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Tommy Morrison DEAD: Rocky V Star DIES at 44 – Cause of Death – RSR Says Goodbye – Boxing News

By Geno McGahee

The former WBO heavyweight champion of the world, Tommy “the Duke” Morrison, 48-3-1, 42 KO’s, has passed away at the age of 44. Morrison starred as Tommy “Machine” Gunn in ROCKY V, which was a huge push for his career. The mixture of his complexion, acting role, and vicious left hook made him a huge attraction. There weren’t many that hit as hard as “The Duke.”

Morrison would get his first title shot against Ray Mercer in 1991 but would get stopped in the fifth round. He would rebound with victories over notable opposition, stopping Art Tucker, Joe Hipp and Carl “The Truth” Williams and landed a PPV showdown with George Foreman with the WBO title hanging in the balance. Morrison employed a different game plan and moved, counter-punching and running away with a wide decision victory and a title belt around his waist. It proved that he was more than hype, but the fall would be quicker than the rise.

The unheralded Michael Bentt would knock Morrison out in 93 seconds of the first round in the second defense of the WBO crown. Morrison was one fight away from a big money PPV showdown with Lennox Lewis, but it would evaporate in less than two minutes. Morrison would rebound, but he would struggle, fighting to a draw with journeyman Ross Puritty. The role as a serious contender was considered over, but a fight with Razor Ruddock would put him back into the spotlight.

In 1995, Morrison stepped into the ring with Ruddock in a PPV that did better than expected. The fans wanted to see the two biggest sluggers in boxing go at it and it was a shootout with Morrison landing that left hook and ending the fight in round six. He would fight Lennox Lewis in his next fight but would come up short, losing in a one-sided TKO in six rounds. It was after that fight, in 1996, that Morrison would test positive for HIV.

The news came at a bad time. Morrison was in line as a possible Mike Tyson opponent, but it all came crumbling down to the ground. Morrison came out publicly and asked all of his sexual partners of the past to get tested and would retire from boxing, but it didn’t last and thing got strange. Morrison would return to boxing in 2007, claiming that he was not HIV positive, but the medical community and boxing fans were highly skeptical. Morrison would have run-ins with the law and find himself in prison, mostly from drug-related offenses. It was a sad state for the former champion.

Tommy Morrison was a huge puncher and exciting fighter in a great time for heavyweight boxing. He fought beyond the idea that he was all hype, defeating some very good opponents and establishing himself as one of the top big men of the time. His outside of the ring activities dictated his future and this ending seemed inevitable. RSR says goodbye to the former heavyweight champion. R.I.P Tommy Morrison.

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