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Old 12-14-2004, 01:21 PM
Oddessa Oddessa is offline
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Default Tommy Morrison: Heís alive, heís healthy and yes, heís still one tough S.O.B. PT 1

Tommy Morrison: Heís alive, heís healthy and yes, heís still one tough S.O.B.
Interview with Tommy 'The Duke' Morrison Part 1
Interview by Benny Henderson Jr. (December 14, 2004)

It was November 1988 at the Felt Forum in New York City where two heavyweights were making their pro debuts. In one corner you had William Muhammad, in the other Tommy Morrison in what seemed to be just your average heavyweight prospects who were both looking to make a bang with their first professional fight with only one coming out the victor. When the bell sounded one would go out 0-1 and the other? Well, letís just say he became known to the world as 'The Duke'. This wasnít just another 'Great White Hope'; hell, Tommy could care less for that cliché as he was a born fighter regardless of what color the good Lord decided he should have been. At the age of thirteen the hard hitting Oklahoma native began competing in the Tough Man circuit to help out his mother to make ends meet and was kicking the butts of fighters twice his age, going on to bang out a combined record of 49-1. Yeah, Tommy was a tough S.O.B. but this fight was different, he was stepping into the pro ranks with guys who studied the sweet science and made this their career. Well, with just one round needed and a finishing right hand Tommy Morrison would end the fight and the career of Muhammad. With the victory Morrison would embark on a sensational highly glamorized career of his own and would become a highly recognized name in the history of boxing. From his debut in 1988 to his first title match in 1991 'The Duke' would hand out losses to twenty-eight fighters putting to sleep twenty-four and stopping fifteen in the opening round, including big wins over James Tillis and Pinklon Thomas. He would also star beside actor Sylvester Stallone in Rocky V, which made the small town boy a household name as 'Tommy Gunn'. The stage was set for the undefeated rising heavyweight to earn a belt when he challenged WBO heavyweight champion Ray Mercer for his title in 1991. Morrison was involved in one of the most horrifying knockouts in history, but this time Tommy was on the receiving side. 'The Duke' led on the scorecards until the fifth when Mercer landed that fateful punch that turned the lights out on Morrisonís night and then continued to unmercifully pound away at what seemed to be the lifeless body of the challenger. But Tommy took the loss in his stride and refused to give up because he is one tough S.O.B. Eight wins later, all by way of knockout, Morrison again proved his toughness by battling it out with two broken hands, a broken jaw and a massive cut over his eye to stop Joe Hipp in the ninth round setting up a shot at the title he was once denied. This time he faced living legend 'Big' George Foreman, who he outboxed for twelve rounds to finally strap on his first hard earned belt. Tommy would successfully defend his title and in the second defense he would face Michael 'The Fluke' Bentt. Bentt floored Morrison three times in one of the most upsetting and abnormal loses of his career. Heck, Tommy was caught beat and made no excuses. After two years, eight fights and a hell of a win over Razor Ruddock, Morrison would step in the ring with 6í5Ē boxing Brit Lennox Lewis to be stopped in the sixth round, but Tommy toughest test was yet to come. Tommyís world took a turn for the worst when the boxer would test positive as an HIV carrier. This would prove to be the toughest bout of the champís life. Tommy would go on to fight one more time and would end his career as he begun it eight years earlier with a first round KO over Marcus Rhode, in like a champ, out like a champ and always a champ. Tommy announced his retirement form the sport of boxing at the age of twenty-six. Not even in his prime, Tommy proved that he was a born fighter. He owned one of the most dangerous left hooks in boxing and would brawl it out to a win or loss at the sound of the bell without making excuses. People can question anything they so please about Tommyís skill, style or career as they would any other fighter, but one thing for sure you never could or even till this day question is 'The Duke's' heart. Because one thing for sure: Tommy has proved throughout his career and throughout his life that he is one tough S.O.B. For the ones who wonder about Tommy, well, heís still Tommy. Heís alive and heís well and 'The Duke' was more than happy to share his thoughts on his career to the Doghouse fans. In part one Tommy talks about his career, his wins, his losses, Rocky V and much, much more. Here is how it went, enjoy.

Benny Henderson Jr.: First off the fans would like to know what Tommy Morrison has been up to these days and most importantly how is your health?

