Bobby Celtic Warrior Gunn Interview: Bring On Roy Jones Jr.
By Robert Brizel, Head Real Combat Media Boxing Correspondent
He turned pro with a four round decision win over Richard Palma at the Holiday Inn Holidome in Tucson, Arizona in April 1989. In a Real Combat Media international exclusive, Bobby ‘The Celtic Warrior’ Gunn, 43, 21-6-1 with 18 knockouts, Hackensack, New Jersey, talked ab out his reasons for accepting the lifelong dream of a challenge bout against Roy Jones Jr., 64-9 with 46 knockouts, Pensacola, Florida, for the vacant World Boxing Foundation World Cruiserweight title at the Chase Center in Wilmington, Delaware, on February 17, 2016.
Bobby Gunn was a Canadian amateur boxing champion, the IBA World Cruiserweight champion, and is the current Bareknuckles world heavy weight champion.
Robert Brizel: “Bobby, wishes with your Roy Jones Jr. bout coming up. It’s a bout you can win. The victory will go to the fighter who works harder and wants it more.”
Bobby Gunn: “Thank you, my friend. It (my bout with Roy Jones Jr.) has been ten years in the making. We were originally supposed to fight in 2006. The fight fell through. Then in 2023, my fight with Jones fell through again. Now, I hope the third time is the charm. You are right, my friend, I am working (training) my ass off. Beyond measures (of training and preparation), I believe that this is God’s time. It has taken a long time to happen, but hopefully things (will) work out good (for me in my bout with Jones).”
Robert Brizel: “Bobby, there’s a line from an old James Bond 007 movie which goes ‘Never Say Never’. Why Roy Jones Jr. at age 43? Why do you want to fight him now?”
Bobby Gunn: “I will be 43 years old on Christmas Day 2016. I feel better than ever. Roy Jones Jr. is 48 years old. I believe it’s not about me anymore. It’s about how badly I want it. I won the vacant bare knuckles World Heavyweight championship. God rest his soul, the late Bert Sugar called me on the phone and told me you are the world bare knuckle champion.
I am the first bare knuckle champion since John L. Sullivan to be a part of that rich history. I was also inducted into the Bare Knuckle Boxing Hall of Fame as only the third bare knuckles world champion since Jake Kilrain and John L. Sullivan. AI have had a great boxing career! I have shared the ring with world champions. I have held many cruiserweight titles, but my upcoming bout with Roy Jones Jr. does something for me. Jones rejuvenates me. He puts my boxing on another level. To have that great honor to share the ring with an all-time great like Roy Jones Jr. will go down in boxing history.
You have to understand something. I am a proper gypsy man. My people come from Scotland and Ireland. We are tougher than coffin nails. I am not your ordinary man. I go into this fight with the highest respect for Roy Jones Jr. I love him and respect him, but I promise you as sure as that sun rise tomorrow, Roy Jones Jr. will never forget the name of Bobby Gunn.”
Robert Brizel: “Your recent opponents included Tomas Adamek, Glen Johnson, James Toney, and now Roy Jones Jr. Why did you choose to fight such difficult big name opponents this late in your career, when you could have fought easier opposition?”
Bobby Gunn: “Because fighting the best is what it’s all about. Fighting the great names is your legacy. That’s what it’s all about. When I was a boy growing up reading Ring Magazine. Listening to my grandfather. Listening to my father. I will got here, and make my mark on boxing history. I have been connected to many of the all-time great fighters, but remember something. I am also an active bare knuckles fighter. Just because on paper, people think I am inactive as pro boxer. Bare knuckle boxing is the same as pro boxing, but without the gloves. I take care of myself. I do not drink, I do not smoke, and I do not party.
I am married 23 years to my beautiful wife Rose. I have two children. My little girl Charlene is 8 years old, and my son Bobby Junior is 20 years old. He is a middleweight Prospect, undefeated in eight professional fights with six knockouts. I am watching my son, and I am guiding him the right way. I’m going to give him the things I never had, and I’m going to protect him and keep him away from the things which happened to me in the fight game.
The fight game is a dirty game but it is in my heart. I was born into boxing. I t is the only business in the world you love-but it hates you back. Believe me there’s a lot of bad stories about the fight game, and you can believe all those bad stories and add on to them more bad stories. That’s how bad some of the things are behind the scenes. I’m very grateful at this stage of my career. I feel great. I have great people behind me, and I am doing my own thing. No man can hire me, and no man can fire me. I am my own man, and I call the shots. I’m very thankful to be here.”
