Trey Lippe-Morrison talks TV debut, Wild Card Gym and late father Tommy
Trey Lippe Morrison is 11-0 with 11 knockouts. He is the son of the late former world heavyweight champion Tommy “The Duke” Morrison. A Grove, Okla., native, Trey resides in Hollywood, Calif., and is trained by Freddie Roach at Wild Card Gym.
This Friday, Sept. 23, Morrison makes his eagerly awaited television debut when he faces fellow unbeaten and Roc Nation prospect Ed Latimore (13-0, 7 KOs), of Pittsburgh, Pa., in the second bout of a ShoBox: The New Generation quadrupleheader live on SHOWTIME (10 p.m. ET/PT, delayed on the West Coast) from Buffalo RunCasino in Miami, Okla.
Morrison, who turns 27 on Sept. 27, has recorded eight first-round knockouts, two second-round knockouts and one fourth-round KO in a career that began in February 2014. He bears a striking resemblance to his late father facially, physique-wise and with his fighting style, wears red, white and blue trunks with “TOMMY” written across the belt. He has fought all but one of his fights in Oklahoma; this is his 10th start at Buffalo Run.
A popular member of Holden’s Four State Franchise stable, the 6-foot-2 Morrison is fighting for the first time since he underwent surgery on his right tendon from an injury suffered in his most recent bout, a fourth-round TKO over Thomas Hawkins last Jan. 23.
Below is what Morrison and Roach said about Trey’s fight against Latimore Friday, his up-and-coming career, life outside the ring, remembrances of his father, working with Freddie and more:
“I’m going to approach this fight against Latimore just the same way I approached my first 11 fights,’’ said Morrison ahead of the scheduled six-round bout. “I’ve gained a lot of confidence and a lot of new skills, and I’m just honored to be able to showcase them. Being on SHOWTIME is just a huge bonus.”
Morrison’s thoughts on Ed Latimore …
“I’ve watched a little bit of video. He’s really similar to me. The way he bobs his head all the time and is a real aggressive fighter and always comes forward. It’s almost like I’m fighting a clone of myself. He kind of has that Mike Tyson style, and that’s what I expect to see. If he doesn’t come at me that way, then I’ll have to have a game plan for something else.”
Is Latimore your toughest fight to date? …
“Oh, yeah. Sure. 100 percent. His record says it all [13-0, 7 KOs]. He’s athletic. From just what I’ve seen of his past fights, he would be the toughest guy I’ve fought so far.”
On the injury suffered in his last fight …
“I feel like it is 100 percent healed. It was kind of a freak accident. I threw an uppercut and it hit him in the hard part of his head. Since I’ve been able to put my glove on it, it hasn’t been a problem.”
What are the keys to this fight? …
“I think you always find the keys within the first couple rounds of the fight. That’s when you figure someone out. I figure I’m just going to be patient, and wait for my shot and when it comes, take it.”
Tommy was known as a left-hooker, you’re known for a strong right hand? Did you work more on your left when you were sidelined? …
“Oh, yes. Tremendously. I would say me being hurt was a blessing. I think it helped me more than it hurt me. I was really able to develop and sharpen my left hand. So right now I feel like my left hand is just as lethal as my right. I’m confident I can now do everything with my left that I can with my right. I was more of a right-handed fighter before because my left hand wasn’t as developed yet. My timing and my speed wasn’t quite there with my left before, but now I’m good with both.”
On working with Freddie Roach…
“I’ve been working with Freddie for about a year now. I’m living in West Hollywood; right smack dab in the middle of all the craziness. But I stay away from all of it. I’m more of a hermit. If I’m not training, I’m at home. I really don’t go out much. I really just like being alone at times and being at my place. I don’t have many hobbies. I would say I’m a nerd. I like to play video games with my friends online.”
How did you end up with Freddie?
“I originally moved out here to train with Jesse Reid. He decided he wanted to make a move to Las Vegas, and that just wasn’t a move my promoter, Tony Holden, and I were going to make. Since I was already here, Tony had a lunch with Freddie who agreed to look at me. So I had a private session with him and after that he said he’d be willing to work with me.”
How much have you learned under Freddie’s watchful eye? …
“I’ve learned so much — probably everything. And anything I was good at before, he’s sharpened it. I’d probably give him full credit for everything. The guys I’ve sparred with have also taught me a lot. It’s really helped me in every way possible.”