Tommy Morrison: Well Iím fine, Iím as healthy as I have always been. [Yawn] Iím sleepier than normal right now. [We both laugh] But yeah my health is fine. What have I been up too? Just trying to have as much patience as I can. I have several different projects fixing to take off, one in particular is this guy who came over from Germany who has been here the last three days and we have been talking about doing a documentary on my life so that is going to open a lot of doors. Kirk Johnson is still planning on doing a movie this fall about my life here, and hopefully the book and movie deal will fall under the same umbrella. Hopefully this project will help the next one and these projects will work together than hinder one another. So that is what I have been doing waiting for the door to open up, just waiting on the Lord to open up the doors and I am being patient trying to get my life together.

BH: Looking back on your career can you give us your most memorable moments in and out of the ring?

TM: Probably doing the movie, that was a big turning point in my life. I finally realized what I was probably put here to do and I knew it was that. But I just wasnít in the position to take advantage of it. I had three or four other people who were depending on me to make a living so I couldnít walk away from my responsibility. My trainer who gave up an eighty thousand dollar a year job to come train me so loyalty is what allowed me to hold it together I guess.

BH: How did playing Tommy Gunn in Rocky V affect your career, was it good or bad?

TM: Yeah it was good in the terms of marketing, it helped me out quite a bit. It allowed me to make more money than anybody else around at that time. You know I was the white guy who got lucky to be in a movie, marketing wise it helped but I didnít get paid a whole lot to make the movie itself.

BH: Dumb question, but what was your favorite part of the movie?

TM: I guess I was just being there everyday, it was a heck of a deal. It was an introduction to fantasyland. [Laughs]

BH; Well if you want to know something Tommy, I really think you could have actually taken ole Sylvester.

TM: Ah I reckon so, yeah I do. [We both laugh]

BH: What accomplishments are you most proud of?

TM: I donít think that I have accomplished my greatest yet. Up to this point I guess would be wining two world titles would be considered my biggest accomplishments. Obviously excelling and becoming a champion in a sport that you really donít like, you know I think that is pretty admirable. [Laughs] You know that is hard to do.

BH: How would you define your eight-year career in pro boxing?

TM: Wanting. People never got to see my best; right when I was getting it all together I had to quit. It took me six or seven years to hone my skills you know I come from a Tough Man circuit and I didnít have a lot of background training, I fought a little in the amateurs but my skills I had to play catch up with all Bowe's, Lewisís and Moorerís and all of those people in terms of amateur experience they were way ahead of me.

BH: You lost your first bid for the WBO heavyweight title against Ray Mercer in 1991 and in your second for that same title attempt in 1993 you defeated boxing legend George Foreman and strapped on the belt. How did it feel to not only get the belt you were once denied getting but also beating a living legend in the process?

TM: For me personally it was a good win, it was a smart win. I just outsmarted him is basically what it amounts too. It wasnít really that big of a tactical fight. I just went out there and fought him the only way that had been proven up until that point how to beat him, just go out there and out box him. That is what Ali and Jimmy Young did. My trainer brought only one tape to camp and I was like where are the tapes and he said it is right there. It was the fights the he had lost up till that point against Young and Ali. I just watched those fights over and over again. My trainer asked how come these guys beat him and I was like they didnít stand in front of him. So that is exactly what we did and I showed the world how to beat him and then after I beat him everybody beat him. Axel Schultz beat him I thought, Michael Moorer was beating him until he got caught with a shot.

BH: In your sensational career you had a total of three losses on your record to Mercer, Bentt and Lewis. The Mercer fight you had until the fifth round when all hell broke lose, the Bentt fight seemed like it would be an easy win for yourself but Michael 'The Fluke' Bentt caught you in the first round. Experts or fans or whomever has questioned your chin and others say that you possessed a killer offense but lacked in defense at times. What is your take on these bouts and the observations made by the boxing public?

TM: Iíve always had the opinion of a good defense is a great offense and I was always a very offensive fighter. My defensive skills was what was actually improving the most in terms of skills that I was needing to improve on that I hadnít improved on. The defense skills were coming on pretty well but I didnít use it a lot because it just wasnít my style.

BH: What bouts are you most proud of?

TM: Probably the ones that you grow the most in, you know where you are facing adversity and have to overcome or lose. Probably the Joe Hipp fight was a fight that I grew up in, the Foreman fight was one that I grew up in. The Carl Williams fight I grew in, those were all up and coming fights against good guys, those were some good fighters I was in there with. Carl Williams had it together, he wasnít in his prime but he could still beat most seven out of the top ten, but he couldnít beat me.