Robert Brizel: “Bobby, both you and David Estrada are experienced combination gloved and bare knuckles boxers. Do you think your mastery of both sciences gives you an advantage in evaluating your opponents?”
Bobby Gunn: “The truth is, my friend, bare knuckle boxing is almost exactly the same as professional boxing, but it is a different sport I have seen every opponent throughout my life that you can imagine I can look at somebody, I know exactly how much they have prepared. I can tell if somebody can fight just about 30 seconds into the fight. I can read their body language. I know what punches they are going to throw before they throw them. It is because I am a master at my game as the old professor. Professional boxing is basically the same as bare knuckle boxing. Very soon, the sport of bare-knuckle boxing is going to explode. I have got to state that, though I cannot reveal at this time. I have agreed to host legitimate sanctioned bare knuckle boxing in the future.”
Robert Brizel: “Bobby, in recent days, young boxing contenders such as Ed Brown in Chicago, and Alejandro Gonzalez Jr. in Guadalajara have been murdered, apparently without reason. Do you think today’s young boxing prospects come from backgrounds which are too difficult to overcome at times?”
Bobby Gunn: “It’s not about where they come from or their backgrounds anymore. It’s the mindset with people today. People have no regards for human life. There is no honor or loyalty anymore. The world is upside down. There are great young fighters coming up, and unfortunately many of them will never reach the level where they should be because of the difficult times in the world today. I believe today it is too convenient and way too easy for people to get in trouble. Unfortunately, it is a tragedy to hear of these young men dying and getting killed. People today are not like they used to be. At one time, a man had respect for another man. That does not exist anymore. A true proper man is like an extinct species. They are a dying breed.”
Robert Brizel: “Bobby, Roy Jones Jr. has gone the distance in world title bouts 14 times, while you never have. DO this give Roy an advantage when you fight him? Why or why not?”
Bobby Gunn: “Well, 12 rounds is only three minute rounds. Bare-knuckle fights can go over one hour with no rounds. That’s not the case in pro boxing. I have been to the belly of the Beast. I have seen things very few people have seen. I have been in situations where I thought I was never going to walk out of that place, where I had fights at the end of the day. I have seen it all. It is a pleasure for me to fight Roy Jones Jr. It is like going to the beautiful Hilton Hotel and relaxing-compared with some of the environments of fights I’ve had in the past. The Jones fight is a blessing. I just pray everything goes good, and I pray Roy Jones Jr. Shows up and he doesn’t make any excuses or pulls out with an injury. The world is on his shoulders, and a lot of pressure is on his back. I will be there, even if I have to drag myself I will be there on February 17, 2017. There is no man born of a mother I will not fight. If the money is there, I am there. My legacy is not on Facebook or Twitter or YouTube. My Legacy will go in the record books as the man with the name who came to fight, and gave his all. I have been involved in many controversial crazy fights. I have seen everything you can possibly imagine, from boxing’s end to bare knuckle boxing. Seeing it all and being there through it all it has molded me, and made me the man I am today in today. I am a good man a good man to fight.”
Robert Brizel: Bobby, you took off 11 years between 1993 and 2004. What happened?”
Bobby Gunn: “During that time, I was fighting for eleven years in the underground bare knuckle boxing fighting circuit. Let’s be honest, nobody could come back to professional boxing from that kind of activity, make it come back ,and fight the top fighters in the world and fight for World Championships if he wasn’t doing something right. You see, my friend, I have always been fighting. I never left fighting if I was fighting above the ground in huge arenas, and huge championship fights. I was also fighting under the ground behind closed doors in underground bare-knuckle boxing for eleven years. I was the bare-knuckles heavyweight champion of the world in the underground circuit .I have seen it all.”
Robert Brizel: “Your son Bobby Gunn Jr. is a rising 8-0 middleweight prospect. Are you or Roger Bloodsworth working with him right now? Do you think your son will reach the heights you did as a professional? What is Bobby Jr.’s potential?”
Bobby Gunn: “Right now I am working, training my son Bobby Gunn Jr. I believe my son will be a better fighter than I could ever possibly be. He is a boxer-puncher. He is the total package. He is a good boy, and I guarantee if he pursues his dreams, and listens to me in the right way, he will be a world champion. Mark my words.”
Robert Brizel: “Was Tomasz Adamek your toughest opponent? If you beat Jones, will you fight again? Does the WBF World Title have some meaning to you?”
