|Real name||John Lee Anthony Tapia|
|Height||5 ft 6 in (168 cm)|
|Reach||65 in (165 cm)|
|Born||February 13, 1967|
Albuquerque, New Mexico, U.S.
|Died||May 27, 2012 (aged 45)|
Albuquerque, New Mexico, U.S.
|Wins by KO||30|
John Lee Anthony Tapia (February 13, 1967 – May 27, 2012) was an American professional boxer who competed from 1988 to 2011. He held multiple world championships in three weight classes, including the unified IBF and WBO super flyweight titles between 1994 and 1998, the unified WBA and WBO bantamweight titles between 1998 and 2000, and the IBF featherweight title in 2002. His 1999 loss by decision to Paulie Ayala was named the Fight of the Year by The Ring magazine.
Tapia was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico to Mexican American parents. His father had reportedly been murdered while his mother was pregnant with him. When he was eight years old, his mother, Virginia, was kidnapped, raped, repeatedly stabbed, and left for dead by her assailant. Raised thereafter by his grandmother, Tapia turned to boxing at the age of nine.
Tapia's professional boxing career began on March 25, 1988, when he fought Effren Chavez in Irvine, California. After four rounds of boxing the fight was called a draw. He won eight fights that year, five by knockout, of which four were in the first round. In 1989, he won seven more fights, including a first-round knockout of Abner Barajas and an eight-round decision against John Michael Johnson.
In 1990, he won seven bouts, including an eight-round decision over Jesus Chong, an eleventh-round technical knockout of Roland Gomez in Reno that gave him the USBA super flyweight title, and a twelve-round decision over Luigi Camputaro, to retain that title. Tapia was, by the end of the year, a known boxer, his name often appearing in magazine articles. However, his career came to a halt for the next three and a half years after being suspended from boxing for testing positive for cocaine.
When he finally returned to the ring on March 27, 1994, he beat Jaime Olvera by a knockout in four rounds in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He won three more fights by knockout, and then he faced Oscar Aguilar on the Michael Carbajal–Josue Camacho undercard in Phoenix for the NABF super flyweight title, winning in three rounds. Five days later the Albuquerque Police claimed they found cocaine after the fight in a bag carried by Tapia. Tapia claimed what the police found was only a soap bar, and the charges were eventually dropped.
First world title
On October 12, 1994 at The Pit, Albuquerque, New Mexico, Tapia defeated Henry Martínez in eleven rounds to win the vacant WBO super flyweight title. He then knocked out former champion Rolando Bohol in the second round. In his first title defense, Tapia defeated Jose Rafael Sosa by decision.
He retained the title with a nine-round technical draw with Ricardo Vargas and a decision in twelve against his onetime nemesis in the amateur ranks, Arthur Johnson. After two more wins, he gave Willy Salazar a title shot, knocking him out in nine rounds. In 1996, he fought six more times, keeping his undefeated record and defending the title five additional times during that period, which included wins against Giovanni Andrade, Ivan Alvarez, future champion Hugo Rafael Soto, Sammy Stewart and Adonis Cruz. By then, a heated rivalry was cooking up between him and IBF champion Danny Romero. Their rivalry had begun many years earlier when Romero's father trained both boxers. Tapia's split with the Romero family had not been on good terms.
Tapia vs Romero unification
1997 saw Tapia fend off a challenge from Jorge Barrera in three rounds. After that, the fight with Romero was set for Las Vegas. The fight took place on July 18. Tapia won by a unanimous twelve-round decision, adding the IBF title to his WBO belt. In his next fight, he defeated Puerto Rico's Andy Agosto via decision. Tapia began 1998 by successfully defending his championships for the 11th time against former world champion Rodolfo Blanco of Colombia via decision, and then he vacated his world titles in order to move up in weight.
Tapia vs. Ayala
In 1999, Tapia suffered his first loss in his 48-bout career, losing a decision and the WBA title to Paulie Ayala in what The Ring Magazine called its "Fight of the Year." Later that year, Tapia tried to commit suicide with a drug overdose and required hospitalization. Back quickly after that, he was given a shot at the WBO title. He became a two time world bantamweight champion by beating Jorge Eliecer Julio by a decision at Albuquerque on January 8, 2000. After he defended his belt with a decision over Javier Torres, a rematch with Ayala to unify the belt was set up. Ayala won by unanimous decision in a fight that ring observers largely felt Tapia won; following the fight, Showtime commentators said that Tapia "put on a clinic" and "something's not right," nearly labeling the decision as rigged.