BH: In the Joe Hipp bout you had a broken jaw, a broken hand and you toughed it out to knock Hipp out in the ninth round. Which round did you get injured in and explain how tough it was to fight through the pain and dig in deep to stay in the contest to get victory?

TM: I had two broken hands, both my hands were broke, my eye was cut and my jaw was broke. So I had to not only overcome fear but I had to also overcome the physical limitation I had. I had to forget about my hands that were broke even though it hurt every time I hit him. Every time I hit him I would get sharp pain but it was something I got used too. In terms of being able to do it I really never thought about it; how did I do it, how am I going to do it? I just did it. The harder you work the harder it is to quit and thatís the bottom line. I never really thought of anything other than that, you got to do what you got to do, you know. Yeah it was painful and it was difficult to do, but it always goes back to how bad you want it.

BH: What advice would you give to a young fighter searching for a career in the sport?

TM: Run, and donít look back. [Laughs] Ah, you are only as good as the people that surround you in boxing. If you have good people around you, you will do well. You have to have people that care about you though. You canít have people that are just interested in making a buck. Thatís all these people were interested in with me, they didnít have any idea with what they stepped into. I turned out to be ten times better than they thought I would and they really didnít know how to handle it.

BH: You were pretty awesome in my book.

TM: Ah, I was pretty decent you know. I could have been something else.

I would like to personally thank Sean Newman for his help on this interview, it is more than appreciated. I want to give 'The Duke' a big shout out for this candid conversation and it was a blast to finally to get to chat with one of my heroes of the sport. For more info on Tommy he would like to invite you to visit his official website . There you can find up to date info on 'The Duke' along with autographed memorabilia straight from 'The Duke'.

Stay tuned for part two where Tommy will give his thoughts on his faith, his foundation, his post-boxing career and his future along with his thoughts on todayís heavyweight champions.
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Old 12-14-2004, 06:28 PM
El Diablo Blanco El Diablo Blanco is offline
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Default RE:Tommy Morrison: Heís alive, heís healthy and yes, heís still one tough S.O.B. PT 1

What's next? "The Lou Savarese Story"?
Who gives a crap about this journeyman boxer?
If he were black or Mexican, no one would have ever heard of him.
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Old 12-14-2004, 06:30 PM
Pancho Sanza Pancho Sanza is offline
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Default RE:Tommy Morrison: Heís alive, heís healthy and yes, heís still one tough S.O.B. PT 1

Michael Bendt didn't find him so tough.[img]i/expressions/face-icon-small-smile.gif[/img]
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Old 12-14-2004, 09:04 PM
Hit Me Hit Me is offline
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Default RE:Tommy Morrison: Heís alive, heís healthy and yes, heís still one tough S.O.B. PT 1

Mexicans must not like white boys too much...............Uh PANCHO??? DIABLO????
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Old 12-14-2004, 09:08 PM
HG HG is offline
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Default RE:Tommy Morrison: Heís alive, heís healthy and yes, heís still one tough S.O.B. PT 1

The guy who wrote the article has the writing skills of an 8 year old. Tommy this...tommy that- did every sentence have to start with Tommy? Man was that ever a struggle to read.
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Old 12-14-2004, 10:32 PM
Jake Thompson Jake Thompson is offline
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Default RE: Tommy Morrison: Heís alive, heís healthy and yes, heís still one tough S.O.B. PT 1

I'm still pissed at him for backstabbing Rocky.
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Old 12-15-2004, 12:18 AM
bookie blaster bookie blaster is offline
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Default RE:Tommy Morrison: Heís alive, heís healthy and yes, heís still one tough S.O.B. PT 1

What a waste of time that was. Tommy boy was much more entertaining.
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Old 12-15-2004, 01:55 AM
hockeystl hockeystl is offline
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Default RE:Tommy Morrison: Heís alive, heís healthy and yes, heís still one tough S.O.B. PT 1

Thanks for posting.... There was a good write up in ESPN the Mag a few months ago.... He talks about the time he did and all the other dark moments in his life.

