KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Former World Boxing Organization Heavyweight Champion Tommy Morrison, known as “The Duke,” died Sunday night at the age of 44 in a Nebraska hospital, according to a close friend.
In 1988, he met Kansas City boxing manager and trainer John Brown. Brown is the founder of Ringside, Inc., and explained they first met when Morrison walked away with the Kansas City Golden Gloves Championship.
“I'm the guy in 1988 who found Tommy Morrison as an amateur, trained him as an amateur and then turned him pro," Brown said.
"He moved to Kansas City from Oklahoma and he worked at my company," Brown said.
Morrison gained fame for his role in the movie "Rocky V," alongside Sylvester Stallone.
But the highlight of his career was in 1993. Morrison claimed the WBO Heavyweight Championship when he beat George Foreman and won by decision after 12 rounds.
Brown said it took nearly a village to train Morrison and said he reached out for help from others to motivate the boxer.
“Tommy just had a very careless lifestyle. I don't think he was a long-term planner, he lived for the moment," Brown said.
Morrison reportedly tested positive for AIDS in 1996, ending his career, although he denied it.
Brown said he wished things had been different.
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