Tommy Morrison, the ex-heavy weight champion died at 44, fighting to the end of his days. Morrison’s promoter and cohort, Tony Holden, publicly announced that he had passed. Morrison passed away in a Nebraskan hospital surrounded by family and loved ones. It was believed he had tested positive for HIV and was suffering from declining health in recent years.
“Tommy’s a very stubborn person and he views things the way he wants to view things. That’s his right and privilege,” said Holden. “All through his career, he and I would come not to physical blows but disagreements on certain things. We always ended up friends. That was Tommy.” Holden was referring to Tommy’s belief that he didn’t test positive for the disease.
“That’s the way Tommy took off after he was told he was HIV-positive,” Holden said of his friend. “When he first was told, I was taking him to seek treatment and to different doctors around the country. And then he started research on the Internet and started saying it was a conspiracy. He went in that direction and never looked back.”
Ex-heavyweight Tommy Morrison’s fight to the end was controversial because of his stand that he was the focus of a contrived conspiracy plot by evil promoters. Morrison believed that the HIV tests gave false positives and that some doctors practiced bad medicine. Morrison retested in 2007 in an attempt to make a comeback in his career and tested negative. Critics contended that the blood was not Morrison’s and downplayed his comeback attempt.
Morrison had a vigorous career as a professional fighter. Morrison fought in the Olympics but lost against mega-fighter Ray Mercer in 1998. Mercer would go on and beat Morrison again as a professional in boxing. Morrison developed as a recognized up and coming fighter, invited by Hollywood to act in one of the Rocky movie sequels he played boxer Tommy Guns.
The ex-champ had beaten George Foreman during Foreman’s comeback attempt. He won a then vacate world title and was pronounced heavyweight champion. The ex-champ was all set to fight British Heavyweight Lewis before he experienced defeat by Michael Bentt which marked a downturn in his career.
Morrison made a comeback after a series of lesser fights to face Lewis again being knocked out in a later round. Morrison’s career was beginning to bottom out and then he got the news his blood tests affirmed he had the HIV virus, which resulted in him losing his license in Nevada and being banned from the sport.
Morrison’s comeback was a courageous one with him winning fights in Mexico and the Virginia area. He cleared physical exams in Arizona although Nevada continued to not grant him a license. “If Tommy was fighting today, he no doubt would be a world champion,” said Holden. “You have to look at who he was fighting in the 90’s, the guys in that division were Tyson, Lennox Lewis, Riddick Bowe, Ray Mercer, George Foreman. There’s no one with that talent today. Tommy would absolutely dominate if he were in his prime boxing today.”
Morrison ended his career with a 48-3-1 record and 42 knockouts. Ex-heavyweight Tommy Morrison fought like a champion to the end in his life as a professional.
By Thomas Barr