Johnny Tapia, Boxing Champion, Dead at 45
Five-time Boxing Champ Johnny Tapia was found dead in his Albuquerque, New Mexico home. The former champ was always known away from the ring for his outrageous lifestyle. Robert Gibbs a spokesman for the police said someone from Tapia’s home had called and authorities responded at about 7:45 Sunday evening. The authorities also said it did not appear as if the death was suspicious.
Tapia was just 45 when he died. He was the world champion in three separate weight classes on five different occasions during his professional boxing career. His overall record was 59 wins, five loses and two draws. In his 59 victories, he had 30 knockouts. The native of New Mexico was known as much for what he did outside the ring, as for how he performed inside the squared circle. Early in his career, he quickly became a favorite of the crowd because of being flamboyant and eccentric.
He also was no stranger to the law, as he had a number of run-ins with police before, during and after his career. During that time, he also battled problems with cocaine and alcohol, while suffering at times from depression. Tapia, in fact, was banned for over 42 months from boxing in the 1990s for using cocaine.
However, in 1994, after being reinstated by the national boxing commission he won a championship and eventually captured four other titles while always taking the underdog, fan favorite roles. Last June, at the age of 44, he fought his last fight, which was a victory.
Authorities said that an autopsy would be performed on Tapia over the next couple of days and results would be released once they are available.