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Johnny Tapia: A Happy, Sad and Crazy Life

By Brett Ater, PR/Social Specialist at TITLE Boxing

For the hardcore boxing followers of the ‘90s and early ‘00s, Johnny Tapia, Mi Vida Loca, was a well known sparkplug on the high of the game’s lighter divisions. For me, it wasn’t till HBO launched Tapia (2013), a documentary on his life, that I realized the title and was captivated by Johnny, each the boxer and the deeply troubled human being.

In the ring he was a real showman. He moved across the squared circle with slick footwork, boastful facial expressions, relaxed however safe protection, lightning quick fingers and the ability to finish fights shortly. On high of all that, he might take a punch. It appeared like he loved that half. He reveled within the all-out motion. After bouts, all the time a gracious sport, he’d greet his opponents with a hug, bow to the judges and then high off his evening with an in-ring backflip. But all that pleasure he expressed within the ring couldn’t be replicated on the skin, a minimum of not utterly. It’s straightforward to see now that beneath the lights was the place the Albuquerque native felt really at house. Outside the ring was the place life was onerous and unforgiving.

Much has been written concerning the excessive lows of Tapia’s life. Even his nickname, Mi Vida Loca, doesn’t do it justice. Johnny’s father was murdered whereas his mom was pregnant with him. At simply eight-years-old Johnny witnessed his mom, Virginia, being pushed away from their house. She was chained to a truck. She was brutally assaulted and left for useless, however she fought and crawled greater than 100 yards earlier than being discovered by police and taken to the emergency room. Sadly, she handed away just a few days later. The sights and sounds of his mom’s final days endlessly haunted him. He instructed Boxing News in 2011, “My mom’s death kills me every day…I just want to say ‘Good night mama.’ I want to hug my mama.”

Johnny was raised by his grandparents following his mom’s dying and they steered him towards boxing. He was an especially profitable newbie fighter, profitable the Golden Gloves National Tournament in ’83 and ’85. His skilled profession began off scorching as effectively. He went 21-Zero-1 in his first 22 bouts, however at age 21 he examined constructive for cocaine and had his boxing license suspended for almost 4 years.

He returned from his suspension with out lacking a beat and rattled off 4 straight victories earlier than getting his first shot at a world title. On October 12, 1994, Johnny Tapia, who’d already overcome a lot, defeated Henry Martinez by technical knockout within the 11th spherical to be named the WBO Super Flyweight Champion of the World. He’d go on to turn into a five-time world champion and a member of each the International Boxing Hall of Fame and the Nevada Boxing Hall of Fame.

Johnny Tapia made his professional debut in 1988 and fought for the final time in 2011. He fought 64 skilled fights and had his hand raised 59 occasions (30 KOs). His fan-friendly preventing fashion took him from a fitness center in Albuquerque to the brilliant lights of Las Vegas and Madison Square Garden.

Heartbreakingly, all of the in-ring success, a loving spouse (Teresa), comfortable youngsters (three sons) and adoration from associates and followers had been no match for the overbearing ache of loss and drug habit. Tapia was hospitalized after a cocaine overdose in early March of 2007, and he was arrested for a parole violation (attributable to cocaine use) in February of 2009.

On May 27, 2012, Johnny Tapia handed away attributable to coronary heart failure. He was present in his house and no medicine had been present in his system. His story is a cheerful one, with a very unhappy starting and finish. To watch the documentary and to learn the articles on his life, there’s no means to judge how Johnny lived; to not really feel gutted when he tried and tried to beat disturbing emotional trauma and drug habit; simply as there’s no option to not really feel giddy when the music performs and he makes his option to the ring; or to not really feel emotional once you hear fellow fighters and Albuquerque natives speak about all he meant to them. All you may say is that he was cherished and that he cherished with all his coronary heart. Sometimes, for no matter cause, life is loopy.

Honor Johnny Tapia’s Legacy with formally licensed attire right here.

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