(Morrison celebrating after winning the WBO heavyweight championship in 1993 | Photo via Getty)
Tommy Morrison (48-3-1) was a boxing sensation, a cautionary tale and a controversial figure. He won the WBO heavyweight title in a 1993 fight against George Foreman, starred in Rocky V and earned millions of dollars. In 1996, he signed a multi-fight deal that was supposed to earn him nearly $40 million more.
Then, hours before a fight, he discovered that he had tested positive for HIV. Morrison retired from boxing but would later make a brief comeback, winning two more boxing bouts after denying the existence of HIV or AIDS, not only in his own body but in general, and testing negative multiple times for the HIV virus.
Morrison became ill again after complications from a chest surgery two years ago. Late Sunday night, the 44-year-old former champion died in an Omaha, Nebraska hospital with his wife Trisha by his side. We do not yet know an official cause of death.
A recent ESPN profile of Morrison gave a rare glimpse into his strange and secretive later life. It paints Morrison as troubled, to be sure, but also as a loving partner, son and caring friend who was, perhaps, too generous at times.
Morrison’s fight reels paint a picture of masterful violence — a skilled heavyweight boxer with speed and knockout power to spare. As Morrison’s family mourns his passing, let us fight fans enjoy some of the champ’s work in the sport he loved…