"I zigged when I should have zagged."
September 2, 2013 7:24 PM Subscribe
Tommy "The Duke" Morrison
posted by playertobenamedlater (15 comments total)
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, grand nephew of John Wayne, former WBO heavyweight champion, co-star of Rocky V
, and, later, supporter of the HIV Denial movement
, has passed away at 44.
Morrison, who defeated George Foreman to win the vacant WBO heavyweight title in 1993
and saw high profile bouts against Razor Ruddock (win) and Lennox Lewis (loss), saw his professional boxing career derailed when he tested positive for the HIV virus in February 1996
prior to a warm-up fight that Morrison hoped would lead to a bout against Mike Tyson. At first Morrison embraced his status, took antiretroviral medication, and spoke out about the self-destructive behavior and promiscuity that lead to his contracting HIV. Later he become a staunch supporter of the HIV Denial movement
insisting his positive HIV tests in 1996 in Nevada were the result of false positives
and part of a larger conspiracy against him.
After spending time in prison on drug and firearm charges
Morrison attempted numerous comebacks, even going so far as to get pectoral implants
to conceal muscle wasting. Finding willing opponents and state boxing commissions to license him difficult, Morrison sought out bouts in states without blood testing and lax licensing standards. One of his more memorable final bouts took place against MMA promoter Corey Williams
in Wyoming in 2009.