It was a said day on Sunday as the boxing world lost one of it’s most polarizing figures. Johnny Tapia was found dead in his New Mexico home. I must admit, I haven’t watched the sport in earnest since the early 2000s. Try as I might, I just can’t get into MMA. I love boxing just so much. One of the reasons I fell in love with the sport was Johnny Tapia.
I’m not and was never a die hard fan. I watched all the Showtime, HBO and PPV events. So by the time I saw the boxer he was very well established. I first saw Tapia when he took on Danny Romero on HBO in 1997. There are certain matches that define a boxer’s career. Tapia – Romero was one of those fights. I had never seen a more brutal fight, Tapia would win by decision, but in my mind he was the gutsiest and most powerful boxer I had ever seen in that weight class.
Since that fight I was hooked on Tapia and watched most of his remaining fights. He led an incredibly difficult life and had even been pronounced dead four times. He more than likely would have died a lot sooner if it weren’t for boxing, but it seemed as though he had turned the corner in his life. Married and with two children, and staying out of the police blotter, I thought he would ride off into the New Mexico sunset, finally beating those demons from within.
Unfortunately that wasn’t the case. I will always remember Tapia as one of the best fighters in boxing history. Most people love the heavier weight divisions, but the real entertainment comes from the lighter divisions. Tapia was a fighter no one wanted to take on if they had the belt. He could absorb punishment like no boxer i had ever seen. The boxing world is going to miss Johnny Tapia, and so will I.
Do you remember his career?