The boxing world was rocked by not one, but two devastating stories.
First, late Sunday night came word that former multiple time champion (in three different weight classes) Johnny Tapia was found dead at his home in Albuquerque, NM. He was 45.
Tapia had a rough life, some of which was out of his control and some of which wasn’t.
His father was murdered while his mother was pregnant with him. Then he was orphaned at just 8-years-old after his mother was kidnapped, raped, hanged, repeatedly stabbed, and left for dead. She died four days later in the hospital without regaining consciousness. It was after all this that he turned to boxing at the age of nine.
He also battled his own demons which usually manifested itself in the form of a cocaine addiction. One instance was in 2007 when he apparently, purposely, overdosed on cocaine and was hospitalized. Just days later his brother-in-law and nephew were on their way to see Tapia in the hospital and while on the way they were killed in an automobile accident.
Tapia had a stellar amateur career with two National Golden Gloves championships (1983 & 1985).
His pro career was just as impressive. He was at different times champion at 115 lbs, 118 lbs, and 126 lbs. Before losing his first fight to Paulie Ayala, Tapia had run his record to a sparkling 46-0-2, with 25 knockouts.
His two exciting fights with Paulie Ayala (their first bout in 1999 was Ring Magazine’s Fight of the Year) and victory over rival Danny Romero were career highlights.
Tapia finished his career 59-5-2, with 30 knockouts.
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