Tommy Morrison Book is a Study in Tragedy and Evil
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Tommy Morrison Book is a Study in Tragedy and Evil
By Sean Newman, Doghouse Boxing (Nov 5, 2013)

Tommy Morrison Book
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Author Charles Hood has ghostwritten a riveting account of the life of recently deceased former heavyweight champion Tommy “The Duke” Morrison. The book is based on interviews conducted and e-mails exchanged with Morrison’s ex-wife, Dawn Morrison Brady. What it largely depicts is a man who, when he wasn’t doing battle in the ring, mostly spent his time doing battle with himself. The result, mirroring the biggest fights of Morrison’s boxing career, was a knockout loss.

Not-so-originally titled “The Tommy ‘The Duke’ Morrison Story,” the book is a memoir of the second blonde bombshell named Dawn to enter Morrison’s life. As such, a reader should not go into the text expecting a full accounting of the childhood, Rocky V, and boxing experiences Morrison had. In fact, one fault of the book is that there are several glaring historical inaccuracies about Morrison’s boxing career. For example, his record and chronology of certain fights are misstated at times. The post-fight aftermath of his knockout loss to Michael Bentt erroneously describes Morrison as “not having a mark on him” while stating that Bentt looked the worse for wear. These mistakes are not pertinent to the theme of the story, however, which is Dawn’s memoir of her stormy relationship with “The Duke.” Most likely only hardcore fans of Morrison’s would catch them. Otherwise, the book is well put together and is a brisk, easy read.

Dawn Morrison Brady met Tommy Morrison in 1994 and soon began a romantic relationship with him, and today she stresses that although everything written in this book is true, she wants to write her own biography of Morrison. In it, she wants to go into much greater detail on a variety of topics, including the possibility that Morrison knew of his HIV status as early as 1989. If one has followed Morrison’s story closely enough since his death, whispers of damning circumstantial evidence has arisen that this could be the case. To consider this being the truth is almost unthinkable.

As for the content of the book, it is difficult for me to personally remove myself from the story and be completely objective. I knew Tommy personally since 1999 and met Dawn in 2002. Since that time, I visited them on several occasions and we have shared innumerable telephone and e-mail conversations. Tommy and I had our problems. I think that, being the type of person he was (especially when he was on some type of intoxicating substance), anyone would eventually have had a problem with him unless they were a complete and cowering “yes” man. Dawn, on the other hand, I’ve always known to be the sweetest, most forthright and generous, caring person you could ask for. Her good and forgiving nature is revealed in this book to be a fault as she was repeatedly emotionally, psychologically, and at times even physically abused by Morrison. Any thought of her being motivated by money has to be dismissed by the fact that she spent many lean years with little money sticking with the threatening ex-champion.

I hate to use a cliché, but this book literally was a page-turner for me, especially as I knew the subjects personally. I think, though, that for boxing fans this is still a must-read biography as it reveals a side of a man that many probably had no idea even existed. Throughout his career, Morrison came across on camera as congenial, articulate, and charismatic. One gets the impression after reading “The Tommy Morrison Story” that this was all a carefully orchestrated act. Morrison was a womanizer and a drug addict and he can constantly be seen battling these demons and losing, tearfully begging for yet another chance from Dawn. Without giving anything away, there are plenty of shocking events revealed that no person who is not a sociopath should be capable of. I knew of several of the things that were in the book, but many I did not. And what is there is still only the tip of the iceberg.

That being said, Tommy could still be very generous. I learned just how valuable his supply of Adderall was from this book, and it made me recall a time when I went to visit him. After driving 10 hours to his home, staying up all night and facing a 10 hour drive home, Tommy gave me two Adderall pills. I didn’t know at the time what they were, but he said they were to help me “stay awake.” He was looking out for me, in his own way and to his own detriment.

I was left torn between feeling sympathy for Tommy for never having been able to be the good person he seemed to want to be, and feeling as though he were a monster who deserved everything he got. That’s brutal, but not nearly as brutal as some of the acts Tommy committed and may have committed. The question is did his good acts outweigh the bad? I do hope that his family has found peace.

I highly recommend this book not only for fight fans, but also anyone who is fascinated in human nature and psychology. It begins as a romantic tale that ultimately becomes horrific and tragic, and can be extremely unsettling at times. The book is available now at amazon.com, or can be purchased directly from www.touchpointpress.com.

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