Johnny Tapia

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Johnny Tapia
Statistics
Real name John Lee Tapia
Nickname(s)
  • Baby-faced Assassin
  • Mi vida loca ("My crazy life")
Weight(s)
Height 5 ft 6 in (168 cm)
Reach 65 in (165 cm)
Nationality American
Born (1967-02-13)February 13, 1967
Albuquerque, New Mexico, U.S.
Died May 27, 2012(2012-05-27) (aged 45)
Albuquerque, New Mexico, U.S.
Stance Orthodox
Boxing record
Total fights 66
Wins 59
Wins by KO 30
Losses 5
Draws 2

John Lee "Johnny" Tapia (February 13, 1967 – May 27, 2012) was an American professional boxer who competed from 1988 to 2011. He was a five-time world champion in three weight classes, having held the unified IBF and WBO super flyweight titles between 1994 and 1998; the unified WBA and WBO bantamweight titles between 1998 and 2000; and the IBF featherweight title in 2002.

Early life[edit]

Tapia was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico to Mexican American parents. His father had reportedly been murdered while his mother was pregnant with him. When he was eight years old, his mother, Virginia, was kidnapped, raped, hanged, repeatedly stabbed, and left for dead by her assailant. Tapia was awakened by her screams and saw her chained to the back of a pickup truck. He tried to alert others in his household, but no one believed him. His mother was later found by the police and taken to the hospital after she had crawled 100 yards to a road. She died four days after the attack without regaining consciousness. Raised thereafter by his grandmother, Tapia turned to boxing at the age of nine.[1]

Amateur career[edit]

Tapia had an outstanding amateur career, winning the 1983 and 1985 National Golden Gloves tournaments at light flyweight and flyweight, respectively.

Professional career[edit]

Super flyweight[edit]

Early years[edit]

Tapia's professional boxing career began on March 25, 1988, when he fought Effren Chavez in Irvine, California. After four rounds of boxing the fight was called a draw. He won eight fights that year, five by knockout, of which four were in the first round. In 1989, he won seven more fights, including a first-round knockout of Abner Barajas and an eight-round decision against John Michael Johnson.

In 1990, he won seven bouts, including an eight-round decision over Jesus Chong, an eleventh-round technical knockout of Roland Gomez in Reno that gave him the USBA super flyweight title, and a twelve-round decision over Luigi Camputaro, to retain that title. Tapia was, by the end of the year, a known boxer, his name often appearing in magazine articles. However, his career came to a halt for the next three and a half years after being suspended from boxing for testing positive for cocaine.[2]

When he finally returned to the ring on March 27, 1994, he beat Jaime Olvera by a knockout in four rounds in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He won three more fights by knockout, and then he faced Oscar Aguilar on the Michael CarbajalJosue Camacho undercard in Phoenix for the NABF super flyweight title, winning in three rounds. Five days later the Albuquerque Police claimed they found cocaine after the fight in a bag carried by Tapia. Tapia claimed what the police found was only a soap bar, and the charges were eventually dropped.

First world title[edit]

On October 12, 1994 at The Pit, Albuquerque, New Mexico, Tapia defeated Henry Martínez in eleven rounds to win the vacant WBO super flyweight title. He then knocked out former champion Rolando Bohol in the second round. In his first title defense, Tapia defeated Jose Rafael Sosa by decision.

He retained the title with a nine-round technical draw with Ricardo Vargas and a decision in twelve against his onetime nemesis in the amateur ranks, Arthur Johnson. After two more wins, he gave Willy Salazar a title shot, knocking him out in nine rounds. In 1996, he fought six more times, keeping his undefeated record and defending the title five additional times during that period, which included wins against Giovanni Andrade, Ivan Alvarez, future champion Hugo Rafael Soto, Sammy Stewart and Adonis Cruz. By then, a heated rivalry was cooking up between him and IBF champion Danny Romero. Their rivalry had begun many years earlier when Romero's father trained both boxers. Tapia's split with the Romero family had not been on good terms.

Tapia vs Romero unification[edit]

1997 saw Tapia fend off a challenge from Jorge Barrera in three rounds. After that, the fight with Romero was set for Las Vegas. The fight took place on July 18. Tapia won by a unanimous twelve-round decision, adding the IBF title to his WBO belt. In his next fight, he defeated Puerto Rico's Andy Agosto via decision. Tapia began 1998 by successfully defending his championships for the 11th time against former world champion Rodolfo Blanco of Colombia via decision, and then he vacated his world titles in order to move up in weight.

Bantamweight[edit]

On December 5, 1998, Tapia defeated WBA bantamweight champion Nana Konadu by decision to become a two-division world champion.

