The Unwise Return of Tommy Morrison?

TommyI’ve found it hard to fathom quite how American heavyweight Tommy Morrison, 46-3, has been cleared to fight again a decade or more on from the announcement he’d contracted HIV at some unknown point during his sexual voyage through an unquantifiable number of female companions. My bemusement appears to be widespread with conflicting medical opinion on the legitimacy of Morrison’s claim that he is either cured, or the victim of a misdiagnosis.

Whatever the detail, the opponent from the film Rocky V, will once again be climbing between the ropes toward competitive action. A 4 round fight with John Castle the first tentative step on the road back.

The timing is predictable as a new generation of fans discover Rocky Balboa, and the past generations with whom Tommy Morrisonand the character he played, Tommy Gunn, share history, return to the series. Morrison’s life is certainly been an eventful story, not only known as the protege of the then retired Rocky in the fifth installment Morrison also claims to be a distant relative of John Wayne, the legendary American actor.  So showbiz is no stranger to the blond-haired puncher. Prison time for drugs and weapons related offences cast another shadow over the former WBO Heavyweight champion’s past too.

Quite how much a 38 year old fighter can have left following a period of ten years away from the sport and with a loss of some of the muscle mass he had during his career during his time out of the ring is difficult to judge.  Few fighters return following such a ‘sabbatical’, Foreman did it but he remains an exception and he was a more gifted heavyweight than Morrison.

In a heavyweight division devoid of personality it wouldn’t take much for him to earn a major pay day but I do worry for the implications to a sport that has now welcomed back Joe Mesi, a fighter who has suffered bleeding on the brain, and Tommy Morrison, a fighter once proven to be carrying HIV.

Providing he beats Castle, 4-2, then Morrison has a further seven fights agreed with promoter Top Rank.

A fuller report from the Salt Lake Tribune is available here.

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