Leftridge: ESPN Reports Boxer Tommy Morrison on Death’s Doorstep

tommycoverTommy Morrison has always been a little crazy, and now he’s dying and a little crazy.

According to a post on ESPN.com, Morrison’s 17-year battle with HIV has morphed into full-blown AIDS and the former heavyweight champion’s days are likely limited. He’s been confined to a bed for the better part of a year now—probably in Nebraska, though even this is unconfirmed—being cared for by Trisha, his wife.

If you know anything about Morrison’s strange saga, you’re well aware that he doesn’t believe he has HIV. He doesn’t even really believe that HIV is an ACTUAL thing. Like most insane people, he has his own take on things: Morrison thinks that his diagnosis is a government conspiracy and that it was possibly perpetuated by a rival fight promoter.

Trisha—who has had unprotected sex with her husband, as wives are wont to do—doesn’t believe in the diagnosis either.

If the ESPN report is true—and I’m sure it is—it’s the end of a sad chapter in Kansas City sports history. Though Morrison—star of Rocky V, former owner of exotic animals, earner of $10 mil in fight purses—was originally from the tiny town of Jay, Oklahoma, he made his name in Kansas City, as boxing ambassador, likeable ruffian and perennial Westport Prowler.

otl_g_Morrison2x_600He was once a fixture in our humble city. A “local-ish” boy made good. The clichéd Great White Hype. He won 49 fights (44 by KO) while only losing three. He beat George Foreman in a unanimous 12 round decision to win the WBO championship. He beat Carl “The Truth” Williams and Razor Ruddick. He had a terrific, bloody battle with Lennox Lewis.

And then the wheels fell off.

An indiscriminate party animal fond of both drugs and promiscuity, Morrison contracted the virus and tested positive in February 1996, effectively ending his career before he’d ever really had a chance to peak. He was only 27 at the time, and a tune-up bout away from what would have been an epic fight with Mike Tyson.

With the positive test, he lost the chance to fight Tyson. He lost a three-fight, $38 mil contract. He lost his career and the adulation of his fans (the latter of which is often cited as having a tremendous impact on Morrison’s post-ring troubles ).

In effect, he lost his life.

He spiraled downward for the next 17 years, preaching his crackpot HIV theories to those who’d listen, all the while ignoring the fact that the malady that didn’t exist was eating away his insides, bringing him ever closer to death.

Tommy-Morrison-No-seriously-this-is-Tommy-MorrisonHe continued to abuse drugs and then he’d get arrested for it. He’d get clean, then relapse.

In 2010, he’d mostly gotten his shit together and was running a gym in Wichita called TCB (Taking Care of Buisness).

The gym closed shortly thereafter, though, and Tommy was back to his slow march toward an early death.

And now that it’s all but done, I’m left with an odd sadness. Not only because I was a fan—what 10 or 11 year old white kid in 1991’s Kansas City wasn’t?—but because he brought this on himself. HIV is far from the death sentence that it used to be, but due to Morrison’s ridiculous stubbornness, he did nothing to work toward living with the affliction. Because of his insanity, he chose to die in one of the most miserable, prolonged, painful ways imaginable.

And that’s a shame.

Because for a period in the early 90’s, Tommy was Kansas City. He brought an electricity to our town like George Brett and Len Dawson did.  He was Tom Watson with gigantic biceps and a propensity for punching guys in the head. By virtue of his violent ballet, he added a dash of Hollywood to KC.

It’s really too bad his inability to accept the truth got in the way of his ability to stay alive.

Rest in peace, Tommy.

 

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82 Responses to Leftridge: ESPN Reports Boxer Tommy Morrison on Death’s Doorstep

  1. Orphan of the Road says:

    For those of us exiled in strange cities, living a different life, he was interesting. He got buzz around Philadelphia. It was a boxing haven and he fought often in Atlantic City.

    Those beasts dwell inside us all, sometimes they are more than one can bear.

    May he find the peace he hasn’t known for years.

  2. the dude says:

    How could a man with a sweet, sweet haircut like the first pic get the full blown AIDS?
    There is no god.

  3. Wow. Just sad on that last picture. I am going to limit my bitching from now on. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone, either.

  4. chuck says:

    Hope he is not in too much pain, God knows the dude suffered these last 20 years.

    I realize after flying a little too close to the sun, that his pain was mostly self inflicted, but jeeze Louise…

    The bastard was so tough, he is probably rubbing dirt on his Morgellon Sores and promising to be in the ring again in 2 weeks.

