Lack of Morrison's lab results prevents Houston bout

6/9/2007 - Boxing

HOUSTON -- Former heavyweight champion Tommy Morrison was pulled from a scheduled fight on Friday, April 27 because state boxing officials didn't get the results of lab tests in time.

Dick Cole, boxing administrator for the state's Department of
Licensing and Regulation, said a Houston doctor, Jorge Guerrero,
examined Morrison on Thursday and cleared him to fight. But
Guerrero never filed the paperwork required by the agency, Cole

Morrison, a native of Jay, Okla., told Houston television
station KRIV he was stunned when he learned the fight was canceled.

"I've done everything I was asked," Morrison said. "These
blood tests can take up to eight days. Yet they bring me in here
five days before the fight. It almost feels like a setup."

Cole said the agency is trying get the issue resolved.

"As soon as we get that in, he'll be licensed," Cole said.
"They say he's OK. But we can't afford to just assume like that.
I'm sure he is fine. But we need to have certain forms to prove it
and we don't have those."

The 38-year-old Morrison is attempting to come back after an
11-year retirement following the discovery that he was HIV
positive. Morrison claims he has taken several HIV tests during his
comeback bid and all have been negative.

Morrison was slated to fight Dale Ortiz in a four-round bout in
a Houston hotel ballroom.

"I thought it was a joke," Morrison said about the canceled
fight. "They dropped the ball, but I'm used to this kind of

Morrison returned to the ring earlier this year in West
Virginia, knocking out John Castle in the second round. West
Virginia athletic commissioner Steve Allred approved Morrison's
participation in that fight after reviewing medical records and
consulting with the Association of Boxing Commissions' medical
review committee.

On Thursday, Patrick Shaughnessy, a spokesman for the Texas
Department of Licensing and Regulation, said Morrison had been
granted a boxing license in Texas. Cole said the agency gave
Morrison a "verbal agreement" to issue him a license, but could
not actually grant one until it received the paperwork.

Cole expected to have the lab tests Thursday night, but he said
the doctor could not finish them.

"He thought he'd have all of it done, but he just couldn't get
it done," Cole said.

Shaughnessy couldn't discuss specifics of Morrison's case on
Thursday, but he said all applicants are required to submit blood
samples for testing for Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C and HIV.
Applicants testing positive for any of those are rejected,
Shaughnessy said.

Morrison won the WBO heavyweight belt in 1993 by outpointing
George Foreman, but lost the title later that year. He was
scheduled to fight Stormy Weathers when he tested HIV positive in
February 1996.