At the Thomas & Mack Center, Morrison fought the most disciplined fight of his career. 

Morrison was not merely a white hope fueled on hype. He possessed serious power, the heart of a lion, and the ability to come back from adversity…

By:  David L. Hudson Jr. –

Former WBO heavyweight champion Tommy “The Duke” Morrison lost his life at the tender age of 44, but not before the muscle-bound, power-puncher of Rocky fame created some memorable moments for fight fans. Many may remember his fistic career most for the horrific knockout he suffered at the hands of “Merciless” Ray Mercer in 1991, the one-sided beating he took from Lennox Lewis in 1995, or his interminable battle with AIDS. But Morrison was not merely a white hope fueled on hype. He possessed serious power, the heart of a lion, and the ability to come back from adversity. The following are five of his greatest ring moments.

(5) January 11, 1991: TKO 1 James Tillis
The undefeated Morrison entered the ring at the Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City, New Jersey, against former world title challenger James “Quick” Tillis, a fellow Midwesterner. Tillis was on the downside of his once-promising career, having 17 losses, to go along with his 39 wins and 1 draw. But in most of those fights he managed to go the distance, including taking a young Mike Tyson a full 10 rounds in 1986. However, Morrison showed the raw power that endeared him to many, as he put Tillis on the deck three times in under two minutes in round one. He dropped him first with his mean left hook, the second time with a ferocious right uppercut, and the third time with another hook. As ring analyst Al Bernstein, not normally given to understatement, said at the time, “I guess [Morrison] does have a good left hook.”

(4) February 19, 1991: TKO 1 Pinklon Thomas
Morrison’s next trip to the ring matched him with another fighter on the downside of his career—former world champion Pinklon Thomas, he of the potent left jab and quick hands. The 33-year-old Thomas (30-5-1 coming in) had only been stopped twice before facing Morrison, by Mike Tyson in 1987 and Evander Holyfield in 1988. At Kemper Arena in Kansas City, Missouri, Morrison opened up a nasty gash over the ex-champion’s right eye. He battered Thomas with left hooks to the body and once again showcased a dangerous right uppercut. Thomas did not go down in the first round. He didn’t, however, come out for the second.

(3) June 27, 1992: TKO 9 Joe Hipp
Morrison squared off against fellow contender Joe Hipp at Bally’s Hotel & Casino in Reno, Nevada, in an unforgettable war. The southpaw Hipp entered the ring with a solid 24-2 record and was a tough, durable opponent. Morrison suffered a broken jaw and hand during the bout (Hipp had his cheekbone shattered.). Hipp bloodied Morrison in the fourth round and hurt him badly numerous times with combination punching. Although Hipp was down in the fifth, by rounds eight and nine it looked like the underdog might stop Morrison. But “The Duke” rallied with his patented right uppercut bomb and stopped Hipp at 2:47 of round nine. It wasn’t pretty, but this bout epitomized the crowd-pleasing style and heart of Morrison.

(2) January 16, 1993: TKO 8 Carl Williams
Carl “The Truth” Williams lost a disputed decision to the great Larry Holmes in 1985 for the IBF heavyweight title. He also suffered a devastating first round knockout at the hands of Mike Tyson in 1989, when “the baddest man on the planet” was still near the peak of his powers and decimating the division. A win over Morrison would catapult Williams back into contention. It was not to be. At the Reno-Sparks Convention Center in Reno, Nevada, Morrison dropped Williams once in the first round and once in the third round, each time with his patented left hook. But Williams fought well in spurts. He won the fourth and dropped Morrison twice in the fifth. But Tommy came back and showed great heart that night. He was pummeling Williams along the ropes when referee Mills Lane stopped it at 2:10 of round eight.

(1) June 7, 1993:  W12 George Foreman
Morrison squared off against “Big” George Foreman (72-3 at the time) for the vacant WBO world heavyweight championship. The comebacking Foreman had given Evander Holyfield a tough tussle and many feared that his raw power would at some point stop Morrison, who had been badly hurt by the likes of Ray Mercer, Carl Williams and Joe Hipp. Conventional wisdom, at times more conventional than wise, supported the notion that at some point Morrison would revert to brawling and give the tree-chopping Foreman a puncher’s chance for a knockout. But that night at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, Nevada, Morrison fought the most disciplined fight of his career. He stayed on the outside and used his advantages in speed and youth for the vast majority of the 12-round fight. Foreman said he would retire after the bout. (Amazingly, the next year Foreman became the oldest heavyweight champion in history with his comeback kayo of Michael Moorer.) But on this June night in 1993, Tommy Morrison fulfilled his potential, silenced his critics, and was crowned heavyweight champion of the world.