Tapia vs. Ayala[edit]

In 1999, Tapia suffered his first loss in his 48-bout career, losing a decision and the WBA title to Paulie Ayala in what The Ring Magazine called its "Fight of the Year." Later that year, Tapia tried to commit suicide with a drug overdose and required hospitalization. Back quickly after that, he was given a shot at the WBO title. He became a two time world bantamweight champion by beating Jorge Eliecer Julio by a decision at Albuquerque on January 8, 2000. After he defended his belt with a decision over Javier Torres, a rematch with Ayala to unify the belt was set up. Ayala won by unanimous decision in a fight that ring observers largely felt Tapia won; following the fight, Showtime commentators said that Tapia "put on a clinic" and "something's not right," nearly labeling the decision as rigged.[3]

Featherweight[edit]

Tapia returned home to prepare for bouts in 2001, when he went up in weight and beat Famosito Gomez by a knockout in six, and former WBC featherweight champion Cesar Soto by knockout in three.

In 2002, Tapia traveled to London, where he knocked out Eduardo Enrique Alvarez in the first round; after the bout, he was interviewed by former rival Romero. Tapia's next bout, for the IBF featherweight title, was versus Manuel Medina. Tapia won a dubious decision, becoming a world title holder in three different divisions. He left the title vacant so he could face Lineal & The Ring champion Marco Antonio Barrera, who beat Tapia by unanimous decision.

Comeback[edit]

Tapia returned on the night of October 4, 2003, defeating Carlos Contreras by ten round unanimous decision at Albuquerque.

On April 15, 2005, he sustained an injury to his left eye but was able to continue and win a repeat match-up with Frankie Archuleta. That win came by ten round split decision in Albuquerque.

At 38, Tapia faced little-known Sandro Marcos in Chicago. In the second round, Marcos connected with a left hook to the body. Tapia fell to the canvas, clutching his ribcage, as referee Genaro Rodriguez reached the count of 10.[4]

Later career and problems[edit]

On January 17, 2007, Tapia held a press conference stating that he would face Ilido Julio on February 23 in his home town of Albuquerque, New Mexico, then retire. The bout was being promoted as The Final Fury and Tapia promised he would win.[5] Tapia won the fight by majority decision, 98-92, 96-94, 95-95.[6]

Tapia was found unconscious and not breathing in a hotel room early on the morning of March 12, 2007. Tapia was hospitalized in critical condition from an apparent cocaine overdose at Albuquerque Presbyterian Hospital.[7]

The next day, on the morning of March 13, Tapia's brother-in-law and nephew were killed in an automobile accident on U.S. Highway 550 near Bloomfield, New Mexico, apparently en route to the hospital to visit Tapia. That same day, Tapia was upgraded from critical to serious condition.[8]

Tapia was scheduled to make a comeback on May 2, 2008, in El Paso, Texas, but pulled out due to contractual disputes with promoter Ron Weathers.[9]

On February 11, 2009, Tapia was taken into custody in Albuquerque for a violation of parole related to cocaine use.

Tapia beat Jorge Alberto Reyes by a knockout in the 4th round on March 6, 2010, at the Ohkay Casino, San Juan Pueblo, New Mexico, United States, in front of a sold-out crowd.

Personal life[edit]

Tapia was married to Teresa Tapia in 1994 and had three boys. The family lived in Albuquerque, NM.[10]

He had many tattoos, which were prominent when he was fighting. One of them said Mi Vida Loca ("My Crazy Life"), the nickname he adopted. He wrote an autobiography by that title.[11] He was a born-again Christian.

Death[edit]

On May 27, 2012, Tapia was found dead in his Albuquerque home. He was 45 years old.[12] Tapia died of heart failure.

Professional boxing record[edit]