    Orphan would apprciate this quote for Mr. Morrison as he shuffles that mortal coil.

    “I’m the one that’s got to die when it’s time for me to die, so let me live my life the way I want to.”
    ― Jimi Hendrix, Jimi Hendrix – Axis: Bold as Love

  5. Kelly Sloan says:

    Not sure you can compare tommy to Brett or Dawson….seriously?!

    • It terms of nationally known KC athletes? I think so.

      • Irishguy says:

        Yep. He was nationally known for a short time. So were Otis Taylor, Frank White, Mike Garrett, Bo Jackson, Amos Otis, Priest Holmes, Willie Wilson, Bret Saberhagen, Jan Stenerud, Buck Buchanan, Curly Culp, the list can go on and on. And include Tony Chiaverini, a KC boxer at least as nationally famous in his day as Morrison.

        So what was the point again?

        • Brandon Leftridge says:

          That’s right… Willie Wilson was great in that movie he made with Sylvester Stallone.

          Look, I’m not saying Morrison was one of the three or four greatest athletes in Kansas City history. I’m suggesting that, for a period, he was as nationally synonymous a “KC” athlete as Brett, Dawson, Watson, etc.

          He occupied a larger percentage of public exposure because of his crossover status. That’s all.

          • Irishguy says:

            Oh, so you’re not nationally known if you don’t make a (very, very bad) movie? And that disqualifies Willie Wilson, Bret Saberhagen, Priest Holmes, et al?

            OK. So what movie did Len Dawson, George Brett and Tom Watson make? With Sylvester Stallone, I might add.

            You know, I’m not going to knock Tommy Morrison. But please, let’s don’t make either his boxing career or movie career more than it was.

            He had his brief moment in the spotlight. It was what it was, nothing more, nothing less.

          • kcguyjd says:

            I agree with you Brandon. When he was at his peak, I think he could absolutely be included with those two in terms of national recognition.

            He had won the WBO Heavyweight Championship of the world (beating one of the most popular boxers of the day in George Foreman), he was co-star in a major motion picture with the biggest Hollywood star of the time, and…oh by the way, at the time of his diagnosis, he was one fight away from a title fight with a little known boxer named Mike Tyson.

            I think trying to make an argument that guys like Willie Wilson and Curly Culp were anywhere close to Tommy Morrison in terms of national recognition is silly.

        • Hearne says:

          No tommy was in a league above those guys in terms of national notoriety. And local too.

          He was the great white hope. Starred in a rocky movie when rocky mattered. The fights he was about to be in would have been for more money and fame that any of those guys ever dreamed of.

        • Hearne says:

          I take it back on Bo Jackson. He was huge but tony chivarini didn’t come close. Not within a million miles

        • Bob Muhballzitch says:

          WOW! Is it even possible that ANYOne on the internet can even know half as much as you do? I wanna be just like you when I too, am old and miserable! I idolize you and strive to be like you.

  6. mark smith says:

    Good one Lefty. Morrison had sledgehammer hands but after Ray Mercer caught him in that corner it revealed a chin that wouldn’t have stood up to Tyson. Would have been one more notch on Tysons belt, but fun to watch while it lasted. It seems like the Rocky movie was the beginning of his long slide to the bottom. Went to his head, lost his focus. Hard to believe the young Morrison is the same guy as the last photo.

  7. Mysterious J says:

    Can’t wait to read who Hearne uses Tommy’s corpse to take a swipe at!

    • Hearne says:

      Your wait is over

      • Dawn says:

        Mysterious J and Hearne…….y’all should be ashamed of yourselves. Show some respect for a dying man. Even if you don’t like Tom, try thinking about his kids who are dealing with losing their Dad at any moment. Don’t you think that there is a chance they may be reading this and here y’all are talking about their Dad’s corpse? It’s disgusting. And Hearne, I got your message yesterday. Glad I didn’t call back.

        • the dude says:

          Think about the littleun’s!!
          Lawdy almighty!!

          • Dawm says:

            You know, I was hoping you could be respectful, “dude” but forget it. There’s no use. To be honest, I’m his ex-wife and there is no love lost between me and Tom. But still yet, I have a 14 yr old and a 9 yr old that love their Dad, no matter what mistakes he made. His 2 adult sons love him and are having a really hard time dealing with this. He’s still just “Dad.” Be a smart mouth if it makes you feel better. Maybe one day, if you have kids, you’ll have to look into your kids’ eyes and tell them their Mom is dying. Even with your flippant, mocking, disrespectful attitude, I hope you never have to give your kids that news and watch them cry. It will rip your heart out. I wouldn’t wish that on you or anyone else.

