Boxing Champ Johnny Tapia Had Moments of Great Success and Moments of Great Suffering
Johnny Tapia was a five time boxing champ who had a troubled childhood and battled cocaine addiction, alcoholism, depression and troubles with the law in his adulthood. He was found dead on Sunday at his Albuquerque home.
The 45 year old boxing champ began his professional career in 1988 and brought home world titles in the super flyweight, bantam weight and featherweight divisions. His last fight was in June of 2011 where he went eight rounds to defeat Mauricio Pastrana by unanimous decision.
As a boy at the age of 8 Johnny Tapia became orphaned after his mother was stabbed with a screwdriver 26 times. It is suggested that he saw her being taken away chained to the bak of a pick-up truck. His father had reportedly been murdered while he was still in the womb. Then in 2007 when he was hospitalized for a drug overdose, his brother-in-law and nephew died in a car crash on their way to visit him. On several occasions he also spent some time behind bars. So, life experiences for the boxing champ had been challenging for sure. Taking up boxing at the age of nine was perhaps his way to deal with the tragedy he had faced.
In the early 90’s, Johnny Tapia’s cocaine addiction banned him from boxing for 3 and a half years. However, upon coming back to the ring, his greatest successes were found.
Fans of the boxing champ were very loyal and seemed to stick by him even more after his brushes with the law. He was always viewed as the underdog and was dubbed “Burque’s Best” by his fans after a feud with fellow Albuquerque boxing champ Danny Romero in the 1990s.
Things seemed to be going better in the last few years when a man he had known for awhile discovered he was his biological father. This new finding also brought 6 new brothers and a new sister to his life.
His career and life ended with a record of 59 wins, 5 loses, and 2 draws. He had 30 knockouts.
Police say boxing champ Johnny Tapia’s death does not look suspicious and an autopsy will be performed to determine the cause of death.