because I'll be working with world championship fighters in Philly. Sparring simulates fights. I need regular sparring and you can't get any better than I'll have there."
 
Godfrey's 194-23 amateur record included six national championships, four open tournaments including the 2004 Everlast U.S. Championships, plus two in the Junior Olympics. He was a Bronze medal winner at the 2001 Pan-American Games, Silver medallist in all four of the 2004 national major tournaments - National Golden Gloves, PAL (Police Athletic League), U.S. Championships and U.S. Challenge -- and six-time New England Golden Gloves champion.
 
"At first, I wasn't sure if I could give Matt the attention he deserves," Richardson remarked. "I saw Matt's situation, him in a big fight and Manfredo busy with his son. Matt was going to need one-on-one attention, so I made time to work with him. I've known him for a long time, since he was a puppy - he's a great kid!
 
"Matt's a complete kid, not a finished fighter, but he does a little of everything. His only flaw is that he's young. Matt being able to do so many things well means we can work on what's needed to be emphasized on for different opponents. That's what is so great about Matt. He's a solid kid who has such a diverse game. At his age, in the cruiserweight division, he can make a lot of noise and position himself quickly for a big fight. There's a lot of talent in Philadelphia and the sparring here will keep Matt sharp. He will get consistently good sparring on a daily basis and that's going to be good for him."
 
Godfrey was the second heavyweight alternate on the 2004 U.S. Olympic Boxing Team and as an amateur, Matt defeated many boxers who are contemporary professionals, including Randy "The Gentleman" Griffin (24-1-2, 12 KOs), Chazz "Mensa With Muscles" Witherspoon (16-0, 10 KOs), Devin Vargas (11-0, 5 KOs), Corey "Black Ice" Cummings (15-2, 12 KOs), Lenord "Haitian Sensation" Pierre (18-3, 13 KOs),  and John Johnson (12-1, 10 KOs).