- "You don't own me! You don't own me! Nobody does! I want my respect."
- ―Tommy Gunn to Rocky Balboa
Tommy "The Machine" Gunn (born May 13th, 1966) also nicknamed the Clone Ranger by the press is an American former professional boxer who competed in the Heavyweight division during the 1990s. He reigned as the undisputed heavyweight champion and was one of the deuteragonists-turned-secondary antagonists in Rocky V.
Gunn left his hometown in Oklahoma, moving to Philadelphia in Rocky V with only a few hundred dollars to his name. He sought out Rocky Balboa when arriving in Philadelphia, hoping that Rocky would train him. At first, Balboa was reluctant due to the feeling that managing wasn’t for him, but after seeing Gunn’s persistence and skills, he decided to give him a shot. Balboa trained Gunn to 14 consecutive victories in the heavyweight division. During this time, the media began calling Gunn the ‘’Clone Ranger’’ and ‘’Rocky’s Robot’’ due to the similar styles. Gunn eventually left Balboa and signed a contract with George Washington Duke; Duke offered Gunn a title fight and more money. Gunn would go on to defeat Union Cane, capturing the Heavyweight Championship. Despite the victory, the press still labelled Gunn as Balboa’s clone and called him a paper champion. Gunn infuriated by this went to the local bar Balboa was at and challenged him to a fight, Balboa turned down the offer until Gunn punched Paulie. Balboa challenged Gunn to a fight in the street, Gunn accepted and brawled with Balboa. It all ended when Balboa knocked Gunn out, the police then picked Gunn up and arrested him.
Tommy Gunn grew up in the streets of Oklahoma; he mentions that his family didn’t have much, indicating that he was forced to fend for himself, also mentioning that his father was a violent alcoholic that regularly beat him and his mother up. He attributes a lot of his fury in the ring to his father, stating that the first man he knocked out was his father and that every time he steps in the ring, it’s his father that he sees. Gunn held an amateur record of 45-1. He officially turned pro in 1984, at the age of 18, and generated a record of 8-0 (8 KOs) before he met Balboa. In 1986, Gunn packed up all his belongings and left any family he had left, heading to Philadelphia and seeking out Rocky Balboa, hoping that Balboa would manage and train him.
Tracking down Rocky Balboa
In 1986 Tommy Gunn, a young fighter from Oklahoma, arrived in Philadelphia to seek out a down-and-out Rocky Balboa, hoping for a chance to be taught boxing greatness from the man himself. Gunn approaches Balboa on the street, introducing himself, and telling him that he is a fighter with a 45-1 amateur record and an 8-0 pro record. He tells Balboa that he is a big fan and was wondering if Balboa would train him, mentioning that he has about $400 and would pay Balboa to work with him. Before Balboa has a chance to respond, boxing promoter, George Washington Duke interrupts and pulls Balboa away from Gunn to speak business. Gunn waits around until Duke leaves, but Balboa isn't interested in talking, telling Gunn to come back another time.
Gunn showed up at Mighty Mick's Gym the following day and did some sparring with another member of the gym. He opted not to wear headgear and got popped with a few jabs at first, bloodying his nose, but Gunn quickly shook it off and unloaded on his opponent with deadly hooks, causing Balboa to scream at Gunn to take it down a notch, but Gunn continued to throw huge shots until his opponent almost got knocked down. Gunn quickly apologised to his opponent, but then asked Balboa what he thought, and Balboa told him that he doesn't listen to well and that he is more of a street fighter, reminding Gunn that this is boxing, not street fighting. Gunn continues to pester Balboa and asks him to manage him; Balboa agrees that Gunn has a lot of potential and skill, but tells Gunn that he isn't a manager, wishing Gunn good luck. Despite a poor first impression in Mighty Mick's Gym, Gunn decides to come back later that night and wait outside the gym for Balboa. He approaches Balboa and again asks him to manage him, telling Balboa that all he wants is an opportunity, a shot. Balboa still seems hesitant, telling Gunn to head home to his family, but Gunn tells him that he has no family left and that everything he has is right here, he tells Balboa that he is hungry and just wants a chance. Balboa invites Gunn into his home for dinner in which he learns that Gunn comes from an abusive alcoholic father that beat him and his mother up, Gunn mentions that the first man he ever knocked out was his father and that everytime he fights, he sees his father. Balboa then invites Gunn to stay if he has nowhere else to go, offering up the basement for him to sleep in, Gunn accepts and moves in.