Professional record summary
66 fights 59 wins 5 losses
By knockout 30 1
By decision 29 4
Draws 2
No. Result Record Opponent Type Round, time Date Location Notes
66 Win 59–5–2 Mauricio Pastrana UD 8 Jun 4, 2011 Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Albuquerque, New Mexico, U.S.
65 Win 58–5–2 Jose Alonso TKO 4 (10), 1:43 Sep 24, 2010 Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Albuquerque, New Mexico, U.S. Won vacant IBC Americas lightweight title
64 Win 57–5–2 Jorge Alberto Reyes TKO 4, 1:09 Mar 6, 2010 Hotel Casino, Ohkay Owingeh, New Mexico, U.S.
63 Win 56–5–2 Evaristo Primero MD 10 Feb 23, 2007 Isleta Resort & Casino, Albuquerque, New Mexico, U.S.
62 Loss 55–5–2 Sandro Marcos KO 2 (10), 2:59 Sep 16, 2005 Aragon Ballroom, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
61 Win 55–4–2 Frankie Archuleta UD 10 Apr 15, 2005 Tingley Coliseum, Albuquerque, New Mexico, U.S.
60 Win 54–4–2 Nicky Bentz SD 10 Jan 22, 2005 Dodge Arena, Hidalgo, Texas, U.S.
59 Loss 53–4–2 Frankie Archuleta SD 10 Mar 5, 2004 Highlands University, Las Vegas, New Mexico, U.S.
58 Win 53–3–2 Carlos Contreras UD 10 Sep 26, 2003 Tingley Coliseum, Albuquerque, New Mexico, U.S.
57 Loss 52–3–2 Marco Antonio Barrera UD 12 Nov 2, 2002 MGM Grand Garden Arena, Paradise, Nevada, U.S. For The Ring and lineal featherweight titles
56 Win 52–2–2 Manuel Medina MD 12 Apr 27, 2002 Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, U.S. Won IBF featherweight title
55 Win 51–2–2 Eduardo Enrique Alvarez TKO 1 (10), 1:22 Jan 19, 2002 York Hall, London, England
54 Win 50–2–2 César Soto KO 3 (10), 2:47 Jun 30, 2001 Mandalay Bay Events Center, Paradise, Nevada, U.S.
53 Win 49–2–2 Cuauhtemoc Gomez RTD 6 (10), 3:00 Mar 17, 2001 Convention Center, Albuquerque, New Mexico, U.S.
52 Loss 48–2–2 Paulie Ayala UD 12 Oct 7, 2000 MGM Grand Garden Arena, Paradise, Nevada, U.S.
51 Win 48–1–2 Pedro Javier Torres UD 12 May 6, 2000 Pan American Center, Las Cruces, New Mexico, U.S. Retained WBO bantamweight title
50 Win 47–1–2 Jorge Eliécer Julio UD 12 Jan 8, 2000 The Pit, Albuquerque, New Mexico, U.S. Won WBO bantamweight title
49 Loss 46–1–2 Paulie Ayala UD 12 Jun 26, 1999 Mandalay Bay Events Center, Paradise, Nevada, U.S. Lost WBA bantamweight title
48 Win 46–0–2 Alberto Martinez KO 1 (10), 1:43 Apr 24, 1999 Tingley Coliseum, Albuquerque, New Mexico, U.S.
47 Win 45–0–2 Nana Konadu MD 12 Dec 5, 1998 Convention Hall, Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S. Won WBA bantamweight title
46 Win 44–0–2 Carlos Francis Hernandez UD 10 Aug 29, 1998 Las Vegas Hilton, Winchester, Nevada, U.S.
45 Win 43–0–2 Rodolfo Blanco UD 12 Feb 13, 1998 The Pit, Albuquerque, New Mexico, U.S. Retained IBF and WBO super flyweight titles
44 Win 42–0–2 Andy Agosto UD 12 Dec 13, 1997 Amphitheater, Pompano Beach, Florida, U.S. Retained IBF and WBO super flyweight titles
43 Win 41–0–2 Danny Romero UD 12 Jul 18, 1997 Thomas & Mack Center, Paradise, Nevada, U.S. Retained WBO super flyweight title;
Won IBF super flyweight title
42 Win 40–0–2 Jorge Barrera TKO 3 (12), 1:58 Mar 8, 1997 Convention Center, Albuquerque, New Mexico, U.S. Retained WBO super flyweight title
41 Win 39–0–2 Adonis Cruz UD 12 Nov 30, 1996 Tingley Coliseum, Albuquerque, New Mexico, U.S. Retained WBO super flyweight title
40 Win 38–0–2 Sammy Stewart TKO 7 (12), 1:44 Oct 11, 1996 Texas Station, North Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S. Retained WBO super flyweight title
39 Win 37–0–2 Hugo Rafael Soto UD 12 Aug 17, 1996 Sports Stadium, Albuquerque, New Mexico, U.S. Retained WBO super flyweight title
38 Win 36–0–2 Ivan Alvarez TKO 8 (12), 1:31 Jun 7, 1996 Caesars Palace, Paradise, Nevada, U.S. Retained WBO super flyweight title
37 Win 35–0–2 Ramon Gonzales TKO 2 (10), 0:45 Apr 30, 1996 San Antonio, Texas, U.S.
36 Win 34–0–2 Giovanni Andrade TKO 2 (12), 2:26 Feb 3, 1996 Great Western Forum, Inglewood, California, U.S. Retained WBO super flyweight title
