Mike Tyson used steroids
My ring is outside
In the early 1990s boxer Tommy Morrison played a leading role in the fifth part of Sylvester Stallone's Rocky saga. But apart from Hollywood, the young heavyweight quickly made a name for himself. He stood in the ring with George Foreman and Lennox Lewis before a diagnosis changed his life.
When Sylvester Stallone was inducted into the Boxing Hall of Fame for his Rocky series in June of this year in Canastota, along with Mike Tyson and other boxing legends, a protagonist of sequels fought in Emporia, Kansas, about 2000km further west Boxer saga once again about his freedom.
It was 1989 when Stallone first saw the then 20-year-old heavyweight Tommy Morrison in action with the idea for Rocky V in mind.
A year earlier, the Duke - as Morrison called himself because of his alleged kinship with John Wayne - had turned professional and seemed made for the lead role as a talented youngster and admirer of the resigned Italian Stallion.
Stallone auditioned Morrison and hired him to play Tommy Machine Gunn. A stroke of luck also for the "real" boxer Morrison: His popularity skyrocketed and opened numerous doors for the smart model athlete.
Film star and "great white hope"
With popularity behind him and already celebrated as the "Great White Hope", the 1.88 meter tall fighter defeated his first 28 opponents, many of them by knockout.
The left hook in particular became the dreaded trademark of the former "Toughman", which two stunt people also got to feel during the filming of Rocky V. They later sued Stallone and the production company for $ 20 million in damages over a broken jaw and eye socket.
Less than a year after Rocky V hit theaters, Morrison got his first chance to fight for the WBO world championship belt. In Atlantic City he met the also undefeated rival from amateur times, Ray Mercer. The 1988 Olympic champion made short work of himself and knocked Morrison out in the fifth round.
Drug problems as a constant companion
Even at this time, Morrison had repeatedly struggled with drug problems and had various criminal records. Despite his difficulties outside the ring, he received another world championship fight in June 1993.
His opponent in Las Vegas: 44-year-old superstar George Foreman. He defeated the old master clearly on points over 12 rounds and was at the peak of his career.
But the joy did not last long. In the next but one fight he had to go down completely surprisingly against the inexperienced professional and intended to be a build-up opponent, US American Michael Bentt.
The title was gone, and at the same time Morrison's private life was falling apart. Drug, gun and violent crimes: the list of his misconduct grew from year to year. Nevertheless, he remained active in the ring.
Loss to Lewis and HIV diagnosis
A series of victories against nameless walk-in customers and two heavy battles against Ross Puritty and Donovan Razor Ruddock helped him to his last appearance on the big stage in October 1995. In the Convention Center of Atlantic City he met Lennox Lewis and had to admit defeat to the heavyweight superstar after six rounds.
Then a nightmare began for him, which has him firmly in its clutches to this day. In early 1996, Morrison was diagnosed with HIV. He wanted one last fight, which he then fought in Japan in November of the same year due to a lack of a license in the USA.
In a tragic way, his boxing career came to an abrupt end and the star, who had recently been celebrated, was at a crossroads - where he then turned wrong.
Two comeback fights and another break
The now 42-year-old has denied being HIV-positive several times in the past five years. In an interview with USA Today, he claimed that steroids caused the positive test in 1996 and that he was perfectly healthy. He wanted to get another boxing license through medical certificates. In 2007 he was even able to celebrate a small success.
A laboratory tested Morrison HIV negative, whereupon he actually fought two more fights. However, independent doctors pointed out that the negative result was probably due to regular use of antiretroviral drugs. In the event of discontinuation, the test results would be positive again.
Therefore, Morrison was still denied boxing permission. He then caused a stir with claims that HIV was a fairy tale and was invented by scientists to make money. Governments would uphold this lie.
He still lives like a healthy person and also has unprotected sexual intercourse with his partner. Apart from these crude theories, not much has been heard from him since then. Until February this year.
New arrests and imprisonment
He was arrested again in his native Kansas and charged with drug possession. In June, however, the prosecution dropped the lawsuit.
Reason: The policeman who arrested him fell victim to a traffic accident and the proceedings could not continue without the only witness. Lucky you might think.
The next arrest followed in August. He was detained in Tennessee on a 2010 arrest warrant and transferred to Sedgwick County Jail. He has been there for drug possession ever since. The penniless ex-boxer cannot deposit the bail of US $ 50,000.
Photo documents alarming condition
The re-imprisonment of Morrison is not particularly surprising, but the physical condition in which the former powerhouse is now all the more. In the pictures published by the Sedgwick County Sheriff's Office, even his own mother probably wouldn't recognize him.
Aged by years and emaciated, he has little in common with the Tommy Morrison, who is known from Rocky or one of his numerous ring battles.
It seems as if the years of alcohol and drug problems and, last but not least, his HIV illness had severely affected him.
Wife: "He has no one left"
For this reason, Morrison's wife Trisha Harding has been fighting every free minute to get her husband released.
"He has no one left but me," she told the press while also asking fans for financial support to bring Morrison home. She doesn't know how things will go on for him afterwards either.
"My ring is outside," said Rocky Balboa in the film's closing scenes before teaching Tommy Gunn a lesson. For Tommy Morrison, this quote has become a reality.
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