Tommy Morrison: Boxing Documentary

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Tommy Morrison: Boxing Documentary
Documentary on Heavyweight champion boxer Tommy Morrison, his life and career.

Tommy Morrison (born January 2, 1969) is an American heavyweight boxer and a former World Boxing Organization champion. He lost only three out of a total of 52 professional fights. Morrison's nickname, "The Duke," is based on disputed claims that he is a grandnephew of Hollywood star John Wayne. Morrison was a co-star with Sylvester Stallone in the 1990 boxing movie Rocky V.

Morrison's professional boxing career ended for many years when he tested positive for HIV in 1996. Beginning in 2006, Morrison attempted a comeback, stating his HIV diagnosis was negative.

Morrison started his professional boxing career on November 10, 1988, with a first-round knockout of William Muhammad in New York City. Three weeks later, he scored another first-round knockout. In 1989, Morrison had 19 wins and no losses, 15 by knockout.
In 1991, Morrison, already the recipient of much television exposure, won fights against opponents James Quick Tillis and former world champion Pinklon Thomas. He was given an opportunity to face fellow undefeated fighter Ray Mercer, the WBO title holder in a Pay Per View card held on October 18, 1991. Morrison suffered the first loss of his career, losing by 5th round knockout. Morrison had six wins in 1992, including fights with Art Tucker and Joe Hipp, who would later become the first Native American to challenge for the world heavyweight title. In the Hipp fight, held June 19, 1992, Morrison was suffering from what was later discovered to be a broken hand and broken jaw, but rallied to score a knockout in the ninth round. After two wins in 1993, including one over two-time world title challenger Carl "The Truth" Williams, Morrison found himself fighting for the WBO title again, against heavyweight boxing legend George Foreman, who was himself making a comeback. As both men were famed for their punching power, an exciting battle was expected, but Morrison chose to avoid brawling with Foreman and spent the fight boxing from long range. Morrison was able to hit and move effectively in this manner, and after a closely contested bout he won a unanimous 12-round decision and the WBO title.

Morrison's first title defense was scheduled against Mike Williams, but when Williams withdrew on the night of the fight, Tim Tomashek stood in as a replacement. Although Tomashek had been prepared to fight as a backup plan, some news reports created the impression that he had just been pulled out of the crowd. The WBO later rescinded their sanctioning of this 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. Bentt knocked Morrison down three times, and the fight was stopped in the first round in front of a live HBO Boxing audience. Morrison recovered by winning three bouts in a row in 1994, but his last fight of the year, against Ross Puritty, ended with a draw.

Morrison won three fights in 1995 before meeting former #1 contender Razor Ruddock. Ruddock dropped Morrison to his knees in the first round, but Morrison recovered to force a standing count in round two and compete on even terms for five rounds. In the sixth round, Ruddock hurt Morrison with a quick combination, but just as it seemed Morrison was in trouble, he countered with a tremendous hook that put Ruddock on the canvas. Ruddock regained his feet, but Morrison drove him to the ropes and showered him with an extended flurry of blows. Just as the bell was about to sound, 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.

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