Was Tommy Morrison HIV Positive?

Tommy Morrison

Tommy Morrison is a very famous boxer who rose to prominence because of his in-ring prowess and when he overcame formidable opponents such as George Foreman and Razor Ruddock. Aside from being great in the ring, Tommy Morrison also became famous for portraying Tommy “The Machine ” Gunn in Rocky V. His rise to fame suffered a major setback when he made news for becoming the first prominent active boxer to announce that he was infected with HIV. After his announcement, he was promptly banned from the sport. However, before his death in 2013, Tommy Morrison and his wife Trisha Morrison went on to deny that he had HIV at any point in time. Even after Tommy Morrison’s death, Trisha Morrison has continued her quest for proving that he never had HIV. Let’s find out more about Tommy Morrison.

Tommy Morrison: Life, Career, HIV and Death


Tommy Morrison honed his chops on the amateur circuit, battling at a youthful age against a lot more established rivalry. In 1988, Morrison explored his way through different Olympic qualifying occasions to the National Olympic Trials. On that occasion, Ray Mercer, who proceeded to win the gold medal in the 1988 Seoul Olympics, crushed Morrison and went on to win by unanimous decision. 

When was Tommy Morrison born?

Tommy Morrison was born on January 2nd, 1969 in Gravette, Arkansas to his dad Tim who was of Scottish lineage and his mom Diana. Morrison was brought up in Delaware County, Oklahoma, burning through the greater part of his teen years in Jay. Morrison’s moniker, “The Duke”, depends on the case that he was a supposed amazing nephew, or in any case removed relative of the Hollywood star John Wayne (né Marion Morrison). and his dad encouraged Tommy to take up boxing at ten years old. At 13 years old, Morrison’s mom utilized a phony ID and entered her child into fifteen “toughman” challenges (the base age for hopefuls was 21). He later disclosed to The New York Times that he lost just one of these matches. 

Tommy Morrison: Amateur Boxing Career 

In the wake of moving on from secondary school in 1988, Morrison received a football scholarship from Emporia State University. Around the same time, Morrison won the Regional Heavyweight Title – Kansas City Golden Gloves from Donald Ellis and progressed to the National Golden Gloves in Omaha, Nebraska, where he beat Javier Alvarez in the early round, Warren Williams in the quarterfinals, yet lost a split choice to Derek Isaman in the elimination rounds. After fourteen days, Morrison participated in the Western Olympic preliminaries in Houston, Texas, overcoming Robert Hargrove by a 4–1 margin in the elimination rounds, and John Bray by a 5–0 margin in the finals, and fitting the bill for the nationals, and collecting the “Remarkable Fighter” grant of the competition. Fourteen days from that point onward, battling out of Republic, Missouri, at the National Olympic Trials in Concord, California, July 6, 1988, Morrison lost a 0–5 decision to Ray Mercer, who proceeded to win the gold medal at the 1988 Seoul Olympics. (They likewise had an earlier bout booked to be held June 16, 1988, at the Felt Forum, New York City. There is no information on why that bout never took place.) 

Tommy Morrison had a strong amateur career, going 202-20 during the course of his career. The peak of his amateur boxing career was his performance in the 1988 Seoul Olympic trials.

Tommy Morrison: Professional Boxing Career

Morrison began kicked off his professional boxing career on November 10, 1988, with a first-round knockout of William Muhammad in New York City. After three weeks, he scored another first-round knockout. In 1989, Morrison had 19 wins and no losses, 15 by knockout.  Around the same time, Hollywood superstar Sylvester Stallone noticed one of Morrison’s sessions. Stallone organized an audition and cast Morrison in the film Rocky V as Tommy “The Machine” Gunn, a youthful and gifted protege of the resigned Rocky Balboa. Morrison required a six-month break from boxing to work on the movie in 1990. 

In 1991, Morrison won battles against adversaries James Tillis and previous best on the planet Pinklon Thomas. He was allowed a chance to confront individual undefeated warrior Ray Mercer, the WBO champion in a Pay Per View card hung on October 18, 1991. Morrison ended up getting the first loss of his pro career, losing by a fifth round knockout. 

He had six victories in 1992, incorporating battles with Art Tucker and Joe Hipp, who later turned into the first Native American to challenge for the world heavyweight title. In the battle against Hipp, Morrison was experiencing what was subsequently found to be a messed up hand and broken jaw. Despite that, he managed to score a knockout in the 10th round. After two successes in 1993, including one throughout double cross world title challenger Carl “The Truth” Williams, Morrison wound up battling for the WBO title once more, against heavyweight boxing legend George Foreman, who was working on giving a second wind to his boxing career.

Morrison decided to try not to take the fight to George Foreman and spent the battle boxing from long range. He had the option to hit and move quickly, giving him an advantage over the older Freeman. After an overwhelming 12 rounds he won a consistent choice and the WBO title, satisfying his youth fantasy about being a champion. 

