Thomas David Morrison (January 2, 1969 – September 1, 2013) was an American professional boxer who competed from 1988 to 1996, and held the WBO heavyweight title in 1993. He retired from boxing in 1996 when he tested positive for HIV. Morrison is also known for his acting career, having starred alongside Sylvester Stallone in the 1990 film Rocky V as Tommy Gunn.
Morrison as WBO champion in 1993
|Height||6 ft 2 in (188 cm)|
|Reach||76 in (193 cm)|
|Born||January 2, 1969|
|Died||September 1, 2013 (aged 44)|
Omaha, Nebraska, U.S.
|Wins by KO||42|
Morrison had previously attempted a comeback to boxing in 2007 when the Nevada commission lifted the indefinite worldwide suspension in July 2006.  In August 2013, Morrison's mother announced that her son was in the final stages of AIDS, and he died on September 1, 2013 at the age of 44 from septicemia, septic shock, multi-system organ failure and, ultimately, cardiac arrest.
Early life and amateur careerEdit
Morrison was born in Gravette, Arkansas. His mother, Diana, was Native American (half Ponca and half Otoe) while his father Tim was of mostly Scottish ancestry. Morrison was raised in Delaware County, Oklahoma, spending most of his teenage years in Jay. Morrison's nickname, "The Duke", is based on the claim that he was an alleged grand-nephew, or otherwise distant relative of the Hollywood star John Wayne (né Marion Morrison). and his father urged Tommy to take up the sport at the age of ten. At the age of 13, Morrison's mother used a fake ID and entered her son into 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.
After graduating from high school in 1988, Morrison received a football scholarship to Emporia State University, being invited to play for the university team. In the same year, age 19, 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 decisioned Javier Alvarez in the preliminaries, decisioned Warren Williams in the quarterfinals, but lost a split decision to Derek Isaman in the semifinals. Two weeks later, Morrison took part in the Western Olympic trials in Houston, Texas, defeating Robert Hargrove by a 4–1 majority decision in the semifinals, and John Bray by a 5–0 unanimous decision in the finals, and qualifying for the nationals, and garnering the "Outstanding Fighter" award of the tournament. Two weeks after that, fighting out of Republic, Missouri, at the National Olympic Trials in Concord, California, July 6, 1988, Morrison lost a 0–5 unanimous decision to Ray Mercer, who went on to win the gold medal at the Seoul Olympics. (They also had a prior match-up scheduled to be held June 16, 1988, at the Felt Forum, New York City, but no further information available on that one as to why it didn't happen.)
As an amateur, Morrison claimed 222 fights (most of which were local match-ups,) with the 1988 Olympic Trials being the top of his amateur career. His amateur record is 202 wins, 20 losses.
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. Morrison took a six-month break from boxing to work on the movie in 1990.
In 1991, Morrison won fights against opponents James 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 later became 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.
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.
At one point in 1996, Morrison was married to two women at the same time: Dawn Freeman and Dawn Gilbert. Morrison had one child by age 19. Tommy and Trisha Morrison were engaged in 2009 and married in 2011.
In 1996, Morrison was 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 spokesman for the Oklahoma Professional Boxing Advisory Board said Morrison would probably not be permitted to fight in Oklahoma because of his Nevada suspension. To treat his infection, Morrison said he took antiretroviral medication, which reduced his viral load to almost undetectable levels.
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, adding: "I don't think it ever existed." The Commission said Morrison could "contact the laboratory, and they would immediately release the results to him."
Morrison tested negative for HIV four times in January 2007. That year, he 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. In June, Morrison's former agent, Randy Lang, alleged that Morrison had tested positive in January and that the boxer had tampered with blood samples. Morrison responded that he had fired Lang when he discovered that Lang was not a lawyer.
On July 22, 2007, the New York Times reported that Morrison took two HIV tests in 2007 and a third specifically for the Times. Ringside doctors, including Nevada's chief ringside physician, implied that the negative results were not in fact based on Morrison's blood.
In 2009, Morrison also tested HIV negative in Wyoming, in a supervised test by the Colorado commission.
