The Gunn’s Blog: Remembering What Boxing Used To Be
By Bobby Gunn
In the early to mid-90s I have had the honor of being around some of the best middleweights in the world—Julian Jackson, Mike McCallum, Iran Barkley and Michael Nunn—to name a few. I have had the honor of being a sparring partner with each one of these superb champions.
Julian Jackson was pound for pound the hardest punching fighter I have ever shared the ring with. One time he hit me so hard with an overhand right that my brain felt like I just finished drinking a Slurpee from 7-11. He had a right hand from hell.
Michael Nunn was so slick of a southpaw fighter; he was so hard to hit, and his ring generalship was fantastic.
Iran Barkley was just plain tough. There was nothing special about him, but pure toughness, and he had a very awkward style that made him effective.
Mike McCallum, the body snatcher. This guy was the best technical fighter I have ever laid my eyes on. He could do it all; there’s a reason why they called him the body snatcher. I was 18-years-old and I was sparring with him at Top Rank in Vegas. One night after sparring with him earlier in the day, I literally pissed blood. He was no joke.
What these guys had is what the sport is missing today. They were class acts inside and outside of the ring. They weren’t prima donna’s like the majority of the fighters today; not worried about the internet or what people were saying about them. They were true champions; it didn’t matter what belt they had because everybody knew they were champions.
It isn’t the belt that makes the fighter; it’s the fighter that makes the belt.
And these guys fought; they weren’t protected like today’s fighters are. They didn’t overprice themselves; they took what was offered to them, and they fought their asses off in return.
The middleweights of the 90s would walk through the middleweights of today. Just in general, boxing has changed so much from what it used to be. Years ago you used to wait until you got Ring Magazine, because that was the only true source of boxing news. Today there are too many writers on tons of watered down websites and blogs.
Years ago in boxing, win or lose, people respected each other in the fight game; nowadays there is little or no respect for one another. It’s a shame. You see these cheap watered down writers on countless websites, passing around their opinions about fighters, when in all reality they don’t know the difference between a fish hook and a left hook.
90% of the writers nowadays have never had their nose busted or a shot in the liver, where you feel that your legs are paralyzed. If they did or even if they had the brains to know the difference, they wouldn’t be so quick to pass judgment against fighters like they do.
This is why MMA is passing boxing, because in that sport they have respect for one another.
The corruption has brought the sport down. I can remember years ago when Meld rick Taylor was stopped with only seconds left in the 12th round in his first fight with Julia Caesar Chavez. That was a shocking controversial stoppage. Now compare that to today’s stoppages; it’s like looking at a G-rated movie next to an R-rated movie.
Nothing is shocking anymore in boxing today. World renowned judges on any given night forget to take their prescription glasses with them when they judge the fight. Top referees on any given night forget how to referee a fight.
The state of boxing is disgusting and I really wish it was back to the way it was in the 90s, because that was the last era of real boxing.
Today everybody is a champion, and everyone has a belt. Prima donna fighters are more worried about getting their trunks stained with blood than actually winning a fight. For the younger generation that doesn’t remember the fighters that I mentioned above, go to YouTube and look them up. Their fights will explain everything about how boxing used to be, and you will clearly see the difference between the fighters of then and now.
That’s why you respect fighters like Bernard Hopkins; because he is the last of the Mohicans. He is a great one.
Then again, this is just my point of view, but I can say this in closing—fighters fight; they don’t talk about it.
(Bobby “The Celtic Warrior” Gunn is the Bareknuckle Heavyweight champion of the world and has been a professional boxer since 1989. His ring record is 21-4-1 (18 KO’s). He will box James Toney for the vacant IBA Heavyweight title on April 7 at the Landers Center in Southaven, Mississippi. This is Bobby Gunn’s debut blog for BoxingInsider.com)