Morrison’s first title defence was planned against Mike Williams, however when Williams pulled out just before the fight, Tim Tomashek was brought in as a replacement and battled Tommy in a losing effort, Although Tomashek had been set up to battle as a replacement, some news reports made the feeling that he had quite recently been pulled out of the group. The WBO at one point pondered cancelling their endorsing of this battle because of Tomashek’s absence. Very quickly, discussions for a fight with WBC champion Lennox Lewis started. However, they were stopped when for all intents and purposes obscure Michael Bentt upset Morrison in his next session. Bentt thumped Morrison down multiple times, and the battle was halted in the first round before a live HBO Boxing audience. Morrison recuperated by winning three strong fights in succession in 1994, yet his last bout of the year, against Ross Puritty, finished with a draw.

Morrison won three bouts in 1995 preceding gathering previous #1 competitor Razor Ruddock. Ruddock dropped Morrison to his knees in the first round, yet Morrison recuperated and stayed on his feet for five more rounds. In the 6th round, Ruddock hurt Morrison with a fast combo, however similarly as it appeared Morrison was in a difficult situation, he countered with a massive hook that put Ruddock on the canvas. Ruddock recovered, yet Morrison drove him to the ropes and gave him an all-inclusive whirlwind of blows. And just before the bell was about to go off, the official stepped in and proclaimed Morrison the champ by TKO.

The eagerly awaited battle with Lewis, who had additionally lost his big showdown, at long last occurred following the Ruddock match. Morrison was taken out in the 6th round.

The year subsequent to turning pro, Morrison had multiple bouts, taking out 15 adversaries. He endured no losses. During one of those bouts being broadcast on ESPN, Sylvester Stallone’s sibling Frank watched Morrison with interest. He figured the little youngster from Oklahoma would be an ideal fit for a job in his sibling’s impending film. 

Morrison took a six month hiatus from boxing to work on the movie in 1990. Throughout the following five years, The Duke, who was the extraordinary nephew of the incredible entertainer John Wayne, deliberately advanced up to the highest point of the heavyweight division. His first loss as a pro came at the hand of Olympic Gold Medalist Ray Mercer in October 1991.

Following the Mercer rout, he rolled out eight straight wins prior to confronting George Foreman for the vacant WBO heavyweight title. Morrison ended up winning by unanimous decision and procured his first heavyweight title. He lost the title a couple of months later though. 

When was Tommy Morrison diagnosed with HIV? 

In June 1995, Tommy Morrison won the IBC heavyweight title crushing Donovan “Razor” Ruddock. Lennox Lewis crushed Morrison in his next match in October, yet that crushing loss ended up being not worth fretting over. In February 1996, the Nevada Athletic Commission declared Morrison had been tested positive for HIV. He was suspended from the game and the boycott was, in actuality, maintained by each and every other endorsing body. 

The conclusion, suspension, and loss of his job sent Morrison tumbling quicker than a Ray Mercer uppercut. His life spiraled wild with liquor and medications. He was arrested on different occasions for DUIs. He ultimately went to prison for several years for attacking an understudy. 

In spite of an underlying affirmation that his HIV finding was a consequence of his way of life decisions, Morrison and his significant other Trisha denied he at any point tried positive. In 2006, 10 years after his analysis, the Nevada Athletic Commission bafflingly lifted Morrison’s restriction from boxing with no clarification. 

In July 2007, the New York Times detailed that Tommy Morrison took two HIV tests in 2007 and a third explicitly for the Times. HIV specialists assessed the three tests and reasoned that the 1996 outcome had been a bogus positive. 

“The blended outcome in the Jan. 5 test makes it likely that the immune response result is a bogus positive,” as per Dr. Daniel R. Kuritzkes, a Harvard educator who coordinates AIDS research at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and is the administrator of the leading group of the H.I.V. Medication Association. “It’s difficult to know without a doubt what’s happening, however I speculate he was never H.I.V. infected.” 

Trisha Morrison’s battle to prove Tommy Morrison’s innocence

After the negative HIV test results of 2007, Tommy Morrison fought on two additional occasions in West Virginia and Mexico, claiming he never had the infection in any case. After he unfortunately passed away in 2013 from multi-organ failure, Trisha Morrison has proceeded with the battle protecting her significant other’s name. Also, she’s gained ground as of late. 

Somewhat recently, Trisha disclosed to World Boxing News she was allowed to conduct a conference permitting her to introduce proof under the watchful eye of the court. She demonstrated there were numerous parties working in collusion with each other back in 1996. Here are some of Trisha Morrison’s cases: 

• The defendants Quest Diagnostics issued lab reports that are not a diagnosis of any disease, not even HIV. And used testing that does not detect the HIV virus. 

• The Nevada Athletic Commission after they indefinitely suspended Morrison, secretly lifted suspension in 2006. They then denied ever suspending Tommy in 2016 court records. They now deny in 2020 that a diagnosis of HIV was ever made.

• Dr. Margaret Goodman, who is head of Voluntary Anti-Doping Association in Las Vegas, told the media in 2007 that John Hiatt was a renowned pathologist and physician and reviewed Morrison’s 1996 results. “Turns out, he never did that and was not a physician or pathologist,” Trisha said.

What occurs on account of Tommy Morrison is hazy now. In light of proof and the unannounced removal of Morrison’s suspension by the Nevada Athletic Commission years after the event, in addition to clinical specialists currently demonstrating he had false positive results, there are signs that something turned out badly years prior in the underlying analysis. 

Notwithstanding the lawful result, Morrison’s inheritance won’t ever change. He engaged in the boxing ring and on the film screen and in the process, permanently etched his name in the annals of boxing history.

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