johnny tapia


V.23 No.49 |

News

The Daily Word in no social security benefits for Nazis, an HBO Johnny Tapia documentary and outrageous details of torture

The Daily Word

HBO made a Johnny Tapia documentary.

The color of the year has been announced.

APD released another image of the man suspected of shooting my favorite 7-11 clerk this past weekend.

A former Nazi charged for his involvement in an infamous WWII massacre in France appears to be off the hook.

In other Nazi-related news, Congress has passed a law that will prevent former Nazis from recieving social security benefits.

All those allegations of torture and cruelty against terrorism suspects in the hands of Americans and their minions turn out to be true and worse than previously alleged according to a report just released.

A private company is winnowing the field of candidates for a one-way mission to Mars.

Avril Lavigne has developed a celebrity mystery illness.

Check out Boing Boing's gift guide.

Afghanistan just harvested enough opium to equal 90 percent of the world's supply.

Author Alice Walker is a fan of conspiracy theorist David Icke!

V.23 No.7 | 2/13/2014
Reel World

Reel World

Fight film

From deceased pugilist Johnny Tapia to the doings of your friendly Alibi Film editor himself, a look at all the cinematic happenings around New Mexico.
V.22 No.52 |

news

The Daily Word in drones, reefer stores, hematomas and how the NSA controls your iPhone

The Daily Word

Here's a list of local holiday closures to help you figure out when to put out your trash and stuff.

The Rio Grande is bone-dry in southern New Mexico.

Santa Fe's plastic bag ban takes effect February 27th 2014.

The Johnny Tapia film is coming soon.

NSA has 100% access to your iPhone. Messages, contacts—and they can remotely turn it into a listening device. Not cool.

Ariel Castro's neighbor was a murder-raping pig and he is going to jail.

Michael Schumacher is getting relatively better after his terrible skiing accident.

There is now a better cardboard box, people.

Cab Calloway's lexicon of hip will make you the life of the party before you cop a final.

Weed stores will open their doors in Denver tomorrow.

Dig this totally righteous anti-Nazi Christmas card from 1943.

You will need this guide to identifying and hiding from drones.

Buy Chuck Norris' house.

A tanker train exploded in North Dakota.

"The octopus-man would make a fine policeman or soldier ...."

V.21 No.35 | 8/30/2012

news

The Daily Word in Johnny Tapia, Cypress Hill and food waste

The Daily Word

APD made an arrest in connection with Tuesday’s double homicide of Kirsten Landeau of the Duke City Darlins and her nephew. (The Darlins are holding a vigil tomorrow.)

Johnny Tapia died of heart disease, according to his autopsy report.

A woman says she was fired from her state job after testing positive for marijuana, even though she had a medical card.

Does legalizing marijuana boost economies?

Olympic bronze medalist welcomed home to the 505.

America throws out 40 percent of its food.

Rupert Murdoch’s daughter isn’t a fan of his media empire.

Understanding Homer’s D’oh!

Zero percent of the country’s African-Americans support Mitt Romney.

Gonzo guide to the RNC.

Action movies aren’t always the worst.

Henry Rollins in column form.

Happy Birthday, Keith Moon.

Playing Cypress Hill through a squid.

V.21 No.33 |

News

The Daily Word in RNC hurricanes, gun shopping and communal grief

The Daily Word

"Profound geopolitical uncertainty" following the death of Ethiopian prime minister.

"Guns 'R Us."

Hurricane Isaac could hit Florida during the Republican National Convention...

...Where Gov. Martinez is slated to be a "primetime" speaker.

Intensifying violence in Damascus.

D.C. neighborhood mourns the passing of homeless man.

Johnny Tapia's wife is set to hold a press conference today regarding the cause of his death.

Gary Johnson still struggling to