February 13, 2011

Comanche Boy vs. Longacre

An upcoming boxing match, of all things, offers some pointers about Native stereotyping and identity.

Comanche Boy to Longacre:  “You wanted it. Now you’re gonna get it.”

By Coyote Duran“Let’s face it. White people can’t box. Black people box better. Puerto Ricans...even better. It seems the lower you go on the social ladder, the better the boxer. If there’s a Puerto Rican who is a good boxer, there’s a Native American waiting to kick his ass.”

--Chris Rock

Sure, it’s a funny quote but one has to wonder if this is why George Tahdooahnippah, 26-0-1 (20), is still waiting for his shot at a substantial opponent in the middleweight division. Instead, the Native American fighter known as “Comanche Boy” is stuck facing kickboxer Thomas Longacre, who’s making his professional boxing debut, on February 25, at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Although Tahdooahnippah is trying to make the best of the situation, it almost seems like he’s taking a detour off the highway he so desperately wants to bury the pedal on. Primarily, that frustration comes from a common perception of fighters in the Heartland, perhaps specifically, fighters he’s had to face thus far.
And:Although the potential storyline was riveting, “Comanche Boy” wasn’t amused. The conflict almost seemed like the script from a “Rocky” sequel.

“This Thomas Longacre, he came out of nowhere. I was doing a radio interview and someone was like, ‘Aw, this is the fight everybody wants to see. ‘Another Native American fighter!’ and I thought it was gonna be this other guy and then they said, ‘And that’s the fight between you and Thomas ‘Thunderkick’ Longacre!’” said Tahdooahnippah. “I was like, ‘Who?!’ (laughs) I said, ‘No disrespect but I never heard of him!’ They said, ‘You never heard of Thomas Longacre?!’ I said, ‘Naw, never!’ They said, ‘Thunderkick’, you never…?’ I said, ‘No! Is he a boxer?’ They said, ‘No, he’s a world champion kickboxer.’ (Imitating a disbelieving sputter) Pffth, there you go, right there! I’m a boxer! So I asked, ‘What tribe is he?’ And then, ‘Oh, I don’t…I don’t know…’ They didn’t even know what tribe he was. So I just blew it off and then, a little bit later, a YouTube video came out, an interview and [Longacre] was talking about how he could beat me and blah, blah, blah. You know, I just blew it off. It was nothing because he does nothing for my boxing career. He’s 0-0 as a professional boxer but he was clowning all the people I’ve fought. So what’s his record? He ain’t even a pro boxer! So, I’m gonna fight February 25th and I’m gonna fight a guy that’s gonna be a pro debuter and I’m gonna beat him and then it’s gonna look on my record 26-0 at the time, fight a guy who’s 0-0.”

It came off like a bad joke. Although Longacre claims to be half-Creek and Yuchi, adding a tribe vs. tribe subtext to the fight, it’s still a mixed-martial artist-type (who thinks all because he’s great at one combat sport, he’s just as great at another) with a chip on his shoulder vs. the boxer who can’t believe his eyes and ears that he’s having to squander a slot in his career for him.
And:As impatient as Tahdooahnippah is with the situation and having to prepare for a fighter he can only study from kickboxing and MMA tape, he’s even more short with the fact that Longacre comes off as a true (ethnically) self-loathing, cracked-mirror, black hat in this fight, somewhat the comic-book villain study. With Tahdooahnippah serving as the Native American Captain Marvel figure, Longacre is definitely Black Adam. Apparently, Longacre’s promoter is Dr. Sivana and his camp and fans are the Monster Society.

“Yeah, that’s what he says,” said Tahdooahnippah, as if fatigued with the thought, when asked how he felt about Longacre’s claims of indigenous pride. “I’m a Native American fighter. The way I live my life, I wake up; I’m a Native American man first. You know, because there are not very many of us, I’ve gotta display the best Native American warrior that anyone’s ever gonna see. But I think that [Longacre] is a fighter that is part Native American and that’s the difference between us. I’ve got native pride and he doesn’t. It was all over our Facebook pages and his promoter, Dale Cook, he’s got his friends calling me…’Oh, they’re just a bunch of ‘injuns.’ All his fans are just a bunch of ‘injuns’ getting drunk off of firewater. That’s why the paleface took their land.’ And I said, ‘What kinda Indian is gonna let his friends talk about his race like that?’ So that right there lets you know how much pride he has for his race. I’m not saying he’s this much or that much. It just lets me know his pride.”
Comment:  Interesting how the writer compared the two fighters to comic-book characters. It's sort of an acknowledgment that a real-life boxer "warrior" and a fictional superhero "warrior" aren't that far apart.

For more on Comanche Boy, see "Comanche Boy" Webisodes and Comanche Boxer Does War Dance.


Rob said...

Who won?


Comanche Boy Defeats Thunderkick by Unanimous Decision

Comanche Boy is still undefeated.

George (Comanche Boy) Tahdooahnippah came out on top in a battle of Native boxers in a somewhat unique bout staged in Oklahoma. Tahdooahnippah earned a unanimous decision over Thomas (Thunderkick) Longacre in a six-round middleweight fight held this past Friday at The Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Tulsa, OK.

Coyote Duran said...

Hey, Rob! Thank you for the excerpt repost and analysis, brother! I'm really diggin' the Blue Corn site too! Have an excellent day!

Coyote Duran