Tapia returned home to prepare for bouts in 2001, when he went up in weight and beat Famosito Gomez by a knockout in six, and former WBC featherweight champion Cesar Soto by knockout in three.
In 2002, Tapia traveled to London, where he knocked out Eduardo Enrique Alvarez in the first round; after the bout, he was interviewed by former rival Romero. Tapia's next bout, for the IBF featherweight title, was versus Manuel Medina. Tapia won a dubious decision, becoming a world title holder in three different divisions. He left the title vacant so he could face Lineal & The Ring champion Marco Antonio Barrera, who beat Tapia by unanimous decision.
Tapia returned on the night of October 4, 2003, defeating Carlos Contreras by ten round unanimous decision at Albuquerque.
On April 15, 2005, he sustained an injury to his left eye but was able to continue and win a repeat match-up with Frankie Archuleta. That win came by ten round split decision in Albuquerque.
At 38, Tapia faced little-known Sandro Marcos in Chicago. In the second round, Marcos connected with a left hook to the body. Tapia fell to the canvas, clutching his ribcage, as referee Genaro Rodriguez reached the count of 10.
Later career and problems
On January 17, 2007, Tapia held a press conference stating that he would face Ilido Julio on February 23 in his home town of Albuquerque, New Mexico, then retire. The bout was being promoted as The Final Fury and Tapia promised he would win. Tapia won the fight by majority decision, 98-92, 96-94, 95-95.
Tapia was found unconscious and not breathing in a hotel room early on the morning of March 12, 2007. Tapia was hospitalized in critical condition from an apparent cocaine overdose at Albuquerque Presbyterian Hospital.
The next day, on the morning of March 13, Tapia's brother-in-law and nephew were killed in an automobile accident on U.S. Highway 550 near Bloomfield, New Mexico, apparently en route to the hospital to visit Tapia. That same day, Tapia was upgraded from critical to serious condition.
On February 11, 2009, Tapia was taken into custody in Albuquerque for a violation of parole related to cocaine use.
Tapia beat Jorge Alberto Reyes by a knockout in the 4th round on March 6, 2010, at the Ohkay Casino, San Juan Pueblo, New Mexico, United States, in front of a sold-out crowd.
Tapia was married to Teresa Tapia in 1994 and had three boys. The family lived in Albuquerque, NM.
He had many tattoos, which were prominent when he was fighting. One of them said Mi Vida Loca ("My Crazy Life"), the nickname he adopted. He wrote an autobiography by that title. He was a born-again Christian.
In 2010, at age 43, Tapia learned that his father was alive. Jerry Padilla, who Tapia already knew, was intrigued by the similarities in their mannerisms, and the two decided to submit to a DNA test, which proved they were father and son. After Tapia died in 2012, his widow briefly married his half-brother, Jeffrey Padilla, in 2014. However, she felt it wrong that the senior Padilla had “jokingly” mingled his DNA swabs with Tapia in 2010, getting a court order to compare a new and controlled swab with some of Tapia's tissue, proving in 2017 that they were not father and son.
On May 27, 2012, Tapia was found dead in his Albuquerque home. He was 45 years old. Tapia died of heart failure.
Professional boxing record
|Professional record summary|
|66 fights||59 wins||5 losses|
|66||Win||59–5–2||Mauricio Pastrana||UD||8||Jun 4, 2011||Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Albuquerque, New Mexico, U.S.|