Did you play sports in high school? …
“I played football, basketball and track. I played tight end and defensive end in football and I ran the hurdles and threw the shot and disc. I played four years of college football at the University of Central Arkansas. I played defensive end there. I had a couple of pro teams looking at me, but I screwed up my senior year and ended getting kicked off the team. I made some bad decisions, just being a dumb college kid, and that led to it. When boxing came up, it was like a second chance for me.
“I wasn’t ready for my athletic career to be over. Football ended for me because I made bad decisions. I needed to be told that I wasn’t good enough for me to move on and go out and get a regular job. Around the same time that happened, my dad passed away. My mom told me that Tony Holden had a casino in the next town from where I went to high school. I had never met him before but we went out and had a great time talking about my dad. So I popped the question to him and asked if he’d help me get into boxing. He said absolutely not. I told him I was going to give it a shot because I wasn’t able to give up athletics. He called me back three days later.”
Do you feel pressure being the son of Tommy Morrison? …
“Yeah. I think there’s a lot of pressure on me to do well, and I think that really weighed on me the first couple of fights. That’s always going to be there. No matter who I fight, or how good I do, they are always going to compare me to my dad. I just have to deal with it. There definitely is pressure, but I can deal with it better now.
“When I first started, people were comparing my first fight ever with how my dad ended his career…to his best fight. So obviously I wasn’t going to match up that way. I knew that I’d get better and that one day I’d get there.”
How would you describe your relationship with your father? …
“I’d say our relationship was awesome. We were great friends. You know, our time got cut short, and we didn’t get to spend a lot of time together. But the time we did have was amazing. And we really cherished it.”
Would you think your dad would be proud of you today, following in his footsteps?
“I think he would be proud of me. I wish he was here because the things he would say would help me a lot. I really do think he’d be proud.”
How much has your promoter Tony Holden meant to you?
“I wouldn’t be where I’m at without him. I can’t even put it into words. Honestly, if I would have started boxing without him, no one would know who I was. Everything I have in boxing, is because of him. I met him in October of 2013, two or three months before I got into boxing.”
Freddie Roach, a seven-time Boxing Writers Association of America Trainer of the Year and 2012 inductee into the International Boxing Hall of Fame, will be in Morrison’s corner Friday in Miami. He said Trey is dedicated, a joy to work with and has continued to improve. But he remains a work in progress.
“Trey’s a very nice person, a simple guy, real polite like most boxers.’’.
“He inherited his father’s punch. He’s a big puncher. He’s learned how to box and is getting better every day. He tries hard. I like the way he’s progressing. He holds his own with some of the veteran guys here at the gym and is doing very well.
“Once he learns to box a little more, he’s going to make a lot more noise in the division. My thoughts on the heavyweights right now is that it is not all that strong of a division. [Anthony] Joshua may be the best, and there are a couple other big names. But I think the division is mostly wide open for guys who have heart and balls and are ready to take it the distance. Trey’s that kind of kid.’’
It was Roach who wanted this fight. “His manager asked me if he was ready and I said he was 100 percent ready. Latimore is his toughest fight, but it’s time to step up.’’
In Friday’s ShoBox main event, once-beaten Radivoje Kalajdzic (21-1, 14 KOs), of St. Petersburg, Fla. will try and resume his winning ways when he meets undefeated Travis Peterkin (16-0-1, 7 KOs), of Brooklyn, N.Y. in a 10-round light heavyweight scrap. In the co-feature, super lightweight livewire Ivan “The Beast” Baranchyk (11-0, 10 KOs), of Brooklyn, N.Y., takes on Roc Nation’s Wang Zhimin (7-0, 3 KOs, 7-1 WSB), of Nutley, N.J. by way of Ningbo, China, in a 10-rounder. In a scheduled eight-round bout, Ukrainian welterweight Ivan “The Volk” Golub (12-0, 10 KOs, 5-0 WSB), of Brooklyn, N.Y. faces James “Keep’em Sleepin” Stevenson (23-2, 16 KOs), of Baltimore, Md.
The combined record of the eight boxers on the televised card is 114-3-1 with 78 knockouts.
Tickets for the event promoted by DiBella Entertainment and Tony Holden Productions in association with Roc Nation Sports are priced at $35, $55 and $75 and are available at buffalorun.com and at stubwire.com.