Rip the guy all you want, but I had some enjoyable evenings in front of the TV watching him destroy the competition.....
"The men the American people admire most extravagantly are the greatest liars; the men they detest most violently are those who try to tell them the truth." H.L. Mencken
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Old 12-15-2004, 02:00 AM
JoeyrollNy JoeyrollNy is offline
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Default RE:Tommy Morrison: Heís alive, heís healthy and yes, heís still one tough S.O.B. PT 1

Originally posted by: Jake Thompson
I'm still pissed at him for backstabbing Rocky.
I'm more mad that he knocked down Paulie
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Old 07-19-2006, 04:08 PM
hockeystl hockeystl is offline
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Default RE:Tommy Morrison: Heís alive, heís healthy and yes, heís still one tough S.O.B. PT 1

HIV conspiracy or not, Morrison's a fighter
July 19, 2006
By Mike Freeman
CBS National Columnist

In the mind of Tommy Morrison it is all so clear. There is no fog mucking up his memories, no misfiring of neurons causing him to forget. The recollections of how he became the first known high profile professional boxer to test positive for the virus that causes AIDS are crystalline and thick with substance.

There are some who will read this and think Morrison is anything but clearheaded about those dark days, however. They will believe he has been knocked in the cranium one too many times after seeing his words about conspiracies and plots and false positives. Morrison seems like a levelheaded man, an intelligent man and, possibly, a terrifically misguided man who has been sucked into the gaseous anomalies that are crackpot claims and Internet-generated nonsense that the AIDS crisis is mostly a government-induced hoax.

Morrison was told before a tuneup fight in Nevada 10 years ago that he had tested positive for the HIV virus, changing his world and altering the boxing landscape forever. It had happened. One of theirs, one of the big-name fighters, had been caught in the AIDS snare like a handful of other athletes such as Magic Johnson and Arthur Ashe.

Now, incredibly, Morrison blames that positive result on the nefarious forces of the sport's underworld. Or is it the United States government? Or was it the supplement he was taking? He has floated between these and other theories with the greatest of ease. The one he seems to cling to the most is that the test result was a lie, a devious set up, a monstrous piece of trickery.

"I do not believe I am HIV positive," Morrison said in a telephone interview. "It was a false positive. I know it was. It has been 10 years that I have allegedly had HIV."

"I never believed" that he had the virus, Morrison later added. "I've never had so much as a symptom."

When asked to elaborate about why he believed it was a false positive, Morrison said it was possible he was set up by a rival promoter, who rigged the blood test to show he was HIV positive when he was not.

"That question has crossed my mind," he said. "There was some pretty shady stuff going on then."

There are always shadows and evil-doers in boxing, and there always will be. Corruption is in the sport's DNA and it is a place where despicable rogues, scams and con artists rule. But a faked HIV test result? Even for boxing that would be extreme, yet that is something Morrison, one of the most intriguing heavyweight fighters of the last 5-10 years, is claiming.

Morrison has made other strange statements, including how at least a portion of the HIV crisis might be a government-induced conspiracy where a great many people are duped by false positives. He also spoke of how the supplements he was taking at the time could have triggered a false positive as well. He explains his expulsion from boxing by serving up plots and schemes almost a la carte.

"Since I was forced into retirement," Morrison said, "two other boxers were forced into retirement for the same reason."

Other fighters have tested positive for the HIV virus, but none nearly as famous as Morrison and none, at least publicly, have claimed their results might have been some frightening plot against them.

There are only two possibilities when it comes to Morrison. He is either understandably denying the painful fact that he has contracted a terminal illness, or he is the victim of a monstrous scheme that would put every other boxing scandal to distinct shame and supermarket tabloids on red alert.

The likelihood is that Morrison did contract the virus and there is no false positive. There must be a part of him that knows this. When speaking to Morrison, a fighter I have long admired for his hard punches and courage in the ring, he vacillates between the two opposites, using language that seems to acknowledge he is HIV positive, and verbiage that conversely says he does not have it.

In one breath, he talks about lacking any symptoms, and uses phrases like false positives. In another, he says there is no known case of HIV transmission from athlete to athlete, and how that fact should allow him to fight again, how his viral levels are almost non-existent and how if his license is not reinstated, he might sue to get it back.

Morrison, HIV positive or not, is in fact planning to fight two or three times, maybe more, by the end of the year.

The Tale of Tommy remains one of the more remarkable and underreported sports stories in years because Morrison gives us a rare glimpse into the still uncommon world of athletes and HIV. His story is a graphic cautionary tale about a man who once partied like the horniest of rock stars, the pimpest of pimp daddy's, perhaps blowing a promising career in the process. He went from the top of the world to his current skid and is valiantly trying to get his career back while fighting a devastating disease.

