Tommy Morrison was no palooka. Raised in the hardscrabble town of Jay, Okla., he was undeniably tough (he used a fake I.D. to enter strongman competitions at 13) and a powerful puncher. But the hulking blonde also had movie-star looks. Literally. He took a six-month hiatus early in his career to play the Italian Stallion's foe in 1990's Rocky V. Three years later, at age 23, he took the heavyweight belt from George Foreman.
In '96, ahead of a fight with Arthur Weathers, Morrison tested positive for HIV. He later claimed it was a false positive and even fought twice more before his health declined. (Morrison's wife told ESPN last month that he had Guillain-Barré syndrome, not HIV.) On Monday, Morrison died at 44, a sad and early end for a man who once seemed destined for a beautiful career.
BRAD MANGIN FOR SPORTS ILLUSTRATED (MORRISON)