|65||Win||58–5–2||Jose Alonso||TKO||4 (10), 1:43||Sep 24, 2010||Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Albuquerque, New Mexico, U.S.||Won vacant IBC Americas lightweight title|
|64||Win||57–5–2||Jorge Alberto Reyes||TKO||4, 1:09||Mar 6, 2010||Hotel Casino, Ohkay Owingeh, New Mexico, U.S.|
|63||Win||56–5–2||Evaristo Primero||MD||10||Feb 23, 2007||Isleta Resort & Casino, Albuquerque, New Mexico, U.S.|
|62||Loss||55–5–2||Sandro Marcos||KO||2 (10), 2:59||Sep 16, 2005||Aragon Ballroom, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.|
|61||Win||55–4–2||Frankie Archuleta||UD||10||Apr 15, 2005||Tingley Coliseum, Albuquerque, New Mexico, U.S.|
|60||Win||54–4–2||Nicky Bentz||SD||10||Jan 22, 2005||Dodge Arena, Hidalgo, Texas, U.S.|
|59||Loss||53–4–2||Frankie Archuleta||SD||10||Mar 5, 2004||Highlands University, Las Vegas, New Mexico, U.S.|
|58||Win||53–3–2||Carlos Contreras||UD||10||Sep 26, 2003||Tingley Coliseum, Albuquerque, New Mexico, U.S.|
|57||Loss||52–3–2||Marco Antonio Barrera||UD||12||Nov 2, 2002||MGM Grand Garden Arena, Paradise, Nevada, U.S.||For The Ring and lineal featherweight titles|
|56||Win||52–2–2||Manuel Medina||MD||12||Apr 27, 2002||Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, U.S.||Won IBF featherweight title|
|55||Win||51–2–2||Eduardo Enrique Alvarez||TKO||1 (10), 1:22||Jan 19, 2002||York Hall, London, England|
|54||Win||50–2–2||César Soto||KO||3 (10), 2:47||Jun 30, 2001||Mandalay Bay Events Center, Paradise, Nevada, U.S.|
|53||Win||49–2–2||Cuauhtemoc Gomez||RTD||6 (10), 3:00||Mar 17, 2001||Convention Center, Albuquerque, New Mexico, U.S.|
|52||Loss||48–2–2||Paulie Ayala||UD||12||Oct 7, 2000||MGM Grand Garden Arena, Paradise, Nevada, U.S.|
|51||Win||48–1–2||Pedro Javier Torres||UD||12||May 6, 2000||Pan American Center, Las Cruces, New Mexico, U.S.||Retained WBO bantamweight title|
|50||Win||47–1–2||Jorge Eliécer Julio||UD||12||Jan 8, 2000||The Pit, Albuquerque, New Mexico, U.S.||Won WBO bantamweight title|
|49||Loss||46–1–2||Paulie Ayala||UD||12||Jun 26, 1999||Mandalay Bay Events Center, Paradise, Nevada, U.S.||Lost WBA bantamweight title|
|48||Win||46–0–2||Alberto Martinez||KO||1 (10), 1:43||Apr 24, 1999||Tingley Coliseum, Albuquerque, New Mexico, U.S.|
|47||Win||45–0–2||Nana Konadu||MD||12||Dec 5, 1998||Convention Hall, Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S.||Won WBA bantamweight title|
|46||Win||44–0–2||Carlos Francis Hernandez||UD||10||Aug 29, 1998||Las Vegas Hilton, Winchester, Nevada, U.S.|
|45||Win||43–0–2||Rodolfo Blanco||UD||12||Feb 13, 1998||The Pit, Albuquerque, New Mexico, U.S.||Retained IBF and WBO super flyweight titles|
|44||Win||42–0–2||Andy Agosto||UD||12||Dec 13, 1997||Amphitheater, Pompano Beach, Florida, U.S.||Retained IBF and WBO super flyweight titles|
|43||Win||41–0–2||Danny Romero||UD||12||Jul 18, 1997||Thomas & Mack Center, Paradise, Nevada, U.S.||Retained WBO super flyweight title;|
Won IBF super flyweight title
|42||Win||40–0–2||Jorge Barrera||TKO||3 (12), 1:58||Mar 8, 1997||Convention Center, Albuquerque, New Mexico, U.S.||Retained WBO super flyweight title|
|41||Win||39–0–2||Adonis Cruz||UD||12||Nov 30, 1996||Tingley Coliseum, Albuquerque, New Mexico, U.S.||Retained WBO super flyweight title|
|40||Win||38–0–2||Sammy Stewart||TKO||7 (12), 1:44||Oct 11, 1996||Texas Station, North Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S.||Retained WBO super flyweight title|
|39||Win||37–0–2||Hugo Rafael Soto||UD||12||Aug 17, 1996||Sports Stadium, Albuquerque, New Mexico, U.S.||Retained WBO super flyweight title|
|38||Win||36–0–2||Ivan Alvarez||TKO||8 (12), 1:31||Jun 7, 1996||Caesars Palace, Paradise, Nevada, U.S.||Retained WBO super flyweight title|