Fighter’s Info

  • Tommy Morrison

Real Name Tommy David Morrison
Origin Gravette, AR, USA
Date of Birth(Age) 1969.01.02 (44)
Rated at Heavyweight
W-L-D W48+L3+D1=52
Height 6 feet 2 inches
Trainer Tom Virgets

Recent fights:

Date Opponent WLD Result Rnds.
2008.02.09 Matt Weishaar 30-2 W(TKO) 3/6
2007.02.22 John Castle 42-0 W(TKO) 2/4
1996.11.03 Marcus Rhode 151-0 W(TKO) 1/10
1995.10.07 Lennox Lewis 271-0 L(TKO) 6/12
1995.06.10 Donovan Ruddock 274-1 W(TKO) 6/12
1995.05.01 Terry Anderson 208-0 W(KO) 7/10


CANASTOTA, NY – SEPTEMBER 3, 2013 – The International Boxing Hall of Fame joins the worldwide boxing community in mourning the loss of former WBO heavyweight champion Tommy “The Duke” Morrison, who passed away Sunday (Sept. 1st) in Omaha, Nebraska at age 44. 

Tommy Morrison brought so much excitement and energy to the heavyweight division in the 1990s,” said Hall director Ed Brophy. “We were saddened to learn the news of his passing and we offer our condolences to the entire Morrison family.”

Morrison turned professional in 1988 and, with explosive knockout power, especially in his left hook, registered wins over James “Quick” Tillis (TKO 1), Pinklon Thomas (TKO 1), Joe Hipp (TKO 9), Carl Williams (TKO 8) and Razor Ruddock (TKO 6). In 1993 he defeated Hall of Famer George Foreman (W 12) for the WBO heavyweight title. His career record stands at 48-3-1 (42 KOs).

Outside of the ring he gained additional fame starring opposite Sylvester Stallone as “Tommy Gunn” in Rocky V.

Morrison was a frequent visitor to Canastota for the annual Hall of Fame Weekend.

“’The Duke’ was extremely popular and whenever he came to the Hall fans loved the opportunity to be around him,” said Brophy. “And Tommy was very gracious with his fans, always happy to talk about his career, sign an autograph or pose for a photo.”

Below are a few snapshots of Morrison during his visits to “Boxing’s Hometown.”

morrison_foreman  morrison_norton  morrison_shavers  morrison_fans  morrison_fist

morrison_pryor  morrison_spinks  morrison_ward


By Frank Stea –

Former heavyweight champion George Foreman appeard on ATG Radio and discussed several of the up and coming American heavyweights. After going through the names, Foreman views undefeated contender Andy Ruiz (20-0, 14KOs) as the next big thing in the heavyweight division. Foreman does not have the same heavy feeling about crushing puncher Deontay Wilder (29-0, 29KOs). Foreman was more impressed with Ruiz’s recent KO win over undefeated Joe Hanks than Wilder’s brutal KO of former champion Sergei Liakhovich.

“Ruiz, I love him. The guy is a genuine puncher. He was in with an undefeated fighter who didn’t think he would get knocked out. We have a genuine contender coming on to the scene. I think in two and a half years, maybe less – he will be heavyweight champ of the world. [With Deontay Wilder] I only have hope. I hope this is the second coming of a giant that will come in the heavyweight division and clean things up and make everything exciting. Other than hope, I don’t have too much to say about him. The Ruiz guy, I see promise in his future. The other guy – I have hope….that’s all,” Foreman said.–68643


MACAU – An army of journalists and television crews gathered inside to the Venetian Ballroom for the official launching and press conference for the highly anticipated return of boxing icon Manny Pacquiao, who will face Brandon ‘Bam Bam’ Rios of Oxnard, California in a twelve round welterweight clash on November 24. This fight is set for a Sunday morning at the Cotai Arena in Macau and will be aired to the U.S. on November 23 Saturday evening.

Pacquiao arrived here Friday with his wife Jinkee, who was recently elected as the Vice Governor of Sarangani.

pac-rios.macau.pc.130727.11.600wjpg“I want to thank God for another chance to fight again,” the 34 year old two-term congressman said. He also thanked Top rank, the Venetian Hotel and his better half. Pacquiao (54-5-2, 38 KO’s) hasn’t fought since December 8, 2012, when he suffered a sixth round knockout loss at the hands of his arch nemesis, Juan Manuel Marquez.


“It will be a good fight,” Pacquiao continued, “Rios likes to fight toe to toe. There will be a lot of action inside the ring. I pray to God that no one will get hurt. Macau is near the Philippines, so I expect more Filipinos than Mexicans watching this fight.”

The 27 year old Rios (31-1-1, 23 KO’s), who previously won belts at lightweight and junior welterweight, relishes his role as the underdog.


