By Graham Houston
Busy champion Marco “Käpt’n” Huck makes his fourth defence of the cruiserweight title in 12 months on Saturday when he meets American challenger Matt Godfrey in Erfurt, Germany. Each man is saying the same thing about the other, basically: “He’s never faced anyone like me.”
Godfrey, from Providence, RI, does present some challenges for Huck. He is a clever boxer who can fight equally as well from the orthodox or southpaw positions and although not considered a seriously hard hitter he has the punching power to hurt opponents, as he showed when he survived a knockdown and came back to hammer the Nigerian Emmanuel Nwodo in the fourth round.
Huck looks the more powerful of the two fighters but Godfrey is the slicker boxer. As ever Huck will be using his simple but effective method of blocking punches on his high guard, then opening up in explosive bursts. What Godfrey has to do is to try to score consistently, building up an advantage on points and then weathering Huck’s attacks, either by head and upper body movement or by tucking up behind arms and gloves.
Godfrey has not been the most consistent of boxers, though. He was very disappointing when losing on points to the rather ordinary Rudolf Kraj on a previous visit to Germany, struggled with Derrick Brown, who is not a world-class fighter, and was losing to Nwodo before a big right hand got him out of trouble. In his last fight, Godfrey suffered a knockdown against the trial horse Michael Simms and only won the fight by split decision.
Of course, there is the motivation factor to consider. Godfrey might have found it hard to get enthused about a fight with someone of Simms’s lowly status. He will have trained longer and harder and will have a different mental outlook for the fight with Huck. Still, Huck looks like being too strong for him. The German-promoted champion has become a more measured, controlled fighter in the past year or so, and he is very confident in his ability to impose his authority on opponents by means of superior firepower.
Steve Cunningham beat Huck almost three years ago by being faster, more versatile and smarter, but even then it was a gruelling fight — one judge had Huck in front at the time of the last-round stoppage — and I think that Cunningham would have to be considered a more talented boxer than Godfrey. I can’t see Godfrey pulling off the upset and I think he will do well to survive the full 12 rounds.