        • Hearne says:

          Hey dawn, I wanted to reach out to you as I have in the past as the voice of reason where tommy is concerned.

          I sympathize with u where many of the tacky comments are concerned but those are not my words, I hope u understand.

          Please give me a call back and the very least lets talk off the record. I’m very sorry about having to tell your kids and as a dad, totally understand.

          They’re older now and things like this no longer flies over their heads. With your counsel though, I’m thinking you will get them thru this. It was never going to be pretty and I know you know this and knew this all along.

          The bottom line being, you made the right moves in spite of all the heartbreak and difficulties to give them a solid foundation. I know you, dawn and have nothing but admiration for what you endured and how you have handled things

  8. mark smith says:

    just read this they claim it’s not aids. After all of the wacky things he said in the past it’s a dubious claim but who knows? http://www.proboxing-fans.com/tommy-morrison-update-fighting-off-serious-illness-but-not-hiv_082213/

  9. Good god, was that written by Morrison’s wife? The ESPN piece acknowledged the other syndrome, but it’s very probable that he’s got a whole mess of things going on, chief among them HIV/AIDS.

    • Hearne says:

      Yep. The dawn who married tommy twice.

      She tried really hard and at one point looked like she’d turned tommy around. Sadly it was not to be

  10. Carter Hamilton says:

    Last time, four years ago, I saw Tommy he was selling his memorabilia at his flea market booth off of south Meridian in Wichita, KS. Sad story really. Insanity at it’s worst.

  11. harley says:

    Having known tommy from his early days with the Ringside people I can
    tell you this that underneath the steel and fighter was a very very nice
    young man.
    Yes…he made some bad decisions ….leaving john…taking a
    fight that cost him a large contract….his personal life…..but just like all
    of us we all make mistakes …he never really looked back.
    Last saw him at a funeral in kc for a mutual friend and he looked
    pretty good. We had a short chat and laughed about some fun times we’d had
    over the early years.
    He helped us develop first boxing classes ever at Bally and even
    came to the first class we put on at 110th street.
    I’ll never forget being in vegas for his championship fight. Incredible. Plus
    the other 8-9 fights I watched in person.
    May god be with him during these tough times and hopefully he’ll
    get up off the canvas and make another comeback.

    • chuck says:

      Hey Harley, if Ringo Starr gets sick and Hearne does a piece on his imminent demise, I am expecting all the details on that day you, John and Paul wrote “Hey Jude”.

      :)

      • mark smith says:

        Now that was funny.

        • SmartmanFromBeyond says:

          Trying to make sense of Harley’s comments is like trying to explain Mexican food to an Amish person.

          • SmartmanFromBeyond says:

            Harley, the trees in your yard work tirelessly to produce oxygen for you to breath. You owe them an apology.

      • paulwilsonkc says:

        +, oh, I don’t know, maybe a million.

        • the dude says:

          +10 million.

          • paulwilsonkc says:

            (Show off)

          • harley says:

            big time night for the old guys on kcc..
            you’re on kcc on a great Saturday night
            at 9pm worrying about Harley.
            Let me put it this way….you guys need
            to get a life…or a new woman!!!!!!! If that’s
            how you spend your Saturday nights you’re
            bigger losers than anyone on here….you spend
            all your time thinkingof Harley…what losers!!!!
            as far as tommy…followed him in his fighting
            days…had him down to the lake on my
            houseboat coupkle times….did a project with
            him, and
            brown and some other people….tommy was
            a good person….just made some mistakes.
            As far as chuckles the sad clown…how come
            you’re not writing on tkc with your usual
            racist rants?
            hope tommy gets better….sad story.

          • Cheech says:

            Hey harley-dumbass. Ever hear of smartphones? I’m on my real boat reading about your fake boat and fake connection to Tommy. Serendipity. Look it up, douche. You’re too stupid to merit a comment. You are aware people can comment from planes, trains and automobiles; they aren’t all at home in their hovels like you, pretending its a $800k museum of art.