“I am very nervous.” He quipped, “I’m not nervous about the fight, I’m nervous about speaking in front of all of you people.’

Rios turned serious a few seconds later: ‘I want to show the world, all those people who said bad things about me, those who said I’m a punching bag. They will see come November.”

WBO VP for Asia-Pacific Leon Panoncillo told philboxing and said that Pacquiao-Rios will be for the WBO international welterweight title but the World Boxing Organization will have a belt specially made for this blockbuster fight. Also on hand was WBO Pres. Francisco ‘Paco’ Valcarcel who complimented Rios who he described as someone who has the heart to match against Pacquiao. pac-rios.macau.pc.130727.09.600w

Hall of fame trainer Freddie Roach said that he was happy to be working with Manny again. “I have many great fighters in my gym but Manny is number one.”

Top Rank CEO Bob Arum described the fight as a historic event. “Who would have thought forty years ago that a congressman from the Philippines would be fighting a guy from California here in Macau?”

Living legend and two-time heavyweight champion George Foreman spoke on stage and described Pacquiao-Rios as a great battle between a guy who can punch really hard and someone who can take a punch very well.

The promotional tour will take the adversaries to Beijing, Shanghai and Singapore before returning to the United States for appearances in Connecticut, Los Angeles and New York.

Photos by Dong Secuya.


By Jeff Zimmerman
Photo: Joel Colon/PR Best

Undefeated WBO Featherweight Champion Mikey Garcia and former 2X world champion Juan Manuel “Juanma” Lopez along with Hall of Fame Promoter Bob Arum and former Heavyweight Champion George Foreman took center stage at the final presser for this Saturday’s mega fight at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas and also shown live on HBO.

The usual cheery Juanma, though, wanted to set the record straight about his career and the caliber of talent he has faced compared to Mikey. He believes everyone is so focused on his losses to Salido and how Mikey demolished Salido that he therefore has no shot in this fight. He made it very clear that this is not his first rodeo.

“If you go by Salido, Mikey should beat me by knockout. I knocked out Concepcion in 2 rounds and he beat him in 8 rounds. Salido was a great fight [against Mikey], but Salido was on his way out.”

All this Salido talk has really started to bother Juanma.

“Yea it bothers me because they don’t look at my whole work and I have been a 2x world champion. I have beaten some guys; he went 12 rounds with Lontchi and I knocked him out. There are other guys in there that you should be looking up besides that one fight.” Juanma also believes he has had the superior career to date.

“I believe that, I believe that I have fought better opponents. I have been a world champion longer and fought a lot of tough fights as a champion, so I do believe that I have faced tougher guys than he has.”

Juanma added, “My world championship fight will be #12 on Saturday, this is only going to be his 2nd fight as world champion.”

Juanma is aware of Mikey’s versatility as a boxer and puncher.

“You know, he’s a boxer but he’s also a puncher if he needs to be, he’ll trade with you. I am not afraid of trading with him. I know that will happen during the fight – he will trade with me sooner or later. It’s the question of making my fight, making him adjust to my fight.” Juanma, though, has no doubt he is bringing the title back to Puerto Rico.

“Mikey wants to keep the title and I want to get something that was once mine.” “One time I saw Mikey in New York and told him don’t worry, you will have an opportunity and become world champion. I hope he is in great condition and willing to die in the ring, because come Saturday it will be the toughest fight of his career. I come to take the title back to Puerto Rico Saturday night.”

Mikey displayed his usual classy self and respect for his opponent but with the utmost confidence in his ability.

“I know my opponent is a tough guy. He is experienced and has been a champion twice. I don’t take him lightly. When you are champion there are no easy fights,” stated Mikey. Mikey responded to Juanma’s frustration with the Salido comparison and Juanma’s comment about Concepcion.

“That’s the truth. It’s the truth, he did take Concepcion out in round 2, but he was also almost knocked out in the 1st round by Concepcion and I didn’t even get touched by Concepcion. So you can’t really compare the fighters, it’s not really a fair comparison, really.”

“The fans and media keep pushing something like that, the Salido fight or whatever, but it’s not fair, because you catch them at different times in their career. I can actually have a better Juanma this time around then when he fought Salido, until Saturday night we’ll find out.”

Was Salido a finished fighter when you fought him?

“I don’t think so. I just made it my fight, if I stand toe to toe with Salido and I make it an interesting fight and it’s a close fight and give him opportunities. If I stay on the outside and box my way around him, it’s easy for me.” Mikey is confident.

“I think I am a better fighter overall, just a better fighter, whether it’s punching power or boxing ability, speed, whatever. I think I’m the better fighter and that’s why I will win.” “This is another opportunity to show everybody that I truly am the best featherweight in the world.”