You have to understand the boxing scene circa 1996, what Morrison's world and the sport were like then, to fully grasp how big a story he is, even now, fight-less for a decade, mostly away from the spotlight.

He had starred in one of the 819 Rocky movies, used his unique skin color in a mostly black and Latino sport as a blunt and powerful marketing instrument and possessed charm and good looks. Even though the heavyweight division would soon undergo a seismic collapse, ending the era of the sexy heavyweight and transforming the division into the uninteresting mess it is now, Morrison was a significant player and draw. George Foreman has lost to only five men and Morrison is one of them. On two occasions Morrison held a share of the heavyweight title.

Morrison lost a championship bout to Lennox Lewis in 1996, but nevertheless signed a three-fight deal with Don King that was supposed to lead to a Morrison-Mike Tyson showdown. That deal, says Morrison, was to pay him $38 million. Then came the positive test, which Morrison estimates cost him, over the past decade, some $100 million total in potential fight revenues.

"That's a nice chunk of change, huh?" he said.

Morrison says he found out about the test result in a hotel suite in Las Vegas just a few hours before he was scheduled to fight Arthur Weathers. Morrison was placed on indefinite medical suspension by the state. Other commissions and states followed with similar restrictions. He was effectively done as a fighter.

"It was a weird, dark time for me," he explained.

It was not long before Morrison's life took a steep downward spiral, one that included jail time for drug charges and HIV-related discrimination, in which fellow gym members canceled their memberships once his HIV news became public. Close friends abandoned him because of his illness.

Morrison's disbelief turned into Internet research, looking into claims that AIDS is a U.S. government-spurned falsehood.

The danger Morrison and other HIV positive athletes may present in various competitions is hotly debated, but if other boxers do not care about fighting him, then why shouldn't he be allowed to earn a living the only way he knows how? Imagine the strong anti-discrimination statement it would make if Morrison could step into the ring again.

He deserves that chance even if, for the moment, Morrison packs more conspiracy theories than punches.
"The men the American people admire most extravagantly are the greatest liars; the men they detest most violently are those who try to tell them the truth." H.L. Mencken
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Old 10-15-2006, 10:04 AM
BuzzRavanaugh BuzzRavanaugh is offline
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Default RE:Tommy Morrison: Heís alive, heís healthy and yes, heís still one tough S.O.B. PT 1

Kansas City Star did a big story on Tommy Morrison this morning. Kid is 37 years old and is trying to make a comeback. Pretty good read the pictures in the paper show he looks to be in good shape.

Alive and still swinging
Look out, world. Tommy Morrison, out of boxing for a decade and now 37 years old, says he's healthy and plans a comeback that he believes will make him a legend.
The Kansas City Star
"I don't believe in past lifetimes, but if there was one, I had to be a gladiator."

| Boxer Tommy Morrison

P HOENIX | The sign says no left turn, and Tommy Morrison pokes his gray Malibu into oncoming traffic and pulls a U-ey. Radio off, air conditioner cranked, this is where he does his best thinking. A pile of clothes and boxes is stuffed in the backseat because he's just fired his executive personal assistant, a woman he'd been living with who keeps calling his cell while he maneuvers through pre-rush-hour traffic.

He's going to the nutrition store to get a strawberry-banana-double-protein glutamine shake. He's on a roll about God, Russians and boxing until he realizes he's gone 40 blocks past his destination.

"Where am I going?" Morrison says. "I can't believe I did that.

"I get talking, and my wheels get smokin'.?"

Shirtless, tan and toned from the waist up with a sweat-stained Everlast cap pushed over his blond hair, Morrison looks nothing like the shell of a man who became boxing's poster boy for HIV. He runs into people at the airport, and they do a double-take.

Dude, I thought you were dead.

Morrison's still kicking, but he may have a death wish. He pulls into the parking lot and leaps out when he eyes a rumble between a rusty old station wagon and a car full of kids. The wagon peels out. Morrison thinks it's a drive-by and rushes to intervene. Ten years and 10,000 soul-searches later, it's still true - Tommy Morrison never could avoid a fight.

