At 44 years old, Tommy Morrison has this physical status:
Tommy David Morrison (January 2, 1969 – September 1, 2013) was an American professional boxer who competed from 1988 to 1996 and gained the WBO heavyweight title in 1993.
In 1996, he began to boxing after being tested positive for HIV.
Morrison is also known for his acting career, having appeared alongside Sylvester Stallone in the 1990 film Rocky V as Tommy Gunn. Morrison attempted to return to boxing in 2006, despite allegations that he had been negative for HIV.
Morrison's mother announced in August 2013 that her son was in the last stages of AIDS, and he died on September 1, 2013 at the age of 44.
Early life and amateur career
Morrison was born in Gravette, Arkansas. Diana, his mother, was a Native American (half Ponca and half Otoe), though Tim Odetta was of Scots-Irish descent. Morrison was born in Delaware County, Oklahoma, and spent the majority of his adolescent years in Jay. His nickname, "The Duke," is based on the belief that he was a grand-nephew (or otherwise distant cousin) of Hollywood actor John Wayne (né Marion Morrison). At the age of ten engines, Tommy's father was compelled to start boxing. Tommy's mother began using a fake ID and entered her son into 15 "toughest" contests when he was 13 years old (the minimum age for contestants was 21). He later told The New York Times that he had only won one of these matches.
Morrison went to Emporia State University after graduating from high school in 1988. Morrison won the Regional Heavyweight Championship from Donald Ellis and advanced to the National Golden Gloves in Omaha, Nebraska, where he ruled Javier Alvarez in the quarterfinals, but lost a split decision to Derek Isaman in the semifinals. Morrison appeared in the Western Olympic trials in Houston, Texas, defeating Robert Hargrove by a 4–1 majority vote in the semifinals, and John Bray by a 5–0 unanimous decision, and qualifying for the nationals. Morrison lost a 0–5 majority to Ray Mercer, who went on to win the gold medal at the Seoul Olympics two weeks after being out of Republic, Missouri, on July 6, 1988. (They had a previous match-up that was supposed to be held on June 16, 1988, at the Felt Forum, New York City, but no further details were given about why it didn't happen.)
Morrison claimed 222 battles (the bulk of which were local match-ups), with the 1988 Olympic Trials being the highest point of his amateur career. His amateur record stands at 202 victories and 20 losses.
Morrison began his professional boxing career on November 10, 1988, with a first-round knockout of William Muhammad in New York City. He had another first-round knockout three weeks earlier. Morrison won 19 games and no losses, with 15 of whom were knocked out. Sylvester Stallone, an actor from 1989, attended one of Morrison's bouts. In the film Rocky V as Tommy "The Machine" Gunn, a young and gifted protege of the late Rocky Balboa, Stallone arranged a script reading and cast Morrison. In 1990, Morrison went from boxing to filming.
Morrison gained fame against James Tillis and former world champion Pinklon Thomas in 1991. In a Pay Per View card issued on October 18, 1991, he was given the opportunity to meet fellow undefeated fighter Ray Mercer, the WBO champion, who was crowned king. Morrison suffered his first loss of his career after losing in the 5th round by a narrow margin.
In 1992, he had six victories, including fights with Art Tucker and Joe Hipp, who later became the first Native American to challenge for the world heavyweight championship. Morrison was suffering from what was later discovered to be a broken hand and jaw fractured jaw, but he recovered to score a knockout in the ninth round, but did not fail to finish second. Morrison, who beat two world championship champions Carl "The Truth" Williams in 1993, found himself fighting for the WBO title against heavyweight boxing legend George Foreman.
Morrison chose not to engage with Foreman in brawl Suppliers and instead spent the fight boxing from a long distance. He was able to strike and move in this way, resulting in him winning a unanimous 12-round decision and the WBO crown.
Morrison's first title defense was scheduled against Mike Williams, but Tim Tomashek was drafted as a replacement after Williams had to withdraw on the night of the match. Despite the fact that Tomashek had been prepared to fight as a back-up plan, several news outlets led to the belief that he had just been pulled out of the crowd. Due to Tomashek's inexperience, the WBO later withdrew their punishment of this war. Almost immediately, negotiations for a match with WBC champion Lennox Lewis began, but they were put on hold when suddenly unknown Michael Bentt upset Morrison in his next fight. Bentt knocked Morrison down three times, and the match was called off in the first round in front of a live audience of HBO Boxing. Morrison recovered by winning three fights in a row in 1994, but his last fight of the year came with a draw against Ross Puritty.
Morrison won three fights in 1995 before meeting former top contender Razor Ruddock. Ruddock injured Morrison in the first round, but Morrison recovered to force a standing count in round two and compete on even terms for five rounds. Ruddock hit Morrison in the sixth round with a quick combo, but Ruddock responded with a spectacular hook that put Ruddock on the canvas, just as Morrison seemed to be in danger. Ruddock recovered his feet, but Morrison pulled him to the ropes and spit him with a flurry of blows. The referee stepped in and declared Morrison the winner by TKO just as the bell was supposed to sound.
Following the Ruddock match, the much-anticipated confrontation with Lewis, who had also lost his world championship, took place. In the sixth round, Morrison was knocked out.