          • harley says:

            even worse cheesy cheech is that if they
            were in a car…train…plane….that they’d
            be thinking about harley…
            that’s even worse….a horrible existence
            thinking that they’re traveling somewhere..
            or even at home by themselves on the
            blog of the internet…thinking of Harley.
            what a bunch of losers!!!!!!
            either they need to get some friends…
            a new woman to hang with or do something
            more constructive on aweekend nite than
            worry about Harley and the comments on
            kcc.
            sheeesh….what a bunch of idiots!!!!!!!!

          • SmartmanFromBeyond says:

            Trying to make sense of Harley’s comments is like trying to explain Mexican food to an Amish person.

  12. CG says:

    Poor guy. Tommy and I were pals back in his heyday. In fact Tommy and Stanfords were close to making a deal in Westport for a bar, where the Harris House was, called Tommy Morrisons. With a VIP ring in the middle. I always enjoyed him, he helped promote and was on stage for the big Red Friday that year as well. We spoke over the years but less and less. Last time I saw him was a couple years ago when was on 98,9 the Rock with Dare. He didn’t look very good, very thin, a shadow of his former self. I am sad to hear this, I had hoped he would bounce back. He was something. Damn. He will be missed.

    • Marco C 4u says:

      Pity you didn’t get AIDS yourself, Craig.

      • Jess says:

        Who is saying he doesn’t?

        • the dude says:

          The gut and all the pudge gives it away for me.

          • CG says:

            Know what unlike most of you here, I knew the man. Liked him. He wasn’t a super smart guy, but tried to be a friend. I didn’t need to go after Morrison he asked me to do the bar. You may not like it chumps but over the last 20 years there are few higher profile guys around this town than me. Better known now even. As for the body crack, please I am in better shape than likely anyone who comments here, certainly you three wall flowers. Guys nobody including the ex ball players fields as many hot women as the ‘kid’ and at this age, never been done. You better be in shape. Just sayin. Enjoy.

  13. KCMonarch says:

    We now know at least two of the regular commenters here leeched onto young Mr. Morrison during his heyday. I for one am soooo impressed. Please tell me more.

  14. Rick says:

    And anyone who truly knew Tommy, knew Stallone was the beginning of the end for him. Tommy told me himself, that Sylvester told him that he had to buff up to be in the Rocky V movie. Said S.S. furnished, showed and did roids w/him. Along w/coke & heroin. After Stallone & Toby Keith were done with the red head in the movie, she passed down to Tommy. So, if we’re going cast stones, start with Rocky!
    I have stories upon stories from & about both sides of Tommy. Lots of memories!

  15. randyraley says:

    I did a remote with Tommy from the Jones Store back in the day. They paid him in clothes. It seems that’s what he needed.
    He was always nice to me, even after the Rocky deal.
    Good dude.

  16. Gary Shull says:

    Tommy had some great people working with him ” John Brown and Tom Virgets ”
    to name a few. He was just young and just wouldn’t listen to
    what Tom and John would try and tell him. I remember John Brown asking Tommy
    for just a few years dedicated to Training and Boxing and he would help make
    him a millonaire. They worked hard but together but Tommy was young and
    would not listen to them. John Brown and Tom Virgets worked hard to help
    Tommy become the fighter he was. God Bless them all, maybe a lesson learned
    for us all. I hope Tommy finds happiness. as always, Gary Shull

    • harley says:

      yes gary….john brown was a great figure for tommy….but tommy
      went another direction….
      hope things get better for him and his family.

      • SmartmanFromBeyond says:

        Harley – Apostle of the Obvious. How could we analyze without him? So much depth, so much meaning.

  17. Gary Shull says:

    Tommy had some great people working with him ” John Brown and Tom Virgets ”
    to name a few. He was just young and just wouldn’t listen to
    what Tom and John would try and tell him. I remember John Brown asking Tommy
    for just a few years dedicated to Training and Boxing and he would help make
    him a millonaire. They worked hard but together but Tommy was young and
    would not listen to them. John Brown and Tom Virgets worked hard to help
    Tommy become the fighter he was. God Bless them all, maybe a lesson learned
    for us all. I hope Tommy finds happiness. as always, Gary Shull

    • chuck says:

      Gary you might remember me if you saw me, I love the story about you fighting the bear. I met ya at the “Little House”.

      Hope you are doing well.

      Hearne should have you write about some of your experiences in the old days.

      • chuck says:

        P.S. I am playing golf with Steve H. next week, he is on the straight and narrow.

        My apologies for turning the thread into fazeboooook.

