By Jake Donovan
George Tahdooahnippah – b/k/a ‘Comanche Boy’ – believes he knows exactly why he was tabbed to face 154 lb. contender Delvin Rodriguez tonight at the Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Connecticut.
The 34-year old Native American boasts a glossy record atop a thin resume and is assumed as your garden variety come-forward club fighter waiting for a TV date to finally cash in.
There is some semblance of truth to that. Tahdooahnippah does boast a glossy record, at 32-0-1 (23KO). None of the wins have come against anyone worth mentioning, a startling fact for a fighter now nine years into the pro ranks and entering his 34th prize fight.
The rest isn’t true, although he doesn’t mind the assumption. Little did his opponent realize until recently, that Tahdooahnippah accepted the fight with his own agenda in mind.
“Delvin’s been in the game a long time, been in a lot of wars,” notes the 34-year old middleweight. “He’s reaching the back end of his career and sees a win over me – taking my “0”- as a way to bring some clout back to his name. They think I’m just a come-forward fighter draining himself to make weight. Don’t underestimate me.”
Comanche Boy was all too willing to agree to a catchweight of 157 lb, the lightest to which he’s ever agreed to fight, while the heaviest for Rodriguez, who only recently moved up from the welterweight division.
Thursday’s weigh-in proved the weight-drained theory a bust. Tahdooahnippah came in at a career-light 155.5 lb, one pound lighter than the 32-year old Rodriguez (26-6-3, 14KO), who weighed a career heaviest 156.5 lb for their scheduled 10-round bout.
Tahdooahnippah doesn’t pretend it was easy making weight. “I always diet during camp, though not as strict as this camp. I ate the same foods, but different-sized portions.”
Still, a good enough performance in tonight’s fight provides plenty of options down the road, more than if he were to just limit himself to his natural fighting weight of 160 lb.
“I’m a big middleweight; I walk around at 175 lb,” states Tahdooahnippah, who is 5’10”. “But I had plenty of time to get down to 157, which is a mistake Rodriguez’ team made in choosing me. I’m disciplined enough to commit to any task. For the right fight, I’d find a way to shrink all the way down to 126 lb.”
Though the 154 lb. division continues to heat up, the Oklahoma native sees middleweight as his pot of gold should the day come where he’s ready to challenge for a title. Still, how he fights – and more importantly, feels – in Friday’s catchweight bout can go a long way towards dictating which way he next takes his career.
“I’ll see how I feel at this weight,” Tahdooahnippah says. “I’ve always said my big fight would come at 160. But who knows? I could win (tonight) and Canelo (Alvarez) or Floyd (Mayweather, Jr.) could come calling next.
“At 160, you have GGG (Gennady Golovkin, unbeaten middleweight titlist). There’s Sergio Martinez, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. There are a lot of options at my weight and just below my weight. After (tonight), I can make a better decision on my future. It’s just nice to have those options when I’ve never had any opportunity at all before getting this fight.”
Jake Donovan is the Boxingscene.com Managing Editor, Records Keeper for Transnational Boxing Ratings Board and a voting member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox