Morrison in 2011
|Real name||Tommy David Morrison|
|Height||1.88 m (6 ft 2 in)|
|Reach||193 cm (76 in)|
January 2, 1969|
Gravette, Arkansas, U.S.
|Died||September 1, 2013
Omaha, Nebraska, U.S.
|Wins by KO||44|
Tommy David Morrison (January 2, 1969 – September 1, 2013) was an American heavyweight boxer and a former World Boxing Organization champion. He lost only three out of a total of 52 professional fights. Morrison's nickname, "The Duke", is based on the claim that he was a grandnephew of Hollywood star John Wayne (né Marion Morrison).  Tommy Morrison appeared in the 1990 Sylvester Stallone boxing film Rocky V.
Morrison's professional boxing career ended in 2008, 12 years after he tested positive for HIV in 1996. Beginning in 2006, Morrison attempted a comeback after a 10-year hiatus, stating that his HIV diagnosis was negative. Morrison had multiple convictions for driving under the influence, assault, and drugs and weapons charges.
Early life and amateur boxing
Tommy Morrison was born in Gravette, Arkansas. His mother, Diana, was half Otoe and half Ponca. Morrison was raised in Delaware County, Oklahoma. Since Morrison's older brother and two uncles were boxers, Morrison's father urged him to begin boxing locally at the age of ten. At the age of 13, Morrison used a fake ID and entered fifteen "toughman" contests (the minimum age for contestants was 21). He later told The New York Times that he lost only one of these matches.
Morrison's mother was acquitted of a murder charge four decades ago. His father, Tim, was abusive; he would get drunk and beat Morrison as well as his mother. Tim was also a perpetual philanderer until Diana finally left him. Morrison's brother, Tim Jr., spent 15 years in prison for rape.
In 1988, Morrison won the Regional Heavyweight Title – Kansas City Golden Gloves from Donald Ellis and advanced to the National Golden Gloves in Omaha, Nebraska, where he lost a split decision to Derek Isaman. Two weeks later, Morrison took part in the Western Olympic trials in Houston, Texas winning the Heavyweight Title and garnishing the "Most Outstanding Fighter" of the tournament. Two weeks after that at the Olympic Trials, held in Concord, California, Morrison lost a split decision to Ray Mercer, who would go on to win the gold medal at the Seoul Olympics. His combined professional and amateur record is 343–24–1, with 315 wins by knockout.
Morrison started his professional boxing career on November 10, 1988, with a first-round knockout of William Muhammad in New York City. Three weeks later, he scored another first-round knockout. In 1989, Morrison had 19 wins and no losses, 15 by knockout. In 1989, actor Sylvester Stallone observed one of Morrison's bouts. Stallone arranged a script reading and cast Morrison in the movie Rocky V as Tommy "The Machine" Gunn, a young and talented protege of the retired Rocky Balboa. He took a six month break from boxing to work on the movie in 1990.
In 1991, Morrison, already the recipient of much television exposure, won fights against opponents James Quick Tillis and former world champion Pinklon Thomas. He was given an opportunity to face fellow undefeated fighter Ray Mercer, the WBO title holder in a Pay Per View card held on October 18, 1991. Morrison suffered the first loss of his career, losing by 5th round knockout. He had six wins in 1992, including fights with Art Tucker and Joe Hipp, who would later become the first Native American to challenge for the world heavyweight title. In the Hipp fight, held June 19, 1992, Morrison was suffering from what was later discovered to be a broken hand and broken jaw, but rallied to score a knockout in the ninth round. After two wins in 1993, including one over two-time world title challenger Carl "The Truth" Williams, Morrison found himself fighting for the WBO title again, against heavyweight boxing legend George Foreman, who was himself making a comeback. As both men were famed for their punching power, an exciting battle was expected, but Morrison chose to avoid brawling with Foreman and spent the fight boxing from long range. He was able to hit and move effectively in this manner, and after a closely contested bout he won a unanimous 12-round decision and the WBO title.
Morrison's first title defense was scheduled against Mike Williams, but when Williams withdrew on the night of the fight, Tim Tomashek stood in as a replacement. Although Tomashek had been prepared to fight as a backup plan, some news reports created the impression that he had just been pulled out of the crowd. The WBO later rescinded their sanctioning of this fight due to Tomashek's lack of experience. Almost immediately, talks of a fight with WBC champion Lennox Lewis began, but were halted when virtually unknown Michael Bentt upset Morrison in his next bout. Bentt knocked Morrison down three times, and the fight was stopped in the first round in front of a live HBO Boxing audience. Morrison recovered by winning three bouts in a row in 1994, but his last fight of the year, against Ross Puritty, ended with a draw.
Morrison won three fights in 1995 before meeting former #1 contender Razor Ruddock. Ruddock dropped Morrison to his knees in the first round, but Morrison recovered to force a standing count in round two and compete on even terms for five rounds. In the sixth round, Ruddock hurt Morrison with a quick combination, but just as it seemed Morrison was in trouble, he countered with a tremendous hook that put Ruddock on the canvas. Ruddock regained his feet, but Morrison drove him to the ropes and showered him with an extended flurry of blows. Just as the bell was about to sound, the referee stepped in and declared Morrison the winner by TKO. 
The much-anticipated fight with Lewis, who had also lost his world championship, finally took place following the Ruddock match. Morrison was knocked out in the sixth round.
Scheduled to fight against Arthur Weathers, the Nevada Athletic Commission determined that Morrison had tested positive for HIV. The Commission suspended Morrison from boxing in Nevada. Several days later, Morrison's physician administered a test, which was also positive. At a news conference on February 15, 1996, Morrison said he had contracted HIV because of a "permissive, fast and reckless lifestyle". Morrison stated that he would "absolutely" never fight again.
At another news conference on September 19, 1996, in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Morrison announced he wished to fight "one last time" when he could find an opponent, the proceeds of which would benefit his KnockOut AIDS Foundation. A spokesperson for the Oklahoma Professional Boxing Advisory Board said Morrison would probably not be permitted to fight in Oklahoma because of his Nevada suspension.
In 2006, Morrison said his HIV tests had been false positives. The Nevada commission's medical advisory board reviewed Morrison's 1996 test results and concluded they were "ironclad and unequivocal." Morrison said he tried to get a copy of the original test result but was unable to do so: "I don't think it ever existed." The Commission said Morrison could "contact the laboratory, and they would immediately release the results to him."
Beginning in 2007, Morrison began fighting again. After passing medical tests in Texas, West Virginia licensed Morrison to fight in that state. In February 2007 he fought and beat John Castle. The Kansas City Star described his early 2009 fight in Wyoming as a "staged" event and a "fake fight."
Morrison tested negative for HIV four times in January 2007. On July 22, 2007, the New York Times reported that Morrison took two HIV tests in 2007 plus a third specifically for the Times. HIV experts reviewed the three tests and concluded that the 1996 result had been a false positive. But ringside doctors expressed doubt, implying that the negative results were not in fact based on Morrison's blood. However, the experts agreed that no one is ever cured of HIV, so if his tests in 2007 showed that he was negative, then he was never infected with HIV.
In January 2011, the RACJ, the boxing commission for the province of Quebec, required that Morrison take a supervised HIV test in advance of a scheduled 2011 fight. Morrison declined to take the test because he said it would be the same kind of test administered by Nevada in 1996. Instead, Morrison invited the Quebec commission to attend a public test, but the commission did not come. Morrison stated that if Quebec refused to license him, he would "take the dog and pony show somewhere else."
In December 1993, Morrison was charged with assault and public intoxication when he allegedly punched a University of Iowa student. Morrison said that the student had been staring at him. Morrison pled guilty and paid a $310 fine, but said he was innocent. In October 1996, Morrison pled guilty to transporting a loaded firearm in Jay, Oklahoma; he received a 6-month suspended sentence and a $100 fine. In 1997, an Oklahoma jury convicted him of DUI in an accident that left three people injured; the court ordered Morrison to spend time in treatment.
In September 1999, Morrison was given a 2-year suspended sentence for a DUI in Oklahoma. On September 16, 1999, the police stopped Morrison for driving erratically and found drugs and weapons in his car, which resulted in various drug and firearms charges. While awaiting trial on the September 16 charges, Morrison was again arrested on charges of intoxication and possessing a weapon while a felon in November 1999. On January 14, 2000, Morrison was sentenced to two years in prison on the September 16 charges. On April 3, 2002, he was sentenced to another year in prison after violating parole in Tulsa, Oklahoma, but was given credit for time previously served.
In August 2013, Elizabeth Merrill of ESPN.com reported that Morrison's mother Diana disclosed that Tommy had "full-blown AIDS" and was "in his final days." She also stated that Morrison had been bedridden for over a year. The same article also stated that Morrison's wife, Trisha, did not believe Morrison had AIDS.
On September 1, 2013, Morrison died at a hospital in Omaha, Nebraska at the age of 44. According to the celebrity news website TMZ, Morrison's causes of death were given as cardiac arrest, septicemia, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and multiorgan failure.
Professional boxing record
|48 Wins (42 knockouts), 3 Losses, 1 Draw |
|Win||48-3-1||Matt Weishaar||TKO||3 (8)||09/02/2008||Domo de la Feria, Leon, Guanajuato, Mexico|
|Win||47-3-1||John Castle||TKO||2 (6)||22/02/2007||Mountaineer Casino, Chester, West Virginia, United States|
|Win||46-3-1||Marcus Rhode||TKO||1 (10)||03/11/1996||Tokyo Bay NK Hall, Urayasu, Chiba, Japan|
|Loss||45-3-1||Lennox Lewis||TKO||6 (12)||07/10/1995||Convention Center, Atlantic City, New Jersey, United States|
|Win||45-2-1||Donovan Ruddock||TKO||6 (12)||10/06/1995||Municipal Auditorium, Kansas City, Missouri, United States|
|Win||44-2-1||Terry Anderson||KO||7 (10)||01/05/1995||Brady Theater, Tulsa, Oklahoma, United States|
|Win||43-2-1||Marcellus Brown||KO||3 (10)||05/03/1995||Civic Assembly Center, Muskogee, Oklahoma, United States|
|Win||42-2-1||Ken Merritt||TKO||1 (10)||07/02/1995||State Fair Arena, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, United States|
|Draw||41-2-1||Ross Puritty||SD||10||28/07/1994||Convention Center, Atlantic City, New Jersey, United States|
|Win||41–2||Sherman Griffin||UD||10||24/05/1994||Brady Theater, Tulsa, Oklahoma, United States|
|Win||40–2||Brian Scott||TKO||2 (10)||27/03/1994||Expo Square Pavilion, Tulsa, Oklahoma, United States|
|Win||39–2||Tui Toia||KO||3 (10)||20/02/1994||Biloxi, Mississippi, United States|
|Loss||38–2||Michael Bentt||TKO||1 (12)||29/10/1993||Civic Center, Tulsa, Oklahoma, United States||Lost WBO heavyweight title.|
|Win||38–1||Tim Tomashek||TKO||4 (12)||30/08/1993||Kemper Arena, Kansas City, Missouri, United States|
|Win||37–1||George Foreman||UD||12||07/06/1993||Thomas & Mack Center, Las Vegas, Nevada, United States||Won vacant WBO heavyweight title.|
|Win||36–1||Dan Murphy||TKO||3 (10)||30/03/1993||Kemper Arena, Kansas City, Missouri, United States|
|Win||35–1||Carl Williams||TKO||8 (10)||16/01/1993||Reno-Sparks Convention Center, Reno, Nevada, United States|
|Win||34–1||Marshall Tillman||TKO||1 (10)||12/12/1992||America West Arena, Phoenix, Arizona, United States|
|Win||33–1||Joe Hipp||TKO||9 (10)||27/06/1992||Bally's Hotel & Casino, Reno, Nevada, United States|
|Win||32–1||Art Tucker||TKO||2 (10)||14/05/1992||Harrah's Marina Hotel Casino, Atlantic City, New Jersey, United States|
|Win||31–1||Kimmuel Odum||TKO||3 (?)||23/04/1992||Foxwoods Resort, Mashantucket, Connecticut, United States|
|Win||30–1||Jerry Halstead||TKO||5 (10)||20/03/1992||Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, Nevada, United States|
|Win||29–1||Bobby Quarry||TKO||2 (10)||16/02/1992||Las Vegas, Nevada, United States|
|Loss||28–1||Ray Mercer||TKO||5 (12)||18/10/1991||Convention Center, Atlantic City, New Jersey, United States||For WBO heavyweight title.|
|Win||28–0||Ladislao Mijangos||TKO||1 (10)||27/06/1991||Bally's Las Vegas, Las Vegas, Nevada, United States|