        :(

      • harley says:

        ya…you can remember chuck the sad clown gary..
        he’s the little bald headed guy, 65 years old, on ss, wearing the white sheets.
        He’s known in kc for being a hater on non whites and
        he’s been a loser all his life.
        He’s the one always wearing overalls.!!!!!!

  18. strongman says:

    Listen feel horrible for tommy but the fact he tried to comeback faking he never had HIV giving bogus blood tests to anyone that wanted to believe NO EXCUSE he could of infected other boxers who believed the sport was looking out for them.This whole story did not have to be so tragic.

    • Klink says:

      HIV does not cause AIDS neither is it contagious. See the work of leading retrovirologist, Dr Peter Duesberg. The HIV test is inherently flawed and does return false positives.

  19. Klink says:

    TM is right about HIV/AIDS. If he is sick and dying today it is because he relented and began the toxic pharX.

  20. Rick says:

    Dawn, if this the Dawn I think it is, contact me. You should remember me.

    And anyone who truly knew Tommy, knew Stallone was the beginning of the end for him. Tommy told me himself, that Sylvester told him that he had to buff up to be in the Rocky V movie. Said S.S. furnished, showed and did roids w/him. Along w/coke & heroin. After Stallone & Toby Keith were done with the red head in the movie, she passed down to Tommy. So, if we’re going cast stones, start with Rocky!
    I have stories upon stories from & about both sides of Tommy. Lots of memories!

    • the dude says:

      Ah yes, always some other person’s fault. Not mine, it was that dude’s fault that enabled me, yeah.
      Whatever helps ya feel better at the end of the day, eh?

  21. he is dying from drugs and not the fiction disease

    • Jake says:

      You’re a fucking retard, Tommy Morrison died from AIDS, you’re probably one of those HIV+ AIDS denialists, the good thing is that the problem will correct itself, once all you stupid denialists have died off we won’t have to listen to all your conspiracy bullshit, oh and peter duesberg is the laughing stock. Of the scientific community because of his AIDS denialist bullshit, he couldn’t get a grant to study a dan thing anymore because he is a god damn quack

  22. Noreen Martin says:

    Rest in peace Tommy. How can anyone contract a virus via “antibodies?” Tommy was ahead of his time in regards to HIV. He knew that this “illusive” virus cannot be found in anyone on the planet. HIV is a money-making scam, put and simple. Why don’t reporters do the proper story about AIDS, as there are so many of us here who do not take the toxic drugs and are fine. For those not familiar with all of this go to YouTube and watch the House of Numbers Documentary or go to any Rethinking AIDS sites and learn the truth!

  23. Keith says:

    Boy, this article isn’t disrespectful at all.

  24. Thomas says:

    RIP TOMMY!! Growing up a boxing fan, and watching his fights, I thought he was good in the ring and could one day be great. He never had that chance, guess he decided other things were more important…..

  25. Chris says:

    You know, I was a fan of tommy from the start of his young career and while u don’t trust my government, I would look closer to Mike Tyson’s team. They knew that tommy had a good chance of tearing mike up with his vicious left hook. The probably found an aids riddin whore and sent her after him. I wouldn’t put it past them. Don King, as a promoter and a human, was real garbage. I’m just saying, is it out of the realm of possibilities, no, I think not. Rest in peace Tommy, you are missed.

  26. Chris Showalter says:

    The last time I saw Tommy was in Tulsa, Ok at fight night 1996 he was one of the judges there, and I was boxing that night two of the judges scored my bout even but Tommy scored the fight for me against a Oklahoma fighter, that moment in life will stay with me to the end of mine. RIP Tommy

  27. Jeff Hunter says:

    Tommy Morrison was a bull in the ring…. R.I.P. Bro.!

  28. JohnnyG says:

    I hope that Steven can be free now to tell it like it is. Steven has been Tommy’s best friend and loyalist for over 23 years, longer than anyone. Any guy can only wish for a friend like that. I’m sorry for the loss. That crazy Trisha (the wife of less than two years) kept him on tubes and life support for no good reason for such a long time. It has been so hurtful to his family, his children and friends. She should be ashamed. All to have the storybook ending the way she wanted to spin it her way. Steven…tell it like it is.

  29. Jim says:

    Aids is real and Tommy died needlessly. I hope he found God and peace in his final days.

  30. Gil says:

    RIP, Champ and I mean that. In all honesty, I believe Tommy would have beaten Tyson had they had the chance to fight at the time. In fact, I always thought of Tommy as a “white” version of a prime Mike Tyson..explosive and virtually unstoppable in the ring.