Tommy Morrison died this weekend at the age of 44.
Morrison, a heavy weight boxer who fought against icons like Lennox Lewis and George Foreman, is known by many as Tommy “Machine” Gunn from the movie Rocky V.
Morrison’s family said that the boxer passed away at a Nebraska hospital on Sunday night but they did not disclose a cause of death. The website MMA Dirty, however, reports that Morrison died of “respiratory and metabolic acidosis and multiple organ failure.”
Morrison was a top boxer in the early 90s. The boxer reached the pinnacle of his career in 1993 when he defeated George Foreman to win the WBO Heavyweight title.
But Morrison’s reign at the top was short lived as he quickly fell from grace. The first blow came during a surprising loss to Michael Bentt. Not only did Morrison get knocked down three times but he also lost the chance to face Lewis in a high-profile bout.
The biggest blow, however, came in 1996 when Morrison tested positive for HIV. The boxer never admitted that he had HIV but he did lose his license to box in Nevada. After that, Morrison found himself in trouble with the law. He had multiple DUIs and eventually ended up in prison for two years on weapons charges.
His promoter Tommy Holden said: “When he first was (about HIV), I was taking him to seek treatment and to different doctors around the country. And then he started research on the Internet and started saying it was a conspiracy. He went in that direction and never looked back.”
Holden would return to the ring in 2007 for a few fights but he never returned to his former status. Holden told CBS that Morrison could have been one of the top boxers in history if the circumstances were a little different.
Holden said: “If Tommy was fighting today, he no doubt would be a world champion… You have to look at who he was fighting in the `90s, the guys in that division were Tyson, Lennox Lewis, Riddick Bowe, Ray Mercer, George Foreman. There’s no one with that talent today. Tommy would absolutely dominate if he were in his prime boxing today.”