Though the biggest fight of his boxing career is still a week and a half away, George (Comanche Boy) Tahdooahnippah believes he's in a win-win situation.
Tahdooahnippah, an undefeated (31-0-1) middleweight boxer who has Comanche and Choctaw ancestry, is scheduled to fight the favored and more experienced Delvin Rodriguez on Feb. 15.
The 10-round bout, which will be the main event on ESPN's Friday Night Fights, will be staged at the Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, Connecticut.
"For me being the underdog I don't have any pressure," Comanche Boy said. "Of course you want to win and to look good. But to me, win, lose or draw it's a victory for Indian people because we're going to be on TV."
Though Comanche Boy has a better pro record than Rodriguez, who is 26-6-3, he will enter the bout as the underdog.
"I know he's a proven fighter," Tahdooahnippah said of his upcoming opponent. "He's been in all the big fights and he's fought for world titles."
Rodriguez, a native of the Dominican Republic, battled American Austin Trout for the World Boxing Association's light middleweight title last June in California. Trout won the 12-round bout via unanimous decision.
For Rodriguez, who is 32 and now lives in Danbury, Connecticut, that was his one and only fight in 2012.
Rodriguez's other shot at a world title had come in 2009. He lost the International Boxing Federation's world welterweight bout to South African Isaac Hlatshwayo.
Rodriguez's popularity in the boxing community soared after an epic battle against Poland's Pawel Wolak, in a bout televised on ESPN Friday Night Fights in July of 2011. The two combatants slugged it out for 10 rounds in the bout, which ended in a draw.
Afterwards, that matchup was selected as the Fight of the Yeaxr by sportsillustrated.com.
Five months after that spirited affair Rodriguez and Wolak had a rematch at New York's Madison Square Garden. Rodriguez registered a victory via unanimous decision in that 12-round bout.
As for Comanche Boy, who is 34, the majority of his pro fights have been in his home state of Oklahoma.
In a sense he's glad to have the opportunity to duke it out in a big-ticket fight in another state.
"To me it's been a lot of pressure fighting at home," he said. "People are always expecting me to win and to win by knockout."
Comanche Boy has recorded 23 of his victories by knockout.
For Tahdooahnippah, his bout against Rodriguez will mark his second fight since signing with Star Boxing, a popular New York-based boxing promotions company, last June.
His first match with Star Boxing was this past September. In that bout Tahdooahnippah captured the North American Boxing Association middleweight crown by defeating Gundrick (Sho Gun) King.
Comanche Boy was declared the winner via a technical knockout in the third round of that event, which was held in his hometown, at the Comanche Nation Casino in Lawton, Oklahoma.
During his career Tahdooahnippah has been on ESPN Friday Night Fights three times. But he has yet to be in the main event.
Rodriguez has appeared on the broadcast 11 times during his career.
"I'm the person taking a big step up," Tahdooahnippah said. "But I'm ready for it."
Though he refused to disclose how much he'll receive for the bout, Comanche Boy said his upcoming fight will provide him with his biggest paycheck to date.
And he's expecting to have a loud cheering section on hand. He anticipates about 100 family members, friends and supporters to make the trip to Connecticut.
Tahdooahnippah has never met Rodriguez. Though he has watched some of his fights, Comanche Boy said he's not putting much stock into those clips.
"Every fight is different," he said. "I try not to rely too much on them."
Plus, he just plans on focusing on doing what he knows he can.
"I've been boxing pro since 2004," he said. "I just have to turn up the intensity and do what I do."
Tahdooahnippah is also confident he has what it takes to defeat Rodriguez.
"I know he's good and he's a proven fighter," he said. "But I think he's very beatable."