Arum sees a slugfest in the making and puts in historic fashion, comparing it to the to the classic Salvador Sanchez vs Wilfredo Gomez. “Absolutely it will [be a classic] and somebodies winning by a knockout. I would not be surprised if both of them go down.”

Arum also compared his former Heavyweight Champion to these Featherweights.

“There wasn’t a bigger puncher than George Foreman, but these featherweights pack a good punch as well.”

Arum continued, “Everyone is really excited about the main event. You have a former champion from Puerto Rico, who has a record of sensationally knocking guys cold. Guys couldn’t get out of first round with him and then they went on fighting other people and won a world championship.”

“A Mexican American kid from Oxnard, California coming from a family steeped in boxing, his father was a trainer, his brother a trainer and former champion so a family that has lived and breathed boxing and whose has had a sterling record as a professional.”

Arum added, “This match is very, very exciting, when you put a great Puerto Rican fighter vs a great Mexican, Mexican American fighter, there is no other rivalry that stirs the blood like that rivalry does.”

Co-promoter of Juanma, Peter Rivera of PR Best Boxing echoed Arum’s feeling when Mexicans and Puerto Ricans square off. “Mexicans and Puerto Ricans make great fights, one of the most tremendous fights you can see in boxing. We are confident Juan Manuel will be champion again…we have no doubt about that.”

WBO President Francisco “Paco” Valcarcel also weighed in on the matchup.

“It’s a pleasure to be here with my favorite champ [George Foreman]. We have 2 big weapons fighting each other in this fight. You will see a great fight on Saturday.”

George Foreman, along with his sons is co-promoting with Bob Arum and Top Rank and is glad to a part of it.

“I’m happy to be here, especially in Dallas. We call it the big city next to Houston”, stated Big George. “You won’t have to go out of the country to see a great fight. Once the bell rings there is no champion so sit back and get ready for a good show.”

Big George can’t wait for fight night.

“Each fight, all fights are as equally exciting to me. That’s the advantage I have over most people, they are looking for a big fight, and I’m just looking for any fight. I love fighters and I love action and this I am looking forward to.”

Big George does give Juanma a puncher’s chance but loves Mikey’s left hook.

“When the bell rings, the title is vacant. There aren’t any champions, that title is vacant. You have no winners until the first punch is thrown, anybody can walk out of there with the crown.

“I’m looking for this Mikey Garcia. I call him the best left hooker to never come out of Philadelphia.”

* * *

Arum is very high on the co-main event as well that puts Alejandro Sanabria (33-2, 30KO’s) against Terrence Crawford (20-0, 15KO’s) for the NABO Lightweight Championship.

“This is a very good competitive match, the kind of match that is extremely fan friendly. People will be on the edge of their seats watching,” stated Arum.

Sanabria was happy to introduce himself to America.

“I come here with a desire to prove to the American public my talent and going out there Saturday night. This is a great opportunity in my career. I know I have trained very hard.”

Arum tells the story how they discovered Crawford after fighting on several of Top Rank’s undercards and then suddenly becomes a last minute replacement to fight Breidis Prescott and beats him handily.

“This is a true story of how boxing works, it’s not a Cinderella story, it’s a story,” stated Arum. “This is how Lou Gehrig replaced Wally Pip. He got the opportunity. For those of you that don’t remember, Wally Pipp was the 1st baseman for the Yankees and Lou Gehrig was a rookie and Pip got injured and Gehrig came in and replaced him and never relinquished the 1st base position until he had set all kinds of records for consecutive games played.”

“So Terrence stepped in, he was the Lou Gehrig of boxing of our time and here he is performing on the big stage as a HBO fighter in what should be a tremendous fight.”

The Gehrig / Pipp comparison was probably lost on the 25 year old Crawford, but he was definitely glad to be there.

“First and foremost, I would like to thank god for blessing me with the opportunity to be here and HBO / Top Rank for having me again. I trained really hard for this fight, I never overlook an opponent and I am just ready to go out on Saturday to display my talent once again and to show everybody that I was no “one hit wonder.”

Both Big George and Bob Arum are expecting the beginning of great things together in Big D starting with Juanma vs Mikey, but understand it doesn’t happen overnight. “Yea, it’s a process. We have done it all over Texas. I don’t why we can’t do it here in Dallas,” Arum said.

Added Big George, “You are just going to have to see when they walk up, but it’s a hard thing when you say HBO, everybody thinks you are supposed to stay at home and watch it on TV, but I want to show them it’s more exciting going out to a live match then you would ever get on television.”

Below photos by Chris Farina / Top Rank

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