|37||Win||35–0–2||Ramon Gonzales||TKO||2 (10), 0:45||Apr 30, 1996||San Antonio, Texas, U.S.|
|36||Win||34–0–2||Giovanni Andrade||TKO||2 (12), 2:26||Feb 3, 1996||Great Western Forum, Inglewood, California, U.S.||Retained WBO super flyweight title|
|35||Win||33–0–2||Willy Salazar||RTD||9 (12), 3:00||Dec 1, 1995||Fantasy Springs Resort Casino, Indio, California, U.S.||Retained WBO super flyweight title|
|34||Win||32–0–2||Raul Rios||UD||10||Oct 19, 1995||Boulder Station Hotel Casino, Sunrise Manor, Nevada, U.S.|
|33||Win||31–0–2||Jesse Miranda||UD||10||Sep 9, 1995||Caesars Palace, Paradise, Nevada, U.S.|
|32||Win||30–0–2||Arthur Johnson||MD||12||Jul 2, 1995||Johnson Gymnasium, Albuquerque, New Mexico, U.S.||Retained WBO super flyweight title|
|31||Draw||29–0–2||Ricardo Vargas||TD||8 (12)||May 6, 1995||Caesars Palace, Paradise, Nevada, U.S.||Retained WBO super flyweight title;|
Majority TD after Vargas was cut from an accidental head clash
|30||Win||29–0–1||Jose Rafael Sosa||UD||12||Feb 10, 1995||The Pit, Albuquerque, New Mexico, U.S.||Retained WBO super flyweight title|
|29||Win||28–0–1||Rolando Bohol||KO||2 (10), 2:21||Dec 8, 1994||Convention Center, Albuquerque, New Mexico, U.S.|
|28||Win||27–0–1||Henry Martínez||TKO||11 (12), 1:23||Oct 12, 1994||The Pit, Albuquerque, New Mexico, U.S.||Won vacant WBO super flyweight title|
|27||Win||26–0–1||Oscar Aguilar||TKO||3 (12)||Jul 15, 1994||America West Arena, Phoenix, Arizona, U.S.||Won vacant NABF super flyweight title|
|26||Win||25–0–1||Rafael Granillo||TKO||9 (10), 2:15||Jun 24, 1994||Grand Olympic Auditorium, Los Angeles, California, U.S.|
|25||Win||24–0–1||Antonio Ruiz||UD||10||May 5, 1994||Grand Olympic Auditorium, Los Angeles, California, U.S.|
|24||Win||23–0–1||Arturo Estrada||TKO||2 (10), 1:45||Apr 15, 1994||Kiva Auditorium, Albuquerque, New Mexico, U.S.|
|23||Win||22–0–1||Jaime Olvera||KO||4 (8), 1:08||Mar 27, 1994||Expo Square Pavilion, Tulsa, Oklahoma, U.S.|
|22||Win||21–0–1||Santiago Caballero||TD||7 (12)||Oct 26, 1990||Bally's Las Vegas, Paradise, Nevada, U.S.||Retained USBA super flyweight title;|
Unanimous TD after Tapia was accidentally thumbed in the eye
|21||Win||20–0–1||Luigi Camputaro||UD||12||Sep 20, 1990||Bally's Las Vegas, Paradise, Nevada, U.S.||Retained USBA super flyweight title|
|20||Win||19–0–1||Jose Montiel||TKO||9 (12), 2:07||Jul 27, 1990||Bally's Las Vegas, Paradise, Nevada, U.S.||Retained USBA super flyweight title|
|19||Win||18–0–1||Pablo Valenzuela||KO||5 (12), 2:36||Jun 21, 1990||La Mancha Athletic Club, Phoenix, Arizona, U.S.||Retained USBA super flyweight title|
|18||Win||17–0–1||Roland Gomez||TKO||11 (12), 1:27||May 10, 1990||Harrah's Lake Tahoe, Stateline, Nevada, U.S.||Won vacant USBA super flyweight title|
|17||Win||16–0–1||Abraham Garcia||TKO||1 (10)||Mar 16, 1990||Convention Center, Phoenix, Arizona, U.S.|
|16||Win||15–0–1||Jesus Chong||UD||8||Feb 16, 1990||Hacienda, Paradise, Nevada, U.S.|
|15||Win||14–0–1||Martin Perez Ramirez||UD||8||Dec 1, 1989||Hacienda, Paradise, Nevada, U.S.|
|14||Win||13–0–1||Prudencio De Jesus||TKO||1||Nov 17, 1989||Convention Center, Phoenix, Arizona, U.S.|
|13||Win||12–0–1||John Michael Johnson||UD||8||Oct 17, 1989||State Fair, Phoenix, Arizona, U.S.|
|12||Win||11–0–1||Hugo Partida||KO||2 (10)||Aug 19, 1989||State Fairgrounds, Albuquerque, New Mexico, U.S.|
|11||Win||10–0–1||Josefino Suarez||UD||8||Jun 17, 1989||Tingley Coliseum, Albuquerque, New Mexico, U.S.|
|10||Win||9–0–1||Fred Hernandez||UD||8||Mar 23, 1989||Marriott Hotel, Irvine, California, U.S.|
|9||Win||8–0–1||Abner Barajas||TKO||2 (8)||Feb 17, 1989||State Fair Pavilion, Albuquerque, New Mexico, U.S.|