Training under Rocky BalboaThanks to Rocky's managing, Tommy's great talent was sharpened, and Tommy won 14 consecutive fights with great success; the first eight on his own, and between 1986 to early 1990, won the others with the help of Rocky, generating a record of 22-0 in the Heavyweight division. However, as he climbed the ladder of success, he took notice that he was almost always praised indirectly through Rocky, such as sports magazine covers referring to him as "Rocky's Gunn." or other media outlets calling him "Rocky's Robot" He was aware that he was living in his shadow, and felt he was gaining no fame of his own, increasingly becoming frustrated. Along with these frustrations, Gunn believed that he should have had a shot at the Heavyweight title by now and was fed up with waiting around. Less-than-reputable promoter George Washington Duke approached Tommy eventually, promising him the fame and riches he couldn't get from being with Rocky, and having noticed that no formal papers were signed between the pair, Duke signed Tommy in for himself. Gunn along with Duke visited Balboa on Christmas, Gunn told Balboa that he was signing papers with Duke in the morning and that if Balboa wishes to continue training him, he can, and if he doesn't, that's it then. Gunn mentions that Duke is giving him things that Balboa can't, like a title shot. The next morning Gunn signed papers with Duke and officially parted ways with Balboa.
Signing with Duke and Heavyweight Championship victory
After a somewhat short and non-spectacular battle between he and Union Cane, Tommy won with ease, knocking Cane out, and becoming champion, but the crowd rejected him, praising Rocky instead, as Tommy didn't thank Balboa in the post-fight interview and did not fight with the heart and passion that Rocky did, and as the media later criticized him for, he seemingly won the belt with no difficulty or struggle. In that same post-fight press conference, the press claimed that Cane was just a paper champion because his title reign was manufactured and he never had to defeat Balboa to claim the title. The press teased Gunn and asked him when he would fight a real fighter, causing Gunn to storm out of the room. Gunn expressed his anger to Duke over everyone's crude reaction towards his victory, and the latter told him that to get the respect he wants so much, he had to drag Rocky into the ring through any means and beat him. Duke kept insisting that Balboa had to be humiliated and insulted, and goaded into fighting.
Street fight with Rocky Balboa and arrest
Later that night, Duke and Tommy, along with a small camera crew, went after Rocky in the city, heading to a local bar that Balboa hangs out at and challenging him to fight with Tommy. Duke's scheme went completely wrong when Tommy, in a fit of anger, punched down Rocky's brother-in-law, Paulie Pennino, who began criticising him for treating Rocky so bad and even betraying him, as he was the one who brought him to victory. Rocky's reaction to this act was to challenge Tommy to try knocking him down now, adding that "his ring's outside.", much to Duke's dismay as he wanted both of them to fight in the official boxing ring. A heated street fight triggered between the two former friends. Rocky used his street fight skills to beat Tommy. Duke told him during the fight with Rocky "If you lose, you're finished.". Despite being the Heavyweight Champion, the shame of being involved in a street fight with his former trainer would have had a negative impact on his career, and after the fight, Duke dumped Gunn who was picked up by the police. It's unknown what Gunn's fate was following his arrest. It is assumed that he was stripped of his Heavyweight Championship as he instigated an unlawful fight in the street.
Events After Rocky V
Tommy Gunn would be stripped of his Heavyweight Championship and retire from the sport of boxing, becoming a second-rate professional wrestler. Gunn barnstormed around the country and eventually transformed himself into Tommy ‘Boom Boom’ Gunn, performing exclusively in the Midwest in third-rate venues.
Personality and Traits
- "I'm nobody's puppet! Nobody's boy!"
- ―Tommy Gunn
Tommy Gunn was a very angry and hungry individual. He hadn't been handed anything in his life and was left to work for everything that he had. Gunn was raised in a violent household where his father would regularly beat him and his mother up. Gunn's entire childhood shaped the man he would grow into, he began training at a young age because he had so much anger and was already thinking about knocking his dad out.
Gunn eventually did knock his father out, despite thinking this would make him feel better, Gunn clearly still carries a lot of pent up anger. He mentions that he sees his dad every time he enters the boxing ring and his aggressive boxing style would make one think that Gunn is still consumed with rage. Gunn used this anger to drive himself to the top of the boxing world, along with Balboa's help. Gunn tastes success for the first time and begins to show signs of arrogance as well. In all, Gunn is a hardworking, heated fighter.
Tommy Gunn's fight style is very similar to Rocky Balboa's, Balboa taught Gunn practically everything he knew and Gunn mirrored it well. Gunn slips the jab, followed by striking his opponent with a body shot and finishing with a combo of hooks, almost identical to Balboa. Gunn can be seen as to having an iron jaw as he carries himself the same as Balboa by withstanding punches in the same way as Balboa, almost walking into them before countering with hooks and body shots
Professional Boxing Record
|23||Win||23-0-0||Union Cane||KO||1 (12), 2:21||1990||Philadelphia, Pennsylvania||Won Heavyweight Championship|
Heavyweight Champion (1 time, 1990-unknown) (defeated Union Cane, lost to an unknown opponent or stripped)
- "I'm nobody's puppet! Nobody's boy!" - Tommy Gunn.
- "You don't own me! You don't own me! Nobody does! I want my respect" - Tommy Gunn to Rocky Balboa.
- "Man, I'm sorry, but wh... what do you think?" - Tommy Gunn to Rocky Balboa.
- [Agravatingly interrupting Rocky] "I ain't you and you ain't Mick. When are you gonna realize that this is a business? In a business you need.." - Tommy Gunn to Rocky Balboa.
- [as Rocky goes back into the bar] "Hey. Hey! I'm not done talking to you yet." - Tommy Gunn to Rocky Balboa.
- [to Rocky when he gets up] "I'm not gonna knock you down this time! I'm gonna put you through the street!" - Tommy Gunn to Rocky Balboa.
- "This is your own man talkin'!" Tommy Gunn to George Washington Duke.
- There is a director's cut that features an alternate version of Tommy and Rocky's fight. After everyone goes outside expecting a fight, Rocky argues with a spectator who wants to see Rocky "teach Tommy a lesson." Rocky yells to the fight-hungry crowd they know nothing about this. Rocky tells Tommy he cares about him more than George Duke ever will. Tommy, enraged, attacks Rocky. Rocky has a different vision with Mickey, then gets up and the street fight continues normally. After knocking Tommy down, Rocky tries to tell him it's over. Tommy still gets up and charges at Rocky. Finally, after Rocky punches Tommy against the bus, he offers him his hand. Tommy accepts it. A bystander asks Tommy for his autograph.
- Originally, Tommy's fight with Rocky was supposed to cause Rocky's death, due to the brain damage suffered at the hands of Ivan Drago. However, this was changed in the final cut when the studio objected to killing off a character like Rocky.
- Tommy Gunn is the only pupil of Rocky Balboa to become an antagonist.
- Tommy Gunn is almost unanimously regarded as the weakest Rocky villain, as he was unable to beat a much older Rocky in a mere street fight.
- Tommy Gunn is one of many Rocky characters to be played by a real boxer, the late Tommy Morrison.
- His relationship with George Washington Duke is simular to Mike Tyson's relationship with Don King who Duke is based after.