Bobby Gunn: “Tomasz Adamek was my best fight, because it was for the Ring Magazine World Championship. Very few fighters get the opportunity to fight for that title. It is the Holy grail title of professional boxing, as it stands above all titles. Very few fighters have the opportunity to fight for the Ring Magazine title. It was the highlight of my career, and I put up a great fight. The truth is I don’t want to make any excuses. Tomasz Adamek is my friend, he is a class act, I love him and I wish him and his family the best. Everybody I fought throughout my career I have become very good friends with.”
Reader’s Note: Bobby Gunn made some additional comments questioning the stoppage of the Adamek fight, so bout footage was reviewed. Referee Earl Brown made a good call when he stopped the bout in the fourth round with Gunn taking too much punishment.
Robert Brizel: You wanted to fight Roy several times over the years, and the Jones bout kept falling through. How does it feel to finally get your chance to fight him after all this time?”
Bobby Gunn: “Like I said, it is the ultimate challenge in my life to fight a man who could possibly be the greatest top five fighter who ever lived. It is like fighting Sugar Ray Robinson. In my era, there’s no way, shape or form anybody would tell you any different. Boxers would cut their hand off to get the opportunity to fight Roy Jones Jr. And don’t underestimate Roy Jones Jr. You can’t go by any setbacks he recently had. Look at ‘The Old Mongoose’ Archie Moore. The Mongoose when an old Champion. Great fighters shows up it depends what Champion shows up. That night, a lot of their great fights are on their mind. I believe the Roy Jones Jr who will show up to fight me on February 17 will be a great Roy Jones Jr. That is what I am preparing for. I am preparing for a war!”
Robert Brizel: “Tell me about your nickname. How did you come about to be called ‘The Celtic Warrior?”
Bobby Gunn: “To be honest with you/ it was given to me over ten years ago because I am of Scottish and Irish descent. That is the reason why I fight like a true Celtic Warrior!”
Robert Brizel: “How do you feel about fighting Roy Jones Jr. in Delaware? The state is kind of rare when it comes to hosting boxing events.”
Bobby Gunn: “I think it is a great thing for the state of Delaware. I think Delaware is a beautiful state, and I believe it has great potential to start hosting good professional boxing.”
Robert Brizel: “Would you take a bigger fight at cruiserweight if you beat Jones? That is the question.”
Bobby Gunn: “If I beat Roy Jones Jr., or if I lose, it will be my last professional boxing fight. So, you can understand I am coming, and I am not leaving any regrets behind. This is my time. God’s timing is the most important thing in life, and I believe this is my time. I’m going to have a chance to show the world a great night of boxing, a great fight. Afterwards Roy Jones Jr. and I can go out in the street, and we can have a bare-knuckle fight if he wants to, or we can hug each other and be friends. It doesn’t matter, win, lose, or draw in the ring, or on the parking lot. I fight, and bring it because I am a proper man’s man.”
Robert Brizel: “Bobby, best wishes on February 17 against Roy Jones Jr. I presume you are training hard, and will be ready to fight a 12 round war with Jones come that day. Thanks again Bobby, and best wishes for success in your bout with Roy Jones Jr. from Real Combat Media.”
Bobby Gunn: “I would like to say this for the record. I am not interested in fighting anybody after Roy Jones Jr., but if I ever had the opportunity to fight anybody else, Bernard Hopkins and Antonio Tarver are on my list. I would take a fight with either of them in a heartbeat. I believe it would be great for boxing. Styles make fights. At the end of the day, we are all on the senior tour, and it’s a good way to put lights on for the fans. The truth is a lot of these young bucks don’t even want to fight anymore. That is why we are still fighting. God bless you, Robert, you are a total class act, a true historian, reporter, and writer for the game. People like you in the game are top-class there’s very few like yourself. Robert God bless.”
Bobby Gunn: “Yes. My son, Bobby Gunn Jr., will be in the corner. He will not be on the card fighting because my nerves are too bad. I would not be able to handle the stress of both of us fighting on the same card, but he will be in my corner one hundred percent of the way!”
Robert Brizel: “You seem intrigued by the possibility of fighting Bernard Hopkins, if B-Hop defeats Joe Smith Jr. at light heavyweight, and you defeat Roy Jones Jr. at cruiserweight. Both bouts will be held on February 17, 2017.”
Bobby Gunn: “I think Bernard would come up and fight me at Cruiserweight. It would be a great fight because he never won a Cruiserweight title, or had a shot at a Cruiserweight title. I believe a bout with me and Hopkins could happen if I beat Roy Jones Jr. and Bernard wins that same night. In my heart of hearts, even though he says this is his last fight I believe there could be something there. Bernard Hopkins is a great fighter and I respect him. Right now, though, the man in front of me and my eyes is Roy Jones Jr. Both men are all-time legends.”