Steve Bunce on Boxing: Explosive Bobby Gunn ready to step out of the murky shadows and fight Roy Jones
Thursday 07 November 2013
The last time that Bobby Gunn retained his Bare-Knuckle Boxing title he was wearing jeans and easily handling Ernest "Mine's a Nine" Jackson inside a warehouse, watched by a tiny crowd of extras from Breaking Bad.
The fight ended with somebody screaming "police" and the desolate venue emptying with a professional rapidity acquired through a life of breaking laws, making meth and running scared. Jackson had arrived at the secret location in Philadelphia with a fearsome reputation as a former bodyguard of Jay Z and at 7ft 1in he was expected to be a handful; Gunn is a patient broker of bare-knuckle boxing and waited for Jackson's awful collapse.
"Bare-knuckle boxing is about not wasting punches, it's about accuracy," insists Gunn, who had his first bare-knuckle fight when he was 13 and claims to be unbeaten in more than 70 fights. "If you miss the jaw and hit the mouth your opponent's teeth can split your hands open."
The Jackson win was Gunn's first defence of the BKB title he won in August 2011 in a fight with Richard Stewart that attracted sales of nearly 900,000 on pay-per-view in America at a tenner a pop. The win over Stewart, which took place on a reservation in Arizona and was governed by Yavapai Nation laws, was the first sanctioned bare-knuckle fight for the world heavyweight title since John L Sullivan took 75 rounds, which was two hours and sixteen minutes, to stop Jake Kilrain in 1889.
There was a bit of momentum, but the Jackson mauling a few months later was not an attraction and Gunn returned to wearing gloves as a conventional boxer in April 2012.
In the kind of twist that makes covering boxing so easy, Gunn went and broke his hand in the fight and withdrew after four rounds against veteran and multi-weight world champion James Toney in a fight for an obscure belt; Toney, 45, has now fought 88 times in one of modern boxing's most amazing careers and will fight next week in London.
Gunn will return to boxing in December when he meets Roy Jones, a fighter often placed in the top 10 of all time, for the WBU's cruiserweight title in Philadelphia on 4 December. The WBU, by the way, started life above a florist in Bethnal Green just over 20 years ago when Jon Robinson decided he would start his own sanctioning body.
Jones, who beat Toney in 1994 in a massive fight, has been boxing too long and admits that he is only fighting Gunn because he needs a warm-up before stepping across the forbidden line and having some type of scrap with the UFC's Anderson Silva next year. The line has already been crossed once by Toney, who ventured into the Octagon, as the UFC's fighting pit is called, and was easily manhandled by genuine UFC legend Randy Couture, who looks as good as he sounds. Toney set the tone by arriving at the final press conference with a Couture action figure wearing a Barbie dress, but in the Octagon he was swept off his feet inside 30 seconds, never landed a punch and submitted to a choke hold after 3:19 of the opening round. It was not very nice to watch.
Meanwhile, a long, long way from the eccentricities achieved and planned by Gunn, Jones and Toney, a young heavyweight called Magomed Abdusalamov remains in an induced coma after losing his unbeaten record when he lost to Mike Perez inside Madison Square Garden's basement on Saturday night in New York. Perez is a Cuban defector who is based in Cork, is now unbeaten in 20 fights and looks like a man from a different planet to Gunn, Toney and Jones.
Latest in Sport
Tour de France 2015: Five riders abandon race after huge crash on Stage 3
World's highest paid athletes: Floyd Mayweather way ahead as three Brits make top 20
Cristiano Ronaldo storms out of interview after being asked about possible sale of Manchester United target Sergio Ramos
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Kyrgios set for heavy fine for giving up game during loss to Richard Gasquet
Nick Kyrgios supporters who smeared Vegemite on their face questioned by Serena Williams
- 1 Autistic teenager beaten up by bullies makes them watch 20-minute video about autism
- 2 Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
- 3 Isis flag: What do the words mean and what are its origins?
- 4 Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
- 5 Chris Moyles reportedly set to make radio comeback with new breakfast show on XFM
More Britons believe that multiculturalism makes the country worse - not better, says poll
Osborne to cap family benefits at £23,000 – announced ahead of his post-election Budget
Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
Forget little green men – aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert
Girl, 7, stares down hate preacher at Ohio festival with pro-LGBT rainbow flag gesture
Sickness and disability benefits could be reduced by £30 a week as part of £12bn welfare cuts
£16000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are looking for individual...
£25000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Project Coordinator is requir...
£40000 - £95000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
£20000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Trainee Vehicle Inspectors / Pu...