By Jake Donovan
Longtime boxing promoter Kathy Duva lives by the belief that every fight should have a story to tell whenever she’s putting on a show.
Unbeaten super middleweight prospect George “Comanche Boy” Tahdooahnippah has watched several of his peers have their story told. The Oklahoma product is now in search of face time of his own and hopes to get it as he campaigns for a crack at former middleweight king Jermain Taylor.
“I’ve paid my dues, now it’s time for exposure,” states Tahdooahnippah (30-0-1, 22KO), who for years has been anxious to advance from the prospect stage to contender status. “It’s time for that next step. Whether I need to fight the gatekeepers, prospects or big names, I hope it’s soon.”
The choice of Taylor as a target stems from the Arkansas native’s last fight, an off-the-canvas decision win over Caleb Truax. Taylor was in control for most of the fight, but looked far from stellar and even worse when he was floored hard in the ninth round.
Tahdooahnippah – best known simply as ‘Comanche Boy’ – took note of the fight, specifically of the brief damage done by the hand-picked opponent. Naturally, his first thought was what would happen if it were the unbeaten Oklahoman in there with the former champ.
“Watching his fight with Truax, I saw Taylor struggle against a guy whose career is moving at the same path as mine,” Tahdooahnippah observed. “I’m looking for an opportunity like that. Quite a few have fallen through.”
The latter statement explains the long stretch at the prospect level, with his career resume reading like that of a senior in his seventh year of college.
The difference between Tahdooahnippah and most other fighters whose records far exceeds their accomplishments isn’t the lack of confidence on his part but a lack of willingness on others stepping up. His handlers have been anxious for a major network to share his story of how he proudly represents the Native American community.
Unfortunately for the 33-year old, he’s in a position where it will require the right dance partner to get networks interested. Hence, his targeting a fighter like Taylor for his next in-ring date.
“Taylor wants to stay busy against prospects, so why not fight me. Every prospect needs that fight to get the chance to shine. Taylor will never be the same again. I need that opportunity. If not, I will go past Jermain Taylor. I hope for TV recognition and just to be found. I’m a fighter that nobody knows about it. When an opportunity arises, I’m jumping on it even if I have to be somebody’s opponent.”
Close friend Carson Jones was forced to go that route after letting his record fall apart due to bad decisions made earlier in his career. A revival came about the moment he hooked up with Bobby Dobbs, who also manages Tahdooahnippah. The hard-luck career of Jones comes full circle when he challenges Kell Brook in July.
Jones is just one of several stories from around the way that is being told to a wider audience. Tahdooahnippah draws inspiration from his close friend, but admits to being frustrated over watching others around him receive airtime while his career remains stuck in neutral.
“The people of Oklahoma get to hear about Allan Green receiving opportunities (Green faces Mikkel Kessler on Saturday). Things are finally falling in place for my good friend Carson Jones. Even Grady Brewer keeps getting opportunities. I’m patient but at the same time I wish we could strike when the iron is hot. I can’t let my emotions get the best of me but just wish there was more for me.”
Even more so is the story he wishes to share. Challenging a former champ like Taylor isn’t just means to grab a headline or two, but to introduce to the boxing world an entirely new faction.
“I’m a Native American. As athletes, we’re not respected on the professional level,” Tahdooahnippah beieves. “I represent not just Comanche tribe, but Native Americans looking for someone to rally around. It’s like any Mexican fighter, or Manny for the Philippines, I’m bringing hope for the Native Americans and hopefully get to a point that everyone likes me.”
Tahdooahnippah’s last ring appearance came just days after Taylor’s near-disastrous turn against Truax last month. Once upon a time, ring activity was a sufficient alternative to lack of marquee names gracing his ledger. Not even that luxury is afforded these days, though again through means well beyond the fighter’s control.
“George is 30-0 and had a few big fights fall through,” explains Bobby Dobbs, Tahdooahnippah’s longtime manager. “Fernando Guerrero backed out on us a few years ago and it’s been frustrating to get him a fight.
“We’ve been ready to take the next step and Jermain Taylor is the guy we want. He’s on the comeback trail and is looking for another opportunity. Comanche Boy has no problem taking him out of the equation!”
Tahdooahnippah not only approves but doubles down on that statement.
“I’ll be the one to stop Jermain Taylor’s comeback and put the stamp on his retirement. I’ll be the one that will make him say, ‘I should’ve gone out sooner, but now I’m officially done.’”
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com. Follow Jake on Twitter: @JakeNDaBox or submit questions/comments to [email protected]