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 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 pleaded guilty and paid a $310 fine, but said he was innocent. In October 1996, Morrison pleaded 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, an Oklahoma court gave a two-year suspended sentence for a DUI elevated to felony level by his previous DUI conviction. On September 16, 1999, the police stopped Morrison for driving erratically and found drugs and weapons in his car, which resulted in various drugs 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 said 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 2, 2013, Morrison died at the Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha, Nebraska at the age of 44. According to the Nebraska Department of Health & Human Services, Morrison's cause of death was cardiac arrest, resulting from multiorgan failure due to septic shock caused by a Pseudomonas aeruginosa infection.
Professional boxing recordEdit
|52 fights||48 wins||3 losses|
|52||Win||48–3–1||Matt Weishaar||TKO||3 (6), 1:40||Feb 9, 2008||Domo de la Feria, León, Mexico|
|51||Win||47–3–1||John Castle||TKO||2 (6), 1:49||Feb 22, 2007||Mountaineer Casino Racetrack and Resort, Chester, West Virginia, U.S.|
|50||Win||46–3–1||Marcus Rhode||TKO||1 (10), 1:38||Nov 3, 1996||Tokyo Bay NK Hall, Urayasu, Japan|
|49||Loss||45–3–1||Lennox Lewis||TKO||6 (12), 1:22||Oct 7, 1995||Convention Hall, Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S.||Lost IBC heavyweight title|
|48||Win||45–2–1||Donovan Ruddock||TKO||6 (12), 2:55||Jun 10, 1995||Municipal Auditorium, Kansas City, Missouri, U.S.||Won vacant IBC heavyweight title|
|47||Win||44–2–1||Terry Anderson||KO||7 (10), 1:34||May 1, 1995||Brady Theater, Tulsa, Oklahoma, U.S.|
|46||Win||43–2–1||Marselles Brown||KO||3 (10), 2:18||Mar 5, 1995||Civic Assembly Center, Muskogee, Oklahoma, U.S.|
|45||Win||42–2–1||Ken Merritt||TKO||1 (10), 2:41||Feb 7, 1995||State Fair Arena, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, U.S.|
|44||Draw||41–2–1||Ross Puritty||SD||10||Jul 28, 1994||Convention Hall, Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S.|
|43||Win||41–2||Sherman Griffin||UD||10||May 24, 1994||Brady Theater, Tulsa, Oklahoma, U.S.|
|42||Win||40–2||Brian Scott||TKO||2 (10), 1:37||Mar 27, 1994||Expo Square Pavilion, Tulsa, Oklahoma, U.S.|
|41||Win||39–2||Tui Toia||KO||3 (10), 2:13||Feb 20, 1994||Belle Casino, Biloxi, Mississippi, U.S.|
|40||Loss||38–2||Michael Bentt||TKO||1 (12), 1:33||Oct 29, 1993||Convention Center, Tulsa, Oklahoma, U.S.||Lost WBO heavyweight title|
|39||Win||38–1||Tim Tomashek||RTD||4 (12), 3:00||Aug 30, 1993||Kemper Arena, Kansas City, Missouri, U.S.||Retained WBO heavyweight title|
|38||Win||37–1||George Foreman||UD||12||Jun 7, 1993||Thomas & Mack Center, Paradise, Nevada, U.S.||Won vacant WBO heavyweight title|
|37||Win||36–1||Dan Murphy||TKO||3 (10), 1:10||Mar 30, 1993||Kemper Arena, Kansas City, Missouri, U.S.|
|36||Win||35–1||Carl Williams||TKO||8 (10), 2:10||Jan 16, 1993||Convention Center, Reno, Nevada, U.S.|
|35||Win||34–1||Marshall Tillman||TKO||1 (10), 2:23||Dec 12, 1992||America West Arena, Phoenix, Arizona, U.S.|
|34||Win||33–1||Joe Hipp||TKO||9 (10), 2:47||Jun 27, 1992||Bally's, Reno, Nevada, U.S.|
|33||Win||32–1||Art Tucker||TKO||2 (10), 1:12||May 14, 1992||Broadway by the Bay Theater, Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S.|
|32||Win||31–1||Kimmuel Odum||TKO||3 (10), 1:50||Apr 23, 1992||Foxwoods Resort Casino, Ledyard, Connecticut, U.S.|
|31||Win||30–1||Jerry Halstead||TKO||5 (10), 0:30||Mar 20, 1992||Caesars Palace, Paradise, Nevada, U.S.|