35 Win 33–0–2 Willy Salazar RTD 9 (12), 3:00 Dec 1, 1995 Fantasy Springs Resort Casino, Indio, California, U.S. Retained WBO super flyweight title
34 Win 32–0–2 Raul Rios UD 10 Oct 19, 1995 Boulder Station Hotel Casino, Sunrise Manor, Nevada, U.S.
33 Win 31–0–2 Jesse Miranda UD 10 Sep 9, 1995 Caesars Palace, Paradise, Nevada, U.S.
32 Win 30–0–2 Arthur Johnson MD 12 Jul 2, 1995 Johnson Gymnasium, Albuquerque, New Mexico, U.S. Retained WBO super flyweight title
31 Draw 29–0–2 Ricardo Vargas TD 8 (12) May 6, 1995 Caesars Palace, Paradise, Nevada, U.S. Retained WBO super flyweight title;
Majority TD after Vargas was cut from an accidental head clash
30 Win 29–0–1 Jose Rafael Sosa UD 12 Feb 10, 1995 The Pit, Albuquerque, New Mexico, U.S. Retained WBO super flyweight title
29 Win 28–0–1 Rolando Bohol KO 2 (10), 2:21 Dec 8, 1994 Convention Center, Albuquerque, New Mexico, U.S.
28 Win 27–0–1 Henry Martínez TKO 11 (12), 1:23 Oct 12, 1994 The Pit, Albuquerque, New Mexico, U.S. Won vacant WBO super flyweight title
27 Win 26–0–1 Oscar Aguilar TKO 3 (12) Jul 15, 1994 America West Arena, Phoenix, Arizona, U.S. Won vacant NABF super flyweight title
26 Win 25–0–1 Rafael Granillo TKO 9 (10), 2:15 Jun 24, 1994 Grand Olympic Auditorium, Los Angeles, California, U.S.
25 Win 24–0–1 Antonio Ruiz UD 10 May 5, 1994 Grand Olympic Auditorium, Los Angeles, California, U.S.
24 Win 23–0–1 Arturo Estrada TKO 2 (10), 1:45 Apr 15, 1994 Kiva Auditorium, Albuquerque, New Mexico, U.S.
23 Win 22–0–1 Jaime Olvera KO 4 (8), 1:08 Mar 27, 1994 Expo Square Pavilion, Tulsa, Oklahoma, U.S.
22 Win 21–0–1 Santiago Caballero TD 7 (12) Oct 26, 1990 Bally's Las Vegas, Paradise, Nevada, U.S. Retained USBA super flyweight title;
Unanimous TD after Tapia was accidentally thumbed in the eye
21 Win 20–0–1 Luigi Camputaro UD 12 Sep 20, 1990 Bally's Las Vegas, Paradise, Nevada, U.S. Retained USBA super flyweight title
20 Win 19–0–1 Jose Montiel TKO 9 (12), 2:07 Jul 27, 1990 Bally's Las Vegas, Paradise, Nevada, U.S. Retained USBA super flyweight title
19 Win 18–0–1 Pablo Valenzuela KO 5 (12), 2:36 Jun 21, 1990 La Mancha Athletic Club, Phoenix, Arizona, U.S. Retained USBA super flyweight title
18 Win 17–0–1 Roland Gomez TKO 11 (12), 1:27 May 10, 1990 Harrah's Lake Tahoe, Stateline, Nevada, U.S. Won vacant USBA super flyweight title
17 Win 16–0–1 Abraham Garcia TKO 1 (10) Mar 16, 1990 Convention Center, Phoenix, Arizona, U.S.
16 Win 15–0–1 Jesus Chong UD 8 Feb 16, 1990 Hacienda, Paradise, Nevada, U.S.
15 Win 14–0–1 Martin Perez Ramirez UD 8 Dec 1, 1989 Hacienda, Paradise, Nevada, U.S.
14 Win 13–0–1 Prudencio De Jesus TKO 1 Nov 17, 1989 Convention Center, Phoenix, Arizona, U.S.
13 Win 12–0–1 John Michael Johnson UD 8 Oct 17, 1989 State Fair, Phoenix, Arizona, U.S.
12 Win 11–0–1 Hugo Partida KO 2 (10) Aug 19, 1989 State Fairgrounds, Albuquerque, New Mexico, U.S.
11 Win 10–0–1 Josefino Suarez UD 8 Jun 17, 1989 Tingley Coliseum, Albuquerque, New Mexico, U.S.
10 Win 9–0–1 Fred Hernandez UD 8 Mar 23, 1989 Marriott Hotel, Irvine, California, U.S.
9 Win 8–0–1 Abner Barajas TKO 2 (8) Feb 17, 1989 State Fair Pavilion, Albuquerque, New Mexico, U.S.
8 Win 7–0–1 Simon Contreras UD 8 Dec 1, 1988 Marriott Hotel, Irvine, California, U.S.
7 Win 6–0–1 Jorge Salinas TKO 1, 2:35 Oct 14, 1988 Caesars Palace, Paradise, Nevada, U.S.
6 Win 5–0–1 Manuel Martinez KO 1 (6) Sep 29, 1988 Marriott Hotel, Irvine, California, U.S.
5 Win 4–0–1 Miguel Martinez KO 1 (6), 2:02 Sep 16, 1988 Caesars Palace, Paradise, Nevada, U.S.
4 Win 3–0–1 Martin Perez Ramirez TKO 1 (6), 1:51 Jun 30, 1988 Marriott Hotel, Irvine, California, U.S.
3 Win 2–0–1 Norberto Ayala KO 4 (4) May 16, 1988 Centre Plaza Holiday Inn, Fresno, California, U.S.
2 Win 1–0–1 James Dean UD 6 Apr 11, 1988 Centre Plaza Holiday Inn, Fresno, California, U.S.
1 Draw 0–0–1 Efren Chavez MD 4 Mar 28, 1988 Marriott Hotel, Irvine, California, U.S. Professional debut

