Sports fans today received grim news as one of the legends of U.S. boxing died at his home. Johnny Tapia, five-time world boxing champion was found dead in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
When it came to Johnny Tapia, everybody knew about his appeal for alcohol and drug addiction, as well as his often depressions. Chances are many expected to hear news about his death a long time ago, but in the end, Johnny Tapia put up a great fight with life itself.
According to the boxing legend’s spokesman, Robert Gibbs, authorities found Johnny Tapia dead on Sunday evening at his home in Albuquerque. Gibbs added that for the moment being the death didn’t look suspicious.
Dennis Latta, one of Johnny Tapia’s longtime friends, said on KOB yesterday that he finds the news hard to believe. “He’s come so close so often to death, so it’s hard to believe that it’s finally happened”. Latta added: “To realize that now he’s gone, it’s really a surprise, I thought he was just invulnerable, it was water off a duck’s back every time he came close to death”.
Johnny Tapia’s career in boxing was quite spectacular. He managed to win five championships in WBA, IBF and WBO weight classes. Fans loved him for what he was. The more troubles he got into, the more they came together to defend him. Even when Tapia was clashing with authorities and spending nights in jail, fans stood by him.
The early 90s were perhaps the worst both for Tapia and boxing fans. The man got almost four years of suspension from fighting over his cocaine addiction, but in 1994 he came back and took the boxing ring by storm. He won the WBO bantamweight title against Henry Martinez. The rest of the decade brought him another four titles.
For the laymen, Tapia’s cocaine addiction might seem hard to understand. However, when looking at the boxing legend’s tragic life, it is easy to understand why fans stood by him. His mother was killed in a brutal screwdriver stabbing and he remained an orphan at only 8 years.
Years later, in 2007, Tapia lost both his brother-in-law and his nephew during a car accident. They were on their way to see Tapia in hospital after what many called a cocaine overdose.