|30||Win||29–1||Bobby Quarry||TKO||2 (10), 1:29||Feb 16, 1992||Las Vegas Hilton, Winchester, Nevada, U.S.|
|29||Loss||28–1||Ray Mercer||TKO||5 (12), 0:28||Oct 18, 1991||Convention Hall, Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S.||For WBO heavyweight title|
|28||Win||28–0||Ladislao Mijangos||TKO||1 (10), 1:40||Jun 27, 1991||Bally's Las Vegas, Paradise, Nevada, U.S.|
|27||Win||27–0||Yuri Vaulin||TKO||5 (10), 2:06||Apr 19, 1991||Convention Hall, Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S.|
|26||Win||26–0||Pinklon Thomas||RTD||1 (10), 3:00||Feb 19, 1991||Kemper Arena, Kansas City, Missouri, U.S.|
|25||Win||25–0||James Tillis||TKO||1 (8), 1:51||Jan 11, 1991||Etess Arena, Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S.|
|24||Win||24–0||Mike Acey||TKO||1 (6), 1:35||Nov 8, 1990||Bally's Las Vegas, Paradise, Nevada, U.S.|
|23||Win||23–0||John Morton||TKO||5 (6), 1:49||Oct 4, 1990||Etess Arena, Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S.|
|22||Win||22–0||Charles Woolard||KO||2||Jun 9, 1990||Memorial Hall, Kansas City, Kansas, U.S.|
|21||Win||21–0||Ken Lakusta||UD||6||Dec 7, 1989||The Mirage, Paradise, Nevada, U.S.|
|20||Win||20–0||Lorenzo Canady||UD||6||Nov 3, 1989||South Mountain Arena, West Orange, New Jersey, U.S.||Sylvester Stallone and Burt Young were part of Morrison's entourage filming scenes for Rocky V during the event.|
|19||Win||19–0||Charles Hostetter||KO||1||Oct 26, 1989||Kemper Arena, Kansas City, Missouri, U.S.|
|18||Win||18–0||Harry Terrell||KO||1 (6), 2:59||Oct 17, 1989||State Fair, Phoenix, Arizona, U.S.|
|17||Win||17–0||David Jaco||KO||1 (6), 0:37||Sep 19, 1989||Veterans Memorial Coliseum, Jacksonville, Florida, U.S.|
|16||Win||16–0||Rick Enis||TKO||1 (6), 2:45||Sep 5, 1989||Harrah's Lake Tahoe, Stateline, Nevada, U.S.|
|15||Win||15–0||Jesse Shelby||TKO||2 (6), 1:55||Aug 22, 1989||Showboat, Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S.|
|14||Win||14–0||Mike Robinson||TKO||2 (6)||Aug 8, 1989||Bally's Park Place, Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S.|
|13||Win||13–0||Aaron Brown||UD||6||Jul 3, 1989||Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S.|
|12||Win||12–0||Steve Zouski||UD||4||Jun 25, 1989||Convention Hall, Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S.|
|11||Win||11–0||Ricky Nelson||TKO||2 (6)||Jun 11, 1989||Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino, Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S.|
|10||Win||10–0||Mike McGrady||TKO||1, 1:19||May 14, 1989||Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino, Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S.|
|9||Win||9–0||Lorenzo Boyd||TKO||2||Apr 22, 1989||Kansas City, Kansas, U.S.|
|8||Win||8–0||Alan Jamison||KO||1||Mar 29, 1989||Wichita, Kansas, U.S.|
|7||Win||7–0||Lee Moore||KO||2||Feb 24, 1989||Convention Hall, Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S.|
|6||Win||6–0||Traore Ali||TKO||4 (6), 0:53||Feb 9, 1989||Felt Forum, New York City, New York, U.S.|
|5||Win||5–0||Mike Foley||KO||1||Jan 24, 1989||Four Seasons Arena, Great Falls, Montana, U.S.|
|4||Win||4–0||Elvin Evans||KO||1||Jan 17, 1989||Premier Center, Sterling Heights, Michigan, U.S.|
|3||Win||3–0||Joe Adams||KO||1||Jan 12, 1989||Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, U.S.|
|2||Win||2–0||Tony Dewar||KO||1, 0:41||Nov 30, 1988||Cobo Hall, Detroit, Michigan, U.S.|
|1||Win||1–0||William Muhammad||TKO||1 (4)||Nov 10, 1988||Felt Forum, New York City, New York, U.S.|
|1988||They Live||Dave - Resistance Fighter||Uncredited|
|1990||Rocky V||Tommy Gunn|
- "Morrison's blood tests negative for second time – boxing". ESPN. 2007-04-27. Retrieved 2014-07-30.