His latest bouts are in the desert, far from his old stomping grounds in Kansas City, in a strip mall next to a drugstore. Morrison is training for a comeback. He's saying he never had HIV - that it was a conspiracy by the government, a rival promoter or just a plain mistake. He wants to fight again, and promises the biggest comeback story the boxing world has ever seen, a cross between "Rocky," "Rudy" and "Slap Shot."

He says he'll apply for his boxing license within the next week or so. He knows that tests in the state of Nevada and Arizona involve bloodwork that will ultimately bear out whether he carries the virus.

"People think I'm crazy," Morrison says, "and it's been written in the papers that I'm off my rocker.

"I beat them with heart. They can't stand to get hit to the body; they don't like pain. They're weak-minded. That's why I roll over everybody who gets in my way. I don't believe in past lifetimes, but if there was one, I had to be a gladiator."


Two years after the death sentence, various news reports had Morrison fading fast. One said he dwindled to 170 pounds, more than 50 down from his fighting weight. His hair was falling out. He had a persistent cough, and his doctor gave him a year to live if he refused to take his HIV medication.

"He's an American tragedy," his first manager, John Brown, said at the time.

Morrison sips from his shake and pours another glass out of the blender.

"God spoke to me and told me not to take it, don't take the medication," Morrison says. "I tell people that, I tell them God told me, they look at me like I'm from another planet. It's like people don't believe God's in the miracle business anymore.

"I've seen God work in my life, and I know what he's capable of, and I know what he does for his people that love him."

His life is a series of contradictions, of recklessness and anger mixed with well-meant intentions. He espouses the Bible in the same breath he expresses his disdain for homosexuals. He's home-to-meet-your-parents sweet to the ladies, then offers that he can't put a number on the Wilt Chamberlainesque volume of women he slept with in his six-year stay in Kansas City.

The thing about dying is it gives you time to think. On Feb. 10, 1996, "The Duke" - nicknamed after John Wayne, his great uncle - was about to step in the ring for a tune-up leading up to a mega-bout with Mike Tyson. Two hours before the fight with Arthur Weathers, his manager broke the news that he had failed a prefight blood test and had HIV. Morrison thought he could still fight that night in Las Vegas.

He went home to Oklahoma, smoked marijuana, and marinated in a fog of drugs and self-research. Morrison still maintains that a person can't contract HIV from heterosexual sex. He convinced his wife, Dawn, of that, and says she's still HIV-free. He hypothesizes that the virus is a plot to control population.

He vowed not to take AZT, which he calls a basic form of chemotherapy by pill.

"That was killing people," he says. "You can look at me like I'm crazy if you want. ... It's a latent virus that your body will get rid of on its own if you exercise and eat right. It's disappeared from my body twice where they can't find the antibodies."

Morrison declines to talk about any recent HIV tests he might have taken. He says his attorneys advised him not to discuss the matter.

But he'll let you in on a little secret. The weight loss? The haggard appearance? He says he was on a methamphetamine binge. He was diagnosed with adult attention deficit disorder at 27, and he said the meth made his mind catch up with all the things that seemed so jumbled.

The only thing he knew how to do was gone, and Morrison wasn't even sure how to feel about that. Ask him what he misses most about boxing, and he'll say financial freedom. Then he vacillates from necessity to addiction, hate to passion.

His first fight was arranged by adults when he was 5. Tommy was clutching his Coke at a drive-in movie, because his family didn't have much and he wanted the drink to last throughout "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre." A boy named Rodney was zinging pebbles into the Coke. Tommy dumped the drink on the 8-year-old. His mama came back, demanding they fight, and it was over.

Tommy flailed his fists like a hummingbird. He bloodied Rodney's nose, cut him in the eye.

"I remember walking back to the car," Morrison says. "I was kind of almost in shock that I'd just had this altercation. And right as we got to the car door, my mom opened the door and it was like a bell went off and I realized, 'Damn, I'm good at this.'

"And I loved the feeling it gave me. Loved it. Just declaring dominance, just BOOM!"


The cell phone rings again, and it's Morrison's trainer, Mike Munoz.

Munoz is a quiet, hulking man, a former amateur boxer who hangs a poster of Morrison outside his gym and leaves a handwritten note on the glass door Monday for the rest of his pupils. "No boxing today. Go running."

Munoz is just coming back from the airport, and he wants to meet Morrison for lunch before they train. They pick Hooters, which is just off the corner of the strip mall. Morrison misses the turn and swerves his car around again.

