Five-Time World Boxing Champion Johnny Tapia Dies
Johnny Tapia, who was a five-time world boxing champion over the course of his professional boxing career, died this Sunday at the age of 45 in his home in Albuquerque, New Mexico — the same town in which he was born.
"A family member came home, found him deceased and called us," said Albuquerque police spokesperson Robert Gibbs, reports CNN. Though Tapia's cause of death is not yet known, foul play is not suspected, and a full toxicology test and autopsy are scheduled to be carried out.
Tapia is known for his "crazy life," as he referred to it in the title of his memoir, co-authored by Bettina Gilois, Mi Vida Loca: The Crazy Life of Johnny Tapia. Tapia's father was murdered before he was born, and his mother was tortured and murdered in an incident Tapia himself partly witnessed when he was just eight years old, at which point Tapia went to live with his grandmother.
"I was raised as a pit bull," he wrote in Mi Vida Loca. "Raised to fight to the death." And he did — regardless of whose death he was talking about. "Four times I was declared dead," he also wrote of his boxing career, which informally started at the age of nine.
"Four times they wanted to pull life support. And many more times I came close to dying." Tapia is survived by his wife and manager, Teresa Tapia, who helped him kick drugs in the 1990s, and their two children together.
Also on Sunday in the boxing world, "The Punisher" Paul Williams was paralyzed in a motorcycle accident while on his way to his brother's wedding.
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