Longtime fans of boxing undoubtedly remember the story of Johnny Tapia, while those newer to the sport may not understand the impact he had or the battles he waged both in and out of the ring. Tapia’s life was one laced with tragedy from the beginning when he mother was murdered while he was still an infant. He also struggled with addiction, specifically in relation to cocaine, and attempted suicide more than a decade ago by overdosing. He overdosed again in 2007 with the sad circumstance compounded by the death of his nephew and brother-in-law who were killed in a car crash while going to the hospital to visit him. He was also arrested in 2009 for violating his probation by using cocaine.
Sadly, the former five-time champion now appears to have lost the fight for his life, as the 45-year old Tapia was found dead at his home on Sunday night with the police stating the circumstances did not appear to be suspicious. An autopsy will be performed in the next few days to determine cause of death.
On the boxing front, Tapia held an overall record of 59-5-2 and had fought as recently as last year when he won a Unanimous Decision. The performance marked his third straight victory since returning in 2010 after a three-year break. The proud product of Albuquerque, New Mexico held titles in three different weight-classes including belts from the IBF, WBA, and WBO.
There are many paths to freedom....not all are peaceful.