A table full of men shout when Morrison walks to the back of the restaurant, and a guy outside gives him one of those I-know-you-from-somewhere stares. Within seconds, a young Hooters girl stops by to take Morrison's order. Three more waitresses plus a manager will buzz by within the next hour.

Dressed in a white undershirt and shorts, Morrison thickly lays on the Oklahoma charm.

"Are you John Wayne's grandson?" the waitress asks.

"Are you Marilyn Monroe's niece?" Tommy replies.

Morrison says he left his hometown of Jay, Okla., because he'd run out of women to sleep with. His nights in Kansas City, after he'd done "Rocky V" and officially earned star status, were rock-star material.

Tommy did up the bars in Westport, got in his share of scrapes and scandals. He figures he had as much as $2 million at one point, and the taps flowed and the women fawned. He was detained once in an altercation with a woman at Senor Phroggs in Lenexa.

"I couldn't fart in an elevator without people wanting to sue me," Morrison says.

His escapades stretched beyond folk stories.

"There are a lot of beautiful women in Kansas City," Morrison says, "who need to be thanked for helping me stay conditioned for years."

Morrison flirts with the Hooters girls, then rolls his eyes. He says he's a one-woman man now. But he has no problem dropping his shorts halfway, in the middle of Hooters, to reveal a giant tattoo of Elvis on his hip. He does that twice.

Munoz, who's sitting at another table, tells him to stop.

"You're going to get us arrested."

Morrison says he's been married three times, twice to the same woman, and both wives were named Dawn. Friends call them D1 and D2. He was married to both of the D's at once, one marriage in Mexico, the other in the States.

"I still can't figure out how that happened," he says.

Morrison used to find this shoe-shiner in Westport and hand him $100 bills every time he passed. Sometimes, he says, he'd see the guy three or four times a night. The shoe-shiner recognized him on a return stop to Kansas City a few years back, and Morrison said he was sorry. He didn't have any money.


The in-car rant on this particular day, after HIV and the state of heavyweight boxing, focuses on his rocky relationship with Brown.

Morrison took his beat-up Chevy, with no hubcaps or air conditioning, and loaded two grocery bags with his belongings for a 3 1/2 -hour drive to Kansas City in 1988. He spent two more hours driving around to find Ringside Products, Brown's business.

Brown says he wanted to do two things for Morrison - make him wealthy and keep him healthy. Morrison clashed with Brown, nearly from the start, over training and later, money. He says Brown took a 33 1/3 percent cut. Brown says that's standard, especially when he was paying three to five other people on the Morrison team.

"Every fight he had, he received a full financial report down to the penny," Brown says. "We didn't take a dime from that kid until he started fighting 10-round fights. I gave that kid five of the best years of my life. I took him off the street, put him in my business, trained him, took him to heavyweight champion of the world.

"I did everything a human being could do to keep him healthy. He's a kid who has to have a scapegoat. I represented authority. I gave Tommy a hard time almost every day because I wanted him to get up and run. If he was going to have sex, have it with one woman a day, not five, to not drink or take drugs, and to train five days a week so we could become successful."

Morrison was successful in spite of his lifestyle. In 1993, he beat George Foreman for the WBO heavyweight title. A giant tattoo on his bicep reminds him of the day. His arms are also scarred, his 37-year-old face weathered. The poster that hangs outside Munoz's gym, the one where he's landing a punch on Foreman, reveals a mug so different - young, steely, unaffected. He beat Razor Ruddock for the IBC heavyweight championship two years later. It didn't mean anything to Morrison.

After the death sentence, he went everywhere. The speaking circuit - he vowed to educate young people on HIV, but his beliefs don't exactly jibe with the American Medical Association - the sticks, and eventually the hole. Morrison was arrested for drunken driving, then spent more than a year in jail on drug charges.

Some dude left a bunch of cocaine in his car, Morrison says, and they shackled him up like Hannibal Lecter. He says the cocaine wasn't his. He'd tried it before, but it was a waste of time. It didn't last long enough. Fourteen months, eight days, six hours and 46 minutes. That was his penance, in Texarkana, then Little Rock.

"You ever seen 'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest?' " Morrison says. "That's what it was, a mental floor. One guy there, Mr. Murphy, he was an old guy. He'd been taking elephant tranquilizers. We were locked down all the time. Every once in a while we got to go outside and play basketball if everybody was good.

"How often do you think people were good? Never. They didn't know what they were doing."


