George Tahdooahnippah knew it was coming.
The 34-year-old middleweight, who is nicknamed Comanche Boy, entered the professional boxing ranks back in 2004. But until this past Friday he had never tasted defeat.
Tahdooahnippah, who has Comanche and Choctaw ancestry, suffered the first loss of his pro career in a February 15 bout versus Delvin Rodriguez.
The bout was held at the Mohegan Sun casino, located in Uncasville, Connecticut. It was the main event on ESPN's Friday Night Fights broadcast.
Rodriguez was declared the winner following a sixth-round technical knockout. The referee stopped the bout, which was scheduled for 10 rounds, at the 2:41 mark of the sixth round as Rodriguez was continually pounding Tahdooahnippah.
"I knew a long time ago I was going to lose one day," Tahdooahnippah said. "A loss is part of any sport. I knew it was coming at some point and in a way I kind of wanted to experience it so I could get it out of the way."
The loss dropped Comanche Boy's record to 31-1-1. With the victory, Rodriguez, a native of the Dominican Republic, improved his record to 27-6-3.
Though Tahdooahnippah was undefeated heading into Friday's bout, Rodriguez was favoured to come out on top as he had battled more experienced pugilists in his past.
During his career, Rodriguez, who is 32, has twice fought for world championships. But he lost both of those bouts.
For Comanche Boy, who lives in Lawton, Oklahoma, the Rodriguez bout signified the biggest of his career.
Despite the loss he is hoping to rebound and to move up the ranks, hopefully to the point where he can challenge for a world belt within the next few years.
Though Rodriguez dominated Friday's bout from the onset, Tahdooahnippah believes he would be able to claim a victory if the two fighters ever squared off again.
Comanche Boy blamed a slow start for his performance.
"I went in there in the first round and I thought I had time to feel him out and see what his style would be," he said. "But he came out fast and I came out slow."
With each passing round Tahdooahnippah felt that Rodriguez would tire out, giving him a chance to provide an upset. But that never materialized.
"I couldn't disrupt his rhythm," Comanche Boy said. "I just felt flat. I started off slow and it just wasn't a good night for me. I should have jumped on him from the get-go."
Though he might eventually watch a tape of the fight, Tahdooahnippah already knows he's not going to like the way he performed.
"I was fighting to survive," he said. "I wasn't fighting to win."
Tahdooahnippah was impressed though with the support he received at the bout. About 100 of his supporters made the trek from his home state to Connecticut to watch the bout in person.
Comanche Boy felt simply being in the main bout of ESPN's Friday Night Fights broadcast was a victory in itself.
"That night was great for our people," he said. "I had a lot of support from Indians from all nations."
It also marked the first time in Tahdooahnippah's career that he was in the main event on the ESPN broadcast. He had been included on three previous broadcasts, all as an undercard performer, in four-round bouts.
Despite his setback in the ring last Friday, Tahdooahnippah is looking forward to future matches.
"I just have to go back to the drawing table and correct the things I did wrong," he said. "Ultimately though it was a learning experience for me."
Following a brief break, Comanche Boy is expected to return to the ring to start training for his next battle. Though nothing has been signed, he expects his next bout to be this summer.
"I don't know where it will be," he said. "But it doesn't matter."
What is known though is that his one career loss has not dampened his spirits.
"The best things are still to come," he said.
George Tahdooahnippah knew it was coming.
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