Johnny Tapia to Become First Native New Mexican Fighter to join the International Boxing Hall of Fame
Johnny Tapia, Evander Holyfield, and Marco Antonio Barrera headline the International Boxing Hall of Fame Class of 2017
Today, it was announced that the late Albuquerque, New Mexico native, Johnny Tapia, will be inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame on June 11 as part of the Class of 2017. Joining him in the honor will be legendary heavyweight Evander Holyfield and Mexican great, former Tapia opponent, Marco Antonio Barrera.
In his 23-year boxing career, Tapia, arguably the best super flyweight boxer of all time, compiled a record of 59 wins, 5 losses, and 2 draws, capturing the WBO and IBF Super Flyweight titles, WBA and WBO Bantamweight titles, and the IBF Featherweight title.
A suspension in 1990 over cocaine use, took three and a half years away from what may have been an even more illustrious career. Upon his return to the ring in 1994, Tapia would rattle off five straight wins setting him up for an October 12, 1994 date for his first world title against Henry Martinez.
In front of a raucous and loyal fan base at The Pit in Albuquerque, Tapia would feed off the crowd’s energy and stop Martinez in the 11th round to capture the vacant WBO Super Flyweight title.
Tapia, would make 11 defenses a the title before locking horns with crosstown Albuquerque rival, Danny Romero. The bout which for what promoters said were “safety reasons”, took place at Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, Nevada where gang units and over 100 police officers were present.
The crowd of over 10,000 got a treat as the fight lived up to the hype and Tapia, the slight favorite pulled off the unanimous decision victory to unify the WBO and IBF titles.
Just six months after his last bout, on May 27, 2012, Tapia was found dead in his Albuquerque home. He was 45 years old. The cause of death was determined as heart failure.
Tapia will be come the first native Albuquerquean boxer to be enshrined into the International Boxing Hall of Fame. The ceremony is set to take place June 11 at the International Boxing Hall of Fame located in Canastota, New York.