Henry, Godfrey are victorious

By Tom Donelson, BASN Staff Reporter
Updated: July 12, 2009

Boxing IOWA CITY (BASN) — Chris Henry’s idea of defending against an incoming right hand is to stick his face in its direction. On Friday, he faced Shaun George, fresh off his last big victory over former heavyweight champion Chris Byrd.

George dominated Byrd with both boxing skills and power as he knocked the former heavyweight down three times before ending the fight.

In the first round, Henry did what he does — block incoming rights with his face.

For nearly three minutes, George had target practice as he nailed Henry with one right after another. Henry staggered through the second half of the round as he kept getting punched.

What George failed to do was to follow those massive rights with a properly placed left hook, which as ESPN’s Ted Atlas observed, “Would give George an early night.” As the first round ended, Henry slowly drifted back to his corner.

George failed to follow up his successes in the first round as he took most of the round off. Yes, he still could nail Henry with his right but he never seemed anxious to throw his right.

It was as if, he felt that he could turn it on whenever he needed. Henry actually out jabbed the taller George as George failed to take advantage of his height and quit jabbing.

Without a jab coming in his direction, Henry could easily penetrate George inner defense. From the second round until the end, Henry pounded his opponent’s body continuously and this weakened the lanky George.

As each round progressed, George’s output declined tremendously as he started to lose the will to attack. He became a defensive fighter but without the jab, he seemed powerless to stop the aggressive Henry.

In the sixth round, Henry shot a right hand over a lazy George left jab and sent George to the canvas. Even though he beat the count, George stood on unstable legs and Henry sensed the end was near.

He jumped on George and finished the job with another combination topped off by a sledgehammer right.

This fight showed two good fighters with flaws.

For George, he failed to use his jab and when he had Henry in trouble, he didn’t finish the job. During the fight, George spent time on the defense and never took advantage of his boxing skills.

Henry won but two flaws showed up. The first flaw was his inability to avoid a right hand and the second flaw was his occasionally failure to cut off the ring. Had he did a better job of cutting of the round, he might have ended the fight earlier.

In the main event, Matt Godfrey played a surgeon as he picked Shaun Hawk apart.

This was a mismatch and the only reason that Hawk lasted all 12 rounds was because Godfrey allowed him to.His last five opponents had a combined a record of 82-12 whereas Hawk last five opponents barely broke .500.

Godfrey was and is a top ten Cruiserweight and Hawk showed he was not.

That was obvious from the opening minutes of the fight as Godfrey went southpaw and had no trouble penetrating Hawk’s defenses. This was a fight that Godfrey was perfectly satisfied with just a winning the fight.

Godfrey’s trainer, Iceman John Scully told Ted Atlas that he was not allowing his fighter to take chances and have a Hawk “Hail Mary to determine the fight. For Team Godfrey, the key was to get rounds for their fighter and make sure that an upset lost could derail any potential big fight.

As fellow Cruiserweight contender B.J. Flores noted in the ESPN headquarters during the fight; boxing is also about entertainment and Godfrey needed not just to win but to win in a big way.

He threw and connected on nearly three times as many punches as his opponent and Hawk showed very few skills in fighting the superior Godfrey.

He has the talent to compete for a title in a very even, but excellent division. The cruiserweights are not only one of the deepest classes, but it may be one of the sport’s most talented and on every given night.

Frankly, any Cruiserweight can beat any other cruiserweight.

For Godfrey, the time is now to make the move from contender to champion.