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Johnny Tapia Dead: Boxing Great Was 45

No details from police yet

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Johnny Tapia, a boxer who made a name for himself in New Mexico, was found dead in his home on Sunday evening. Police have not released details as to the cause of death just yet.

Tapia struggled for years to overcome the horrors of his early life, which included allegedly witnessing his mother’s kidnapping before she was brutally raped and murdered. He was raised by his grandparents and went on to fall in to a life of drugs and violence on the rough streets of Albuquerque. He turned to boxing at an early age to help deal with his anger and frustration, and went on to have a stellar amateur career, winning the National Golden Gloves award twice within two years.

The young fighter went on to win several titles, building up his reputation as he went, and became something of a hero to his hometown. But drugs were never far away, and his career was suspended more than once due to cocaine use and legal issues which stemmed from it. In 1999, Tapia ended his 48-bout winning streak with a loss to Paulie Ayala; shortly after, he attempted to commit suicidevia drug overdose. After recovering–and more than one stint in a correctional facility–Tapia said he felt the time away had helped him, but that he could only live for the moment.

“I stayed clean in there,” he said. “So I know I can stay clean out here. But it’s only for today because yesterday is gone and tomorrow never comes. If I go and be excited too much and I mess up, then I have to start over again. Like I said, for today I’m OK.”

Johnny Tapia beat the odds first by becoming world champion and then by living to 45; a tortured but good soul, and a real fighter.
12 hours ago via Twitter for iPhone · powered by @socialditto
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Sad to hear Johnny Tapia has died! A great champion! RIP
1 day ago via Twitter for iPhone · powered by @socialditto
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RIP Johnny Tapia… One of the most colorful characters you’ll ever find. Wouldn’t believe it if you saw it in a film..Una Vida Loca! #Amigo
1 day ago via Twitter for BlackBerry® · powered by @socialditto
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RIP Johnny Tapia. You had many demons, but you were a good man at heart. May you be at peace. Gonna miss you
1 day ago via web · powered by @socialditto
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Rest in Paradise Johnny Tapia… No more struggle
14 minutes ago via UberSocial for BlackBerry · powered by @socialditto
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Johnny Tapia Dead: Boxing Great Was 45
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  • Missy Lundien

    My condolences to the Tapia family, RIP Johnny Tapia.

  • Freddy chacon

    Met tapia in San Antonio, bought his book mi vida loca had it autographed, really nice guy spent 20 min. Just talking with him. Entertaining boxer he will be missed. My condolences to his wife.

  • Joe G Romero

    He was a good guy I met him once as he was interested in purchasing my home. He entered to look it over and he just lit up the room. He was an amazing person and a great fighter. I knew him only once, but I cried when I heard he had passed rest in peace my friend.

    Joe G Romero

  • DAG

    In pace requiescat. A victory for the creature? NOT! The Creator has called home one of His.

  • brent churchill

    another good person taken to soon. when will people realize that addiction is a life-long disease with no cure. you can never be cured of addiction its something you deal with for the rest of your life one day at a time. When will the politicians and doctors and the general public realize that we need to treat addiction as a disease and use the $ they spend on putting and housing someone in a jail cell on recovery!!!!! oh but the government and privatized prisons wouldnt make money from that, they would have to release. tens of thousands of prisoners that they get $60,000 a year from for “housing” them, not to mention the cheap slve like labor they make billions of dollars off of. Heres a thought if a guys in prison doing well , why not pay him a fair wage so he has money when he gets out and can hopefully start a new life …… No way then they would be less likely to commit a crime for $ and wont get sent back to prison where whoops you guessed it they make $ of him again and theyve got there slave back!!!!

    • http://johnnytapiadead margaret

      MY COMMENT TO THAT IS THAT NOONE HAS EVER SAID ANY BETTER THEN YOU DID.ALOT OF PEOPLE GOOD PEOPLE HAVE LOST THEIR LIFES BECAUSE OF ADDICTION.YES THEY ARE OUT HERE IN THE STREETS WITH NO HELP FROM NO WHERE .A FEW PROGRAMS ,BUT NOT ENOUGH FOR THE MANY PEOPLE ON DRUGS. THEY REALLY NEED TO PUT THER MONEY ON HELPIN THIS PEOPLE.THEY SOMETIMES DON,T EVEN NO WHO TO TURN TO .NO HELP ANYWHERE

  • http://johnnytapiadead margaret

    to the man with the biggest heart you will be missed.may our LORD AND SAVIOR KEEP YOU IN HIS GLORY.REST IN PEACE TO THE GREATEST BOXER EVER

  • A. Quintana

    The “505″ loves you back brother! Always will…

  • al jones

    Rip

  • Marcelo F. Palermo

    As a trainer, a fighter and a journalist, I must say I had the privilege to meet Johnny. His constant smile and attitude couldn’t indicate that, despite his struggles, he would go so soon. Rest in peace dear Johnny!

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