References[edit]

  1. ^ "HBO World Boxing". HBO World Boxing. 2002-04-27. Retrieved 2012-05-28. 
  2. ^ "Johnny Tapia Fails Drug Test in Rehab - Boxing News". Boxingscene.com. 2007-08-14. Retrieved 2012-05-28. 
  3. ^ Showtime Broadcast https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MeCgCKJ3iQk
  4. ^ Boxing News by 15rounds.com
  5. ^ Dan RafaelBoxingArchive (2007-01-18). "Tapia to fight Julio in New Mexico, then retire - boxing - ESPN". Sports.espn.go.com. Retrieved 2012-05-28. 
  6. ^ "BoxRec Boxing Records". Boxrec.com. 2007-02-23. Retrieved 2012-05-28. 
  7. ^ "Five-time world champion in serious condition - boxing - ESPN". Sports.espn.go.com. 2007-03-13. Retrieved 2012-05-28. 
  8. ^ "Boxer Johnny Tapia's brother-in-law dies in wreck : Local : Albuquerque Tribune". Abqtrib.com. 2007-03-13. Archived from the original on 2012-06-02. Retrieved 2012-05-28. 
  9. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2008-05-17. Retrieved 2008-05-03. 
  10. ^ "Five-time champ Tapia to remain in rehab after testing positive for drugs". Associated Press. Retrieved 28 May 2012. 
  11. ^ "Johnny Tapia". Archived from the original on 26 July 2013. Retrieved 28 May 2012. 
  12. ^ "Police: Boxing legend Johnny Tapia dead at 45". KOB. May 27, 2012. Retrieved 28 May 2012. 

External links[edit]

Sporting positions
Amateur boxing titles
Previous:
Jose Rosario
U.S. Golden Gloves
light flyweight champion

1983
Next:
Israel Acosta
Previous:
Les Fabri
U.S. Golden Gloves
flyweight champion

1985
Next:
Tony Wilson
Regional boxing titles
Vacant
Title last held by
Robert Quiroga
USBA super flyweight champion
May 10, 1990 – May 1992
Vacated
Vacant
Title next held by
John Michael Johnson
Vacant
Title last held by
Marco Antonio Barrera
NABF super flyweight champion
July 15, 1994 – October 1994
Vacated
Vacant
Title next held by
Danny Romero
Vacant
Title last held by
Josh Sosa
IBC Americas lightweight champion
September 24, 2010 – June 2011
Vacated
Vacant
World boxing titles
Vacant
Title last held by
Johnny Bredahl
WBO super flyweight champion
October 12, 1994 – December 1998
Vacated
Vacant
Title next held by
Victor Godoi
Preceded by
Danny Romero
IBF super flyweight champion
July 18, 1997 – December 1998
Vacated
Vacant
Title next held by
Mark Johnson
Preceded by
Nana Konadu
WBA bantamweight champion
December 5, 1998 – June 26, 1999
Succeeded by
Paulie Ayala
Preceded by
Jorge Eliécer Julio
WBO bantamweight champion
January 8, 2000 – September 2000
Vacated
Vacant
Title next held by
Mauricio Martínez
Preceded by
Manuel Medina
IBF featherweight champion
April 27, 2002 – November 2002
Vacated
Vacant
Title next held by
Juan Manuel Márquez