|8||Win||7–0–1||Simon Contreras||UD||8||Dec 1, 1988||Marriott Hotel, Irvine, California, U.S.|
|7||Win||6–0–1||Jorge Salinas||TKO||1, 2:35||Oct 14, 1988||Caesars Palace, Paradise, Nevada, U.S.|
|6||Win||5–0–1||Manuel Martinez||KO||1 (6)||Sep 29, 1988||Marriott Hotel, Irvine, California, U.S.|
|5||Win||4–0–1||Miguel Martinez||KO||1 (6), 2:02||Sep 16, 1988||Caesars Palace, Paradise, Nevada, U.S.|
|4||Win||3–0–1||Martin Perez Ramirez||TKO||1 (6), 1:51||Jun 30, 1988||Marriott Hotel, Irvine, California, U.S.|
|3||Win||2–0–1||Norberto Ayala||KO||4 (4)||May 16, 1988||Centre Plaza Holiday Inn, Fresno, California, U.S.|
|2||Win||1–0���1||James Dean||UD||6||Apr 11, 1988||Centre Plaza Holiday Inn, Fresno, California, U.S.|
|1||Draw||0–0–1||Efren Chavez||MD||4||Mar 28, 1988||Marriott Hotel, Irvine, California, U.S.|
- HBO Tapia documentary. 2013.
- "HBO World Boxing". HBO World Boxing. 2002-04-27. Retrieved 2012-05-28.
- Albuquerque Hosts National Golden Gloves Tournament, The Hobbs Flare, March 10, 1983, p. 10.
- "Johnny Tapia Fails Drug Test in Rehab - Boxing News". Boxingscene.com. 2007-08-14. Retrieved 2012-05-28.
- Showtime Broadcast https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MeCgCKJ3iQk
- Boxing News by 15rounds.com
- Dan RafaelBoxingArchive (2007-01-18). "Tapia to fight Julio in New Mexico, then retire - boxing - ESPN". Sports.espn.go.com. Retrieved 2012-05-28.
- "BoxRec Boxing Records". Boxrec.com. 2007-02-23. Retrieved 2012-05-28.
- "Five-time world champion in serious condition - boxing - ESPN". Sports.espn.go.com. 2007-03-13. Retrieved 2012-05-28.
- "Boxer Johnny Tapia's brother-in-law dies in wreck : Local : Albuquerque Tribune". Abqtrib.com. 2007-03-13. Archived from the original on 2012-06-02. Retrieved 2012-05-28.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2008-05-17. Retrieved 2008-05-03.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- "Five-time champ Tapia to remain in rehab after testing positive for drugs". Associated Press. Retrieved 28 May 2012.
- "Johnny Tapia". Archived from the original on 26 July 2013. Retrieved 28 May 2012.
- Laflin, Nancy (2017-12-22). "Man who claimed to be Johnny Tapia's father will pay thousands for fraud". KOAT-TV. Retrieved 2019-09-22.
- Wright, Rick (2017-03-02). "DNA test results rule out Padilla as father of late boxer Tapia". Albuquerque Journal. Retrieved 2019-09-22.
- "Johnny Tapia, Champion Boxer Amid Chaos, Dies at 45". NYTIMES. May 28, 2012. Retrieved 6 January 2020.
- Professional boxing record for Johnny Tapia from BoxRec
- Johnny Tapia Interview at convictedartist.com
|Amateur boxing titles|
| U.S. Golden Gloves
light flyweight champion
| U.S. Golden Gloves
|Regional boxing titles|
Title last held byRobert Quiroga
| USBA super flyweight champion
May 10, 1990 – May 1992
Title next held byJohn Michael Johnson
Title last held byMarco Antonio Barrera
| NABF super flyweight champion
July 15, 1994 – October 1994
Title next held byDanny Romero
Title last held byJosh Sosa
| IBC Americas lightweight champion
September 24, 2010 – June 2011
|World boxing titles|
Title last held byJohnny Bredahl
| WBO super flyweight champion
October 12, 1994 – December 1998
Title next held byVictor Godoi
| IBF super flyweight champion
July 18, 1997 – December 1998
Title next held byMark Johnson
| WBA bantamweight champion
December 5, 1998 – June 26, 1999
Jorge Eliécer Julio
| WBO bantamweight champion
January 8, 2000 – September 2000
Title next held byMauricio Martínez
| IBF featherweight champion
April 27, 2002 – November 2002
Title next held byJuan Manuel Márquez