- "Tommy Morrison: Ex-World Champion Dies At 44". Sky News. 3 September 2013. Retrieved 2014-07-30.
- Putnam, Pat. "Tommy Morrison". Vault.
- Clinkscales, Jason (September 3, 2013). "Tommy Morrison, Tommy 'The Machine' Gun, AIDS And The Death Of A Complicated Champion". The Sportsfan Journal.
- "Tommy Morrison obituary". The Guardian. 11 September 2013. Retrieved 4 January 2015.
-  Retrieved 2014-12-02.
- Ziegel, Vic (February 14, 1996). "Doom Comes Whipping Down Plain". New York Daily News.
- Berger, Phil (May 3, 1989). "Cayton's Corner Attracts Rising Heavyweight Puncher". New York Times.
- Olympic Trials Quarterfinals results by Associated Press, July 6, 1988.
- U.S. Olympic Boxing Trials Tuesday's Results, Pacific Stars And Stripes, Jul 8, 1988, p. 22.
- Pat Putnam (1993-06-21). "Tommy Morrison – 06.21.93". Sportsillustrated.cnn.com. Retrieved 2013-09-04.
- "Syracuse Post Standard Newspaper Archives | Jun 14, 1988, p. 18". newspaperarchive.com.
- Tommy Morrison Amateur Record from BoxingRecords.
- 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.
- TOM FRIEND (1993-06-08). "BOXING; Morrison Defeats Foreman By Decision". Nytimes.com. Retrieved 2013-09-04.
- Doghouse Boxing (2004-02-04) Archived 2009-12-31 at the Wayback Machine; retrieved December 3, 2011.
- Staff (1993-10-30). "BOXING; Morrison Loses Fight, $7.5 Million". Nytimes.com. Retrieved 2013-09-04.
- GERALD ESKENAZI (1994-07-29). "BOXING;Morrison and Mercer: It's 2 Fights, 2 Draws". Nytimes.com. Retrieved 2013-09-04.
- "MORRISON'S WIN OVER RUDDOCK A CAREER BOOST". Palm Beach Post. June 12, 1995. p. 2C. Retrieved 2013-09-04 – via Nl.newsbank.com.
- CLIFTON BROWN (1995-10-08). "BOXING;Lewis Back in Picture With Morrison T.K.O." Nytimes.com. Retrieved 2013-09-04.
- ESPN, That Was Then, July 10, 2012
- 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. Archived from the original on October 28, 2012. 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.
- Vester, Mark (January 15, 2007). "Morrison tests negative for HIV, fight delayed". BoxingScene. 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). "Morrison medically cleared to fight Thursday". ESPN Boxing. Retrieved June 9, 2012.
- Rafael, Dan (February 23, 2007). "Morrison begins comeback bid with KO". ESPN Boxing. Retrieved June 9, 2012.
- Merrill, Elizabeth (2007-06-10). "Morrison faces new allegations from former associate". ESPN. Retrieved January 27, 2014.
- 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. Archived from the original on January 23, 2011. 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.
- Official website
- Boxing record for Tommy Morrison from BoxRec
- Tommy Morrison Fight-by-Fight Career Record at About.com
- Tommy Morrison on IMDb
| Main opponent actor
|Minor world boxing titles|
Title last held byTim Puller
| IBC heavyweight champion
June 10, 1995 – October 7, 1995
|Major world boxing titles|
Title last held byMichael Moorer
| WBO heavyweight champion
June 7, 1993 – October 29, 1993
| Latest born world champion to die
September 1, 2013 – present