Morrison downs a grilled chicken sandwich with cheese but leaves the side of macaroni salad. The waitress asks whether he's still hungry. Yes, he says, but he's trying to keep his girlish figure. He ponders.

"Quesadillas," he says. "Steak."

Everything for Morrison is backward these days. He used to look at a Snickers bar and gain 10 pounds. Now he burns off everything. He's been training in Phoenix for four months, three with Munoz. It's much harder now.

The way Morrison explains it, he read a story about a young girl with HIV being discriminated against and decided recently to fight back. That's the impetus for his return to boxing. He hired attorney Randy Lang.

Lang contacted Keith Kizer, executive director of the Nevada Athletic Commission, in a preliminary inquiry about Morrison obtaining his boxing license.

"He basically said (one of) three things are true here," Kizer says. "Either Tommy never had HIV or he had it and cured himself of it. Or he had it, it was at a contagious level, and through therapy it's at such a low level it's not contagious."

If Morrison tests positive for HIV, he won't be allowed to box in Nevada or most other states. But Lang has another route. He's pondering a multimillion-dollar lawsuit.

"If Morrison was subjected to any medical limitation issues, each boxing commission is pre-empted by federal law," Lang says. "For instance, if he had cancer, he would fall under the Americans with Disabilities laws, which pre-empt state boxing laws, and they would be required to accommodate his disability. If he had HIV, it would be the same thing."

Kizer says he isn't worried about any lawsuits, just the safety of the boxers in Nevada. He understands why Morrison wants to get back in the ring now. The heavyweight division is viewed by some as diluted and bland now, dominated by foreign boxers. Morrison and a handful of other once-wasers watch 7-foot Russian Nikolai Valuev drop an opponent and wonder whether they could take him.

Scratch that - Morrison knows he can. He's up to 224 pounds, and Munoz says Morrison's punching power might be better than it was 10 years ago. He had a shoulder injury then and was mostly a left-handed fighter. Now he throws his right hand like a rocket.

Munoz wants to wean Morrison back, start with a couple of six-round bouts. They plan to be fighting by the end of November. Munoz says he was never skeptical about training a 37-year-old boxer with a sordid past, 10 years of rust, and HIV tests that are being kept secret.

"I really wasn't," Munoz says. "Maybe it's just something ... a gut feeling of watching him fight previously and knowing he was a tough guy mentally and physically. I knew he'd been through adversity. And I knew he wasn't a quitter."


Morrison steers the car down Union Hills Drive and points to the right. Mike Tyson lives somewhere over there. Ten years ago, that fight, Morrison says, was going to make him $10 million.

They were kings then, Iron Mike and The Duke, fighting demons but punching air. Morrison glances through the passenger window and keeps rolling.

"He's out of his mind," Morrison says. "He's not all there. When he's on his medication, he's the nicest guy in the world. Trouble follows him around. I know what that's like."

Morrison never yearned to be a boxer. He wanted to be a mortician or a punter for the Chiefs. His mom's the one who told him to go to Omaha 18 years ago and fight in the Golden Gloves. She still has the cap and gown he was supposed to wear that week for graduation neatly packed in a box. Morrison wonders whether it'll sell someday on eBay.

But he says God puts everyone on this earth to do something, and he's supposed to fight. He has these visions of winning another heavyweight title, then following his true love, acting. He thinks about that "Rocky V" movie all the time. He says he held a lot back.

That seems impossible with Tommy Morrison.

"I tell people I'm going to win an Oscar, and they laugh at me," he says. "I told them I was going to win a heavyweight championship, too, and they laughed. And I won two of those. A lot of people doubt that I have anything left. But one thing they're forgetting is that I haven't been fighting for 10 years. I've been resting.

"I'll go down in history. It's going to happen. Then I'll become a legend."

He bounces out of the restaurant and heads to his car. He's had dozens of them, pimpmobiles and pieces, and for nine years, he'd fantasize behind that wheel, asking himself one thing. Where would I be right now if I were heavyweight champion of the world? The Malibu pulls out, veering in the same direction as the answer. Lost.
Buzz, I dont go to games. I buy all the Directv packages and watch them from the comfort of my own home! I dont like listening to all the fans nonsense at games! I pay for blonde women to come over and have sex with my hispanic hottie maid, and sometimes I get involved to make it a threesome! I like to lay in my pool during the day sipping on drinks that have umbrellas!

Luke M
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