|Win||27–0||Yuri Vaulin||TKO||5 (10)||19/04/1991||Convention Center, Atlantic City, New Jersey, United States|
|Win||26–0||Pinklon Thomas||RTD||1 (10)||19/02/1991||Kemper Arena, Kansas City, Missouri, United States|
|Win||25–0||James Tillis||TKO||1 (8)||11/01/1991||Trump Taj Mahal, Atlantic City, New Jersey, United States|
|Win||24–0||Mike Acey||TKO||1 (6)||08/11/1990||Bally's Las Vegas, Las Vegas, Nevada, United States|
|Win||23–0||John Morton||TKO||5 (?)||04/10/1990||Mark Etess Arena, Atlantic City, New Jersey, United States|
|Win||22–0||Charles Woolard||KO||2 (?)||09/06/1990||Memorial Hall, Kansas City, Kansas, United States|
|Win||21–0||Ken Lakusta||UD||6||07/12/1989||Mirage Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada, United States|
|Win||20–0||Lorenzo Canady||UD||6||14/11/1989||South Mountain Arena, West Orange, New Jersey, United States|
|Win||19–0||Charles Hostetter||KO||1 (?)||26/10/1989||Kemper Arena, Kansas City, Missouri, United States|
|Win||18–0||Harry Terrell||KO||1 (10)||17/10/1989||State Fair, Phoenix, Arizona, United States|
|Win||17–0||David Jaco||KO||1 (6)||19/09/1989||Veteran's Coliseum, Jacksonville, Florida, United States|
|Win||16–0||Rick Enis||TKO||1 (6)||05/09/1989||Harrah's Hotel & Casino, Stateline, Nevada, United States|
|Win||15–0||Jesse Shelby||TKO||2 (6)||22/08/1989||Showboat Hotel & Casino, Atlantic City, New Jersey, United States|
|Win||14–0||Mike Robinson||TKO||2 (6)||22/08/1989||Bally's Park Place Hotel Casino, Atlantic City, New Jersey, United States|
|Win||13–0||Aaron Brown||UD||10||03/07/1989||Atlantic City, New Jersey, United States|
|Win||12–0||Steve Zouski||UD||4||25/06/1989||Convention Center, Atlantic City, New Jersey, United States|
|Win||11–0||Ricky Nelson||TKO||2 (6)||11/06/1989||Trump Plaza Hotel, Atlantic City, New Jersey, United States|
|Win||10–0||Mike McGrady||TKO||1 (?)||14/05/1989||Trump Plaza Hotel, Atlantic City, New Jersey, United States|
|Win||9–0||Lorenzo Boyd||TKO||2 (?)||22/04/1989||Kansas City, Kansas, United States|
|Win||8–0||Alan Jamison||KO||1 (?)||29/03/1989||Wichita, Kansas, United States|
|Win||7–0||Lee Moore||KO||2 (?)||24/02/1989||Convention Center, Atlantic City, New Jersey, United States|
|Win||6–0||Traore Ali||TKO||4 (6)||09/02/1989||Felt Forum, New York, New York, United States|
|Win||5–0||Mike Foley||KO||1 (?)||24/01/1989||Great Falls, Montana, United States|
|Win||4–0||Elvin Evans||KO||1 (?)||17/01/1989||Premier Center, Sterling Heights, Michigan, United States|
|Win||3–0||Joe Adams||KO||1 (?)||12/01/1989||Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, United States|
|Win||2–0||Tony Dewar||KO||1 (?)||30/11/1988||Cobo Hall, Detroit, Michigan, United States|
|Win||1–0||William Muhammad||TKO||1 (4)||10/11/1988||Felt Forum, New York, New York, United States|
- 1990: Rocky V as Tommy Gunn
- Ziegel, Vic (February 14, 1996). "Doom Comes Whipping Down Plain". New York Daily News.
- Pat Putnam (1993-06-21). "Tommy Morrison - 06.21.93". Sportsillustrated.cnn.com. Retrieved 2013-09-04.
- Berger, Phil (May 3, 1989). "Cayton's Corner Attracts Rising Heavyweight Puncher". New York Times.
- "Tommy Morrison, former heavyweight champ who starred in ‘Rocky V’, dead at 44". NY Daily News. Retrieved 2013-09-03.
- "Former KC boxer Tommy Morrison dies at age 44". KansasCity.com. Retrieved 2013-09-03.
