Godfrey left Canada as a boy to find employment as a porter in Boston's silk importing offices. There he took up boxing, calling himself "Old Chocolate". At a fighting weight of 175 pounds on a 5 ft 10 in (Script error cm) frame, he would be considered a light-heavyweight by today's standards. He would engage in an estimated 100 bouts, usually against significantly bigger opponents.
In 1881, a bare-knuckle fight against John L. Sullivan had been scheduled but was stopped by the police as boxing was illegal in the state. When Sullivan became the world heavyweight champion the following year, he refused to fight black boxers. Godfrey won the World Colored Heavyweight Championship from Charles Hadley in 1881.
The most famous fighters Godfrey beat were Peter Maher, Denver Ed Smith, McHenry Johnson ("Minneapolis Star"), Irish Joe Lannon, Patsy Cardiff, Steve O'Donnell and Joe Doherty. He fought the 20 lbs heavier Peter Jackson from the Virgin Islands (based in Australia) in 1888 and lost the colored championship in the 19th round.
In 1892, at age 39, he was KO'd by Joe Choynski.
- Biography at the Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online
- Professional boxing record for George Godfrey from BoxRec
- Another bio
|Awards and achievements|
|World Colored Heavyweight Champion|
February 23, 1883 - August 24, 1888
| Succeeded by|