Tommy (The Duke) Morrison, 48-3 (42 KOs), once one of the most exciting heavyweight contenders in the world between his all-American looks, explosive punch, and questionable chin, made headlines this past week when he announced that he will not submit to HIV and hepatitis testing in advance of a possible February 25, 2011 bout in Montreal against journeyman Eric Barrak. The reason that Morrison’s position is troublesome is plain to anyone who is familiar with Morrison’s history. Starting in 1996, Morrison was out of the ring for nearly 11 years after reportedly testing HIV positive in advance of a scheduled match in Nevada against Arthur (Stormy) Weathers. Some probably anticipated that the next time the boxing world would hear anything about Morrison would be after he eventually succumbed to AIDS.
Morrison, however, miraculously persevered and returned to ring on February 22, 2007 with a second round TKO of John Castle after West Virginia granted him a boxing license. He fought again nearly a year later, this time in Mexico, and scored a third-round TKO of Matt Weishaar. In the second incarnation of his career, Morrison has alleged that he is not, in fact, HIV positive, and may have never been. Indeed, Morrison is quoted as saying “I’m not going to submit to a test that’s not going to tell me anything” in connection with the testing order by the Quebec Boxing and Gaming Commission. The implication of that quote is that Morrison is 100% confident that he is free of HIV. But whether or not any such test would “tell [him] anything” about his HIV status is beside the point. When a commission mandates a testing regimen, it is acting on behalf of, and in furtherance of the objectives of, the government that created it. One can imagine, therefore, the precedent that would be created if someone such as Morrison were empowered by a commission to pick and choose which pre-licensing requirements he wished to comply with before boxing in a given jurisdiction. A quick look at the potential confusion that could ensue in Quebec follows...For the full article, please go to this link.