See update below.
Originally posted Aug 23, 2013
A very tragic story of how denial will kill you. Boxer Tommy Morrison has full-blown AIDS after rejecting his HIV diagnosis.
Holden was the one who broke the news to Morrison that he’d tested positive for HIV in February 1996, hours before he was supposed to fight Arthur “Stormy” Weathers in a tuneup for an eagerly anticipated bout with Mike Tyson. Holden says the man with the Nevada Athletic Commission who informed him of Morrison’s test results had tears in his eyes.
He was 27 years old and had just signed a contract that, according to previous Morrison interviews, guaranteed him three fights and $38 million. And with that test, the guarantees were gone. He called his mother. “Come home,” she told him, then advised him to take another HIV test. That one also was positive.
“Tommy bought into it at first, and then did some research,” Holden said. “And then he went into the direction that he didn’t have it, that it doesn’t exist.”
And so after his tearful news conference, after he confirmed he was HIV-positive and blamed it on a reckless lifestyle, after he promised to get in touch with anyone he’d come in contact with — sparring partners, and especially the young ladies — Morrison did a complete about-face.
Holden said Morrison quickly had a change of heart after doing research on the Internet. He concluded that HIV was a conspiracy, and that the doctors were “quacks.” He said the tests were false positives. He staged a comeback in 2007, tested negative for HIV, but questions swirled over whether the blood was actually his.
AIDS denialism has killed hundreds of thousands of people, plain and simple. This is a tragic addition.
Tip: @JREF on Twitter
UPDATE: (2 Sept 2013) As anticipated, he has died, aged 44.