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Tommy Morrison (born January 2, 1969 – died September 1, 2013) appeared as Tommy Gunn, an amateur fighter and aspiring heavyweight boxer who trains under Rocky Balboa, then spurns him when he becomes a title contender in 1990's Rocky V, the fifth film installment in the Rocky film franchise. Active in the ring as a boxer as of 2011 after a ten-year hiatus due to a health scare due to subject of HIV, Morrison also on occasion worked as boxing commentator.

Professional Boxing Career

Morrison started his professional boxing career on November 10, 1988, with a first-round knockout of William Muhammad in New York City.

In 1991, Morrison suffered the first loss of his career to WBO Heavyweight Champion, Ray Mercer via 5th round knockout.

In 1993, Morrison fought for the WBO title against George Foreman. As both men were known for their punching power, an exciting battle was expected, but Morrison chose to avoid brawling with Foreman, and he won a unanimous 12-round decision and the WBO title.

Morrison's first WBO title defence was scheduled against NABF Heavyweight Champion, Mike Williams, but when Williams withdrew on the night of the fight due to a training injury, Tim Tomashek stood in as a replacement. The WBO later cancelled the 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 via a first round stoppage.

Morrison won three fights in 1995 before meeting former contender Donovan "Razor" Ruddock for the vacant IBC title. Ruddock was dominating most of the fight, but Morrison made a sudden comeback in round 6. Just as the bell was about to sound for round 7, 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, losing his IBC title. The following year, Morrison stopped Marcus Rhode in the first round. He planned to fight Arthur Weathers next, but Morrison was tested positive with HIV, and was suspended from boxing.

Morrison attempted to make a boxing comeback. In 2007, he defeated John Castle in the second round, and in 2008, he had a third round victory against Matt Weishaar. His comeback was cut short, however, and Morrison finally retired after the fight.

Death

In August 2013, ESPN reported that Morrison was critically ill and had been bedridden for over a year.[1]

On September 1, 2013, Morrison died at a hospital in Omaha, Nebraska at the age of 44. His family did not disclose the cause of death.[2]

References

  1. Tommy Morrison's latest big fight
  2. http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/boxing/2013/09/02/boxer-tommy-morrison-dies-at-44/2755083/

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