KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A Kansas City boxer, who at one time ruled the ring and even the big screen, heard the bell ring for the last time. Boxer Tommy Morrison has died at the age of 44.
Morrison lived and trained in Kansas City for many years. Tommy "The Duke" Morrison was known for athleticism and powerful punches inside the ring.
"I think he had more skill and ability than Holyfield, who made half-a-billion dollars, and I think he could have beaten Mike Tyson," said John Brown, trainer.
But outside the ring he was known for his charisma and hard partying ways.
"He had no sense of self-preservation; he thought he was invincible, he was young, he had money, prestige, all of that," said Brown.
John Brown coached and managed Morrison in the late 80's to around the mid 90's and says he saw the best and worst of both of Morrison's worlds.
"Tommy hung out in all the wrong places. He had no constraints on his lifestyle," Brown said.
Former friends say Westport was Morrison's playground.
"He was a very likable young man, always smiling and so forth," said Stan Glazer, who owned Stanford & Son's restaurant and in Westport. And it's there, Glazer said Morrison would begin many of his long nights.
"Women and nightlife and drinking and running around," said Glazer.
In the ring, brown says fear was Morrison's best motivator -- and what led to his world title in 1993.
"He was actually afraid of George (Foreman), so he trained his butt off, got in great shape, and what everybody thought was a battle of the titans turned out to be a boxing match," said Brown.
But women were his downfall, and it was a long way down for the boxer.
"I mean, good fortune, like so many professional athletes that are young, they don't know how to handle it. They have no guidance," Glazer said.
Just three years later he was forced out of the ring after testing positive for HIV.
Morrison passed away Sunday at the age of 44.
"It's a shame. He went way before his time," Glazer said.
No official cause of death has been released. But according to MMADirt.com, Morrison's wife Trisha says he died of respiratory and metabolic acidosis and multiple organ failure.