I’ll never forget the day my boss, the late, great Bill Murphy told me that Tommy Morrison would be coming in to hire me on drug and gun charges. I’d been a big fan of Tommy’s, having seen many of his fights and of course Rocky V. But the last impression I’d had of him was his HIV press conference where he sadly, but courageously and eloquently, told the world that he had tested positive for the HIV virus. A death sentence in those days. But he didn’t look sick. He looked and sounded healthy.
So I didn’t know quite what to expect when Tommy and his co-defendant walked into my office the next morning. Well it didn’t take long to realize that the Tommy Morrison sitting in my office was not the same Tommy Morrison I’d last seen on t.v. He had just gotten out of jail, so he was wearing what he’d been arrested in, cut-off jeans and a tank top. And he had gaping holes in each bicep, about the size of fifty cent pieces. And he was picking at them as we talked. Finally I had to ask what was going on with the biceps. His friend said that Tommy had gotten some bicep implants, his body had begun to reject them, and that Tommy had removed them himself. I said, “Um, ok.” Eventually we came to terms, Tommy hired me, and I went to work.
We entered a not guilty plea to the guns and drug charges, and Judge William Storey set the case for trial in January of 2000. One evening a few weeks later, I received a call from Tommy’s wife, Dawn. She said, “Tommy wanted me to call and ask you if you’d like to go to Las Vegas this Saturday for the Lennox Lewis v. Evander Holyfield title fight. He has 3 ringside seats, and he and an old friend of his from Kansas City are going and he’d love it if you could join them.”
Hmmm, I thought, “How can I say no to that?” (Actually, I could think of many reasons…like the fact that I had a wife, a 3 year old and a 7 month old child at home, the fact that Tommy didn’t appear to be the least bit stable, and to top it all off I’d have to miss the big Arkansas v. Tennessee football game in Fayetteville that weekend. The Hogs were looking to avenge the previous year’s heartbreaking, last second loss to Tennessee. You know, the one where Clint Stoerner fumbled away a possible national championship. Yeah, that one)…Anyway, despite it all, I said, “Yes.” And Dawn said, “Welcome to Tommy’s world.” And an uneasy feeling came over me.
(Note: I have to pause here for now. In the next entry, I’ll talk about the trip to Vegas. Be sure to like our Facebook page so that you’ll receive updates to this blog. Thanks for reading. Sincerely, Rusty Hudson).
You can read Part Two (Landing in Vegas) here.
Photo by Phillip Walrod/AP