TULSA, Okla. — Trey Lippe-Morrison kept his record unblemished on Saturday at Osage Casino’s Skyline Event Center, but the heavyweight knockout artist was not exactly pleased with the result.
Moments after earning a technical knockout against Jason Bergman on the undercard of Top Rank Boxing’s ESPN show, Lippe-Morrison (17-0, 17 KOs) voiced his displeasure with the outcome of what was his first fight in 20 months.
The bout was stopped in the third round after Bergman went down with an apparent ankle injury and could not continue.
“I’m not happy with the way that ended,” Lippe-Morrison said. “He knew I was about to finish him. It pisses me off he wasn’t man enough to stick in there and take it.”
Saturday’s event was limited to 500 spectators and was sold out. Lippe-Morrison’s bout was streamed live on ESPN Plus, while the main event and co-feature were televised live on ESPN.
The hard-hitting native of Vinita, Oklahoma, Lippe-Morrison was fighting in his home state of Oklahoma for the 14th time in his career. This was his second time competing on a Top Rank show, with the first coming in Oklahoma City back in June of 2018.
“It was awesome to be in Oklahoma and in front of the fans, but I just wish it could have ended in a fight,” Trey said. “That’s not the way a fight should end.”
The 6-foot-3, 225-pound Lippe-Morrison has been a local fan favorite in Southwest Missouri and Northeast Oklahoma since he began his pro career back in 2014.
This fight was a long time coming for Lippe-Morrison. The last time he was scheduled to fight in this area, August of 2019 at a Showtime Boxing event in Broken Arrow, his opponent backed out and a replacement couldn’t be found in time.
“It felt good to get back in the ring after a long layoff,” Lippe-Morrison said. “It just felt good to dust off the rust as much as I could. There was a little rust. But I’ve been training the whole time. I’ve been busy the whole time.”
Both fighters stayed busy in the opening round, and Lippe-Morrison went down after absorbing a left hand to the head. Referee Gary Ritter called it a slip. The son of the late Tommy Morrison disagreed with that assessment.
“I’ll man up,” he said. “He knocked me down.”
Bergman taunted Lippe-Morrison on more than one occasion in the second round.
“The showboating fueled the fire, but I’m pissed he did the showboating and then quit,” Lippe-Morrison said. “I think all that showboating was because he was tired. He was wanting to draw me in for a big punch, but I wasn’t falling for it.”
Lippe-Morrison said he felt like he was getting stronger as the fight progressed, while also getting the sense that his opponent was tiring.
The fight came to an end at the 1:27 mark of the third round. Bobbing and weaving, Lippe-Morrison landed a combination, and shortly after Bergman misfired with a wild punch attempt, he went down with what appeared to be an ankle injury. The fight was waved off.
“He found an easy way out,” Lippe-Morrison said. “I don’t think anything was wrong with his ankle, I think he quit. I was about to finish him. He knew a big-ass knockout was coming and he didn’t want that to happen on TV. He took the easy way out. That’s just my opinion.”
A 6-foot-2, 256-pounder who has been fighting professionally since 2006, the 36-year-old Bergman (27-20-2) had a clear advantage in experience, as he entered the night with 48 pro fights and 196 rounds of action.
Lippe-Morrison, 31, who entered Saturday with 16 bouts and just 31 rounds, said Bergman’s southpaw style took time to adjust to.
“It was a big adjustment, I didn’t spar with one southpaw in months,” Lippe-Morrison said. “I didn’t know I was fighting a southpaw until a week before the fight.”
Lippe-Morrison, who fought at Joplin’s Memorial Hall in August of 2015, said he’s ready for regular fights.
“As quick as possible,” he said when asked how quickly he’d like to fight again. “My only day off is going to be tomorrow when I take my grandma to church. Then I’ll get back starting on Monday. I’d like to have another fight in the next two months. I’ll be ready for one that soon.”
That’s something promoter Tony Holden is looking forward to as well.
“It was good to see him back in the ring,” Holden said. “I expected him to be rusty, but he let the guy into the fight. His next fight is going to be big. I want to see major improvement.”
The son of the late former heavyweight champion Tommy “The Duke” Morrison said he’ll continue training with Craig Blacklock in Tulsa.
“Trey wants to please the fans and he wants to please Tony,” Blacklock said. “He has to understand that just being a good boxer will do that and not worry about the knockout. He wanted to knock him out. We’re going to go back and work on the basics.”
The event was promoted by Bob Arum’s Top Rank Boxing, in association with Joe DeGuardia’s Star Boxing and Tony Holden Productions.
In the night’s highly-entertaining main event, Joe Smith Jr. earned a majority decision over Maxim Vlasov to capture the vacant WBO light heavyweight world title.
The back and forth fight was extremely close, evident by the scorecards–114-114, 115-113 and 115-112.
In the co-feature, up and coming heavyweight Efe Ajagba delivered a crowd-pleasing knockout against Brian Howard.
In another bout on the undercard, Tulsa-born heavyweight prospect Jeremiah Milton knocked out Jayvone Dafney at the 1:02 mark of the first round.