It seems to have spread like wildfire across the internet within the past 24 hours, that former WBO Heavyweight Champion Tommy Morrison is close to death with a suspected diagnosis of AIDS.
A truly insightful article has been posted on ESPN with words from Morrison’s mother Diana, who claims the former boxer cannot breath unassisted, bed-ridden and unable to speak for over 12 months.
Morrison’s story has always been one shrouded in mystery, with so many stories coming out about him after his diagnosis of HIV in 1996 that it’s hard to know what to believe without sufficient evidence.
As a boxer he potentially had the world at his feet, with a 50 fight record before being stripped of his licence, with 46 wins (40 KOs), 3 defeats and one draw. As the WBO champion at the time of the HIV announcement Tommy was it seems ready for the big time in the heavyweight division with a potential showdown with Mike Tyson muted for some time.
In the ring and out of it Morrison was always unpredictable, with power in his fists but also a questionable chin he was definitely seen as an entertainer in the division during this time.
He also starred in the fifth Rocky film in 1990 playing the character of Tommy Gunn.
Whether it was brutally stopping Razor Ruddock in 1995, or being sparked by Ray Mercer way back in 1991, Morrison wasn’t in too many dull fights.
It was ultimately his wild side out of the ring though that cost him his career, and what could prove ultimately his life.
In the years to come after the diagnosis ‘The Duke’ would find it hard to walk away from the sport, even staging a comeback in 2007 to fight twice more, but also notably claim that he was not now HIV positive and that the disease itself was a ‘conspiracy’ by the Government and a rival promoter.
This of course seemed like the paranoia of a man who understandably didn’t know which way to turn or who to turn to after the diagnosis, for what was considered a disease only contracted by gay men. Audiences today are a lot more educated on the subject, and HIV isn’t the death sentence it was once considered.
It also appears Morrison received bad advice during this time when he could have been helped by better more qualified medical professional.
He is said to weigh just 160lbs as he enters quite possibly his final days; there is so much mystery about his character, with his wife and round the clock carer Trisha also apparently ready to share his memoirs which have been recorded over the years.
These words will surely make for interesting reading if they ever see the light of day, but how coherant they are remains to seen with Morrison once claiming he was teleported from a bar fight.