- Klein, Gary (November 16, 1990). "Rocky V' Has Drama Coaches in Its Corner : Film: Acting teachers are traditionally barred from movie sets. But for Stallone's latest boxing epic, a Studio City couple was allowed to show newcomer Tommy Morrison the ropes, scene by scene and blow by blow.". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-10-29.
- By TOM FRIEND (1993-06-08). "BOXING; Morrison Defeats Foreman By Decision". Nytimes.com. Retrieved 2013-09-04.
- Doghouse Boxing (2004-02-04); retrieved December 3, 2011.
- Staff (1993-10-30). "BOXING; Morrison Loses Fight, $7.5 Million". Nytimes.com. Retrieved 2013-09-04.
- By GERALD ESKENAZIPublished: July 29, 1994 (1994-07-29). "BOXING;Morrison and Mercer: It's 2 Fights, 2 Draws". Nytimes.com. Retrieved 2013-09-04.
- "NewsBank for PBP". Nl.newsbank.com. Retrieved 2013-09-04.
- By CLIFTON BROWNPublished: October 8, 1995 (1995-10-08). "BOXING;Lewis Back in Picture With Morrison T.K.O.". Nytimes.com. Retrieved 2013-09-04.
- Springer, Steve (February 16, 1996). "A New Fight: After Second HIV Test Is Positive, Reflective Morrison Takes Blame". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved June 9, 2012.
- Roberts, Selena (September 20, 1996). "Morrison Plans One More Fight Despite His H.I.V. Diagnosis". The New York Times.
- "Morrison wants final fight to help children with AIDS". The Toronto Star. September 20, 1996.
- Smith, Tim (November 7, 2001). "For Tommy, Life Has Been Rocky Stands Tall After Virus Scores Tko". The New York Daily News. Retrieved June 9, 2012.
- "Morrison faces new allegations from former associate". ESPN Boxing. June 10, 2007. Retrieved June 9, 2012.
- Johnson, Chuck (June 22, 2007). "Morrison fights claims of recent positive HIV test". USA Today. Retrieved June 9, 2012.
- Irish, Oliver (February 23, 2007). "The Great White Hope climbs back between the ropes". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 2009-07-01.
- Rafael, Dan (February 20, 2007). "Untitled". ESPN Boxing. Retrieved June 9, 2012.
- Rafael, Dan (February 23, 2007). "Untitled". ESPN Boxing. Retrieved June 9, 2012.
- Mellinger, Sam (February 13, 2011). "Morrison insists he can box and doesn't have HIV". Kansas City Star.
- Vester, Mark (January 15, 2007). "Morrison tests negative for HIV, fight delayed". BoxingScene. Retrieved June 9, 2012.
- Eligon, John; Wilson, Duff (July 22, 2007). "Morrison Says Error in H.I.V. Test Hurt Career". New York Times. Retrieved June 9, 2012.
- Spencer, Dave (January 19, 2011). "Morrison says no to testing". Fightnews.com. Retrieved June 9, 2012.
- "Morrison KOs student in restaurant". Baltimore Sun. Associated Press. December 8, 1993.
- "Morrison pleads guilty to assault". Tulsa World. January 28, 1994.
- "More Boxing". Orlando Sentinel. October 29, 1996.
- "T. Morrison In Trouble Again". CBS News. Associated Press. February 11, 2009. Retrieved June 10, 2012.
- Nelson, Melissa (January 19, 2001). "Morrison's release delayed because of discipline problem". AP Online.
- "Events in Tommy Morrison’s boxing career". Kansas City Star. February 13, 2011.
- "Tommy Morrison's latest big fight". Espn.go.com. 2013-08-23. Retrieved 2013-09-04.
- "Tommy Morrison dies at 44". Espn.go.com. 2008-01-01. Retrieved 2013-09-04.
- Skretta, Dave (September 2, 2013). "Ex-heavyweight champion Tommy Morrison dies at 44". USA Today.
- "Morrison death certificate: No Mention Of AIDS". TMZ. Retrieved September 6, 2013.
- Tommy Morrison – Boxer. Boxrec.com. Retrieved on 2011-12-03.
- Professional boxing record for Tommy Morrison from BoxRec
- Tommy Morrison Fight-by-Fight Career Record
- Tommy Morrison at the Internet Movie Database
|WBO World Heavyweight Championship
June 7 – October 29, 1993
|Titles in pretence|
Title last held byTim Puller
|World Heavyweight Champion
June 10 – October 10, 1995