By Mark Vester
Former heavyweight champion Larry Holmes voiced some strong opinions about the recent comeback of Tommy "The Duke" Morrison. Morrison tested positive for HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, more than ten-years ago. In the last few years, Morrison has claimed that he received a false-positive test result and is not, nor has he ever - had HIV.
After clearing several medical and blood tests, Morrison made a successful return to ring on February 22 in West Virginia, stopping John Castle in one round. Last weekend, he took part in a mixed martial arts event that was held on an Indian reservation, which has no mandatory medical testing or regulation by a state commission.
Holmes appeared on ESPN radio's The Dan Patrick Show, and does not believe Morrison’s claim of being HIV free.
“I think he's full of crap. I think he's got it and it's a shame that he gets in the ring and he just might infect someone else. We still don't know a lot about that disease that he's carrying around called AIDS,” Holmes said.
The former champ thinks Morrison is in deep financial trouble and his only reason for fighting is to make some money, and the same goes for the men lining up to fight him.
“I think he's broke and he could use some money and that's why fighters do these things. That's why fighters are fighting him. They could get a few dollars by stepping in the ring and facing Tommy Morrison. We could all say 'well it won't happen to me,' but it could happen to you,” Holmes said. “Tommy Morrison thought the same thing 'it would never happen to me.' Look it happened to him. He's infected and he says 'what hell, I might as well give someone else the disease, somebody gave it to me.'
Morrison’s next bout will once again take place on an Indian reservation. Holmes says that Morrison is fighting on Indian reservations to avoid state commission testing. Although Morrison says that he will soon travel to Las Vegas in order to apply for a boxing license, Holmes doesn’t buy it and thinks Morrison will avoid Las Vegas because of their strict testing policies.
“They (Las Vegas Athletic Commission) are going to put him through a test. When I fought in Las Vegas over the age of 40, they put me through ever test to make sure I was healthy. They wanted to make sure that I was capable to do what I was doing and those are the kind of tests they are going to put Tommy Morrison through. He knows this and this is why he chose not to go to Las Vegas,” Holmes said. “Anybody can go to a reservation. I'm 57-years-old and if I wanted to fight, I can go to any reservation to fight. But, if I go to Las Vegas, they are going to put me through all kinds of tests to make sure I can even stand up. Not only if I could stand up, but somebody would tell me no.
Would Holmes get in the ring with Morrison if the money was right?
“No. I wouldn’t get in the ring with Tommy Morrison now because of the disease that he has and I don't want to be infected. I don't know why anybody would want to get in the ring with him. They have to be desperate fighters to get in the ring with Tommy Morrison and not really caring about their life or their family's lives,” Holmes said.
“I want to say to Tommy and I hope he's listening. Give it up. You were former heavyweight champion of the world. You beat George Foreman. You should put that on your chest and wear it. No matter what people say, you were the heavyweight champ of the world so why continue to go out there and stress yourself out.”
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