Ex-Champ Tommy Morrison Dies at 44

Ex-Champ Tommy Morrison Dies at 44

The former heavyweight champion who was knocked out of the ring by a positive HIV test he later claimed was bogus has died at 44. Tommy Morrison knocked out 29 of his 52 opponents in the first two rounds, but showed he could go the distance with a 12-round unanimous decision over George Foreman to claim a share of the heavyweight title in 1993, and later starred in Rocky V.

At the age of 24, Morrison beat George Foreman to run his record to 37-1 and claim a share of the heavyweight title with Lennox Lewis and Reddick Bowe. He defended his WBO title against Tim Tomashek, but then took on his third opponent in less than four months and was stunned by a first round knockout punch by Michael Bentt to lose the crown.

He went 7-0-1 over the next two years to stay in contention for the belt before losing to Lennox Lewis in 1995. He bounced right back to knock out Marcus Rhode in the first round to run his record to 46-3-1 in March of 1996, but before his next fight he was tested positive for HIV and forced out of the ring.

Morrison initially accepted the results of the test, but in future years said they were not accurate and he did not have HIV. He lost 11 years of boxing and a chance to regain the Heavyweight title, though he did star in Rocky V during that time.

However, various tests later did in fact indicate he did not have HIV, allowing him to finally return to the ring at the age of 38. Though well past his prime, he scored two early knockouts to finish out his career at 48-3-1.

His last fight was in February of 2008, and ESPN reported in recent broadcasts that family members say he recently was confined to his bed and feeding tubes.

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