- "The whipping you got ain't nothing like what I got here for ya"
- ―Union Cane to Rocky Balboa
Union Cane (born June 14, 1962) is a retired heavyweight boxer and former heavyweight champion.
In 1985 (Rocky V), Cane was the top contender and next in line for a shot at Rocky Balboa's heavyweight championship, but upon arriving home from Russia and discovering that he had serious brain injuries, Balboa was forced to vacate his heavyweight championship. A fight was made by George Washington Duke between Cane and an unnamed contender for the vacant heavyweight championship, Cane won the bout by KO. Cane was considered to be a paper champion by the public as he never defeated Rocky to win the title. George Washington Duke tried several times to make a fight between Cane and Balboa, but Balboa denied several times. Eventually, Cane defended his championship against Balboa's pupil Tommy Gunn, Gunn won by KO in the first round.
There isn't much information surrounding the early life of Union Cane, but it is known that Cane's rise up the rankings of the heavyweight division was very fast. In 1985, the boxing world was focused on two major events, Apollo Creed vs. Ivan Drago and Rocky Balboa vs. Ivan Drago. During this time, according to Rocky (2002 video game), Union Cane worked his way up the rankings and by the end of 1985 was recognised as a hot fighter in America while Balboa was in Russia. Along the way, Cane linked up with George Washington Duke, the boxing world's number one promoter. At this time, Cane would have been recognised as one of the biggest names in boxing, if not the biggest.
Pursuing Rocky Balboa
On December 25th, 1985 Rocky Balboa defeated Ivan Drago by KO and shortly after returned to the United States. Upon returning, Balboa held a press conference, speaking about the fight and his future. During the conference, George Washing Duke with Union Cane at his side interrupted and challenged Balboa to a boxing match. Duke made the challenge for Cane, informing Balboa that Cane is the number one contender to the title and that he wants a shot! Cane only had a few words saying ''Balboa I want the chance to take what you got!'' and "The whipping you got ain't nothing like what I got here for ya". Duke assured the media that the paycheck will be the most any champion has ever received, announcing that the fight would take place in Tokyo, Japan. Balboa's wife Adrian interrupted and informed the media that Balboa would not take the fight because he is retired. Balboa didn't confirm these claims, instead speaking about the flight and then leaving the press conference without answering the challenge or confirming his retirement.
Balboa would lose his house and all of his money after some shady business from his accountant. At this time, Balboa considered the idea of facing Union Cane. When he had trouble at home, Adrian insisted he see a doctor. The doctor prescribed an MRI, which showed severe cranial trauma. The doctor said that Ivan Drago had caused such brain damage that it is a miracle Rocky did not suffer the same fate as Apollo Creed. Now coming to grips with the fact another fight would mean certain death, not to mention against a skilled ranked heavyweight like Cane, Rocky publicised his retirement. Duke tried again to challenge Balboa for Cane, tracking him down on the streets of Philadelphia and telling him that Cane is going for the vacated title on the 14th, offering Balboa tickets to the event. Duke then requests that Balboa reconsider a fight against Cane for ''one hell of a payday." Balboa denied, telling Duke that he is officially retired. Duke would then pull out Balboa's medical report and tell him that there is a way they can get around it and get him licensed to fight. Balboa considers it for a moment before Adrian, who was working at the pet store across the street, runs over, and tells Duke to leave her husband alone. Duke ignores Adrian and issues the challenge to Balboa one last time, prompting Adrian to yell ''He's DONE!" Duke calls Balboa a fool.
Becoming Undisputed Heavyweight Champion
Cane is seen in the limousine with Duke and his associate. Duke is frustrated, but ensures that he will get Balboa! Cane speaks up and says "I'll fight Balboa right now! I'm better than Balboa ever was." Duke snaps at this, telling Cane that he holds the paper on him and that he will fight who he tells him, where he tells, and when he tells him. Duke's associate tells Cane not to bite the hand that feeds him, causing Cane to fall in line. Duke says that he will get Balboa, all he needs is an angle. Cane challenged successfully for the Heavyweight Championship on the 14th, defeating an unnamed opponent for the vacant title.
Cane vs. Gunn
Cane held onto the title until 1990 when he was challenged by Tommy "The Machine" Gunn, Gunn was taken under Rocky Balboa's wing, Balboa trained and managed Gunn until George Washington Duke stepped in, clouding Gunn's mind with the things Balboa couldn't give him, a title match and more money. Gunn knocked Union Cane out in the first round to win the Heavyweight Championship.
Events After Rocky V
Following the events of Rocky V, Cane reclaimed the Heavyweight Championship after a rematch with Tommy Gunn in what was Gunn’s first defense of his title and final fight of his professional career. Cane also won the new WBA and WBC titles, only to be stripped of the WBA title shortly afterwards (which was later won by Ivan Drago). Cane never lost again, and retired in 1995.
Personality and Traits
- "I'll fight Balboa right now! I'm better than Balboa ever was"
- ―Union Cane to George Washington Duke
Cane doesn't speak a lot, but when he does, it is usually to trash talk his opponent. Cane seems to fit the mild of a gifted athlete who is otherwise not too gifted, being brash and lacking social graces or intellect. He is one of the hottest names in boxing, has beaten many opponents to get to the top, and has won the title. He has all the reason to tell the world he is the best. Cane doesn't seem to have any fear of competition either, claiming that he will fight Rocky Balboa ''anytime'' and that he is ''better than Balboa ever was.''
Cane is also very competitive and focused according to Rocky (2002 Video Game) Stating that he is always "extremely fit", and one who "takes all his opponents seriously, studying their boxing style before each fight" Balboa takes note of this before his fight with Gunn, noticing Cane and mentioning that he looks to be in great shape.
Union Cane is only seen in one fight but based on the description in Rocky (2002 Video Game), Cane is described as a gifted boxer with speed and power; a good all-rounder. He's also described as being "sharp as a razor.''
Professional Boxing Record
|?||Win||?||Tommy Gunn||TKO||2 (12)||1991||Won World heavyweight championship|
|?||Loss||?||Tommy Gunn||KO||1 (12), 2:21||1990||Lost Heavyweight Championship|
|?||Win||?||?||?||? (12)||1986||Won vacant World heavyweight championship|
Heavyweight Champion (2 time, 1986 - 1990, 1991-1995) (defeated unnamed opponent, lost to Tommy Gunn, defeated Tommy Gunn, stripped of WBA, retired)
''Balboa I want the chance to take what you got!'' - Union Cane to Rocky Balboa
"The whipping you got ain't nothing like what I got here for ya" - Union Cane to Rocky Balboa
"I'll fight Balboa right now! I'm better than Balboa ever was" - Union Cane to George Washington Duke
- Union Cane was played by real-life boxer, and former NABF heavyweight champion, Mike Williams in the film Rocky V.
- The fight of Union Cane vs. Tommy Gunn was one of the few fights seen in the series that did not involve Rocky Balboa as a contestant.
- After the movie was finished the real Mike Williams was supposed to face the WBO heavyweight champion at the time, Tommy Morrison. The promoters called it "Union Cane vs. Tommy Gunn for real". However, Williams injured himself and the fight never took place.
- According to the 2002 Rocky video game, Cane was very popular in the US while Rocky was in Russia, and was nicknamed America's Hottest Fighter.
- There are rumors declaring Cane was involved in fixing matches (as implied by Duke's declaration that he controls Cane via the contract he signed). Another "example" is being knocked down in the first round against Tommy Gunn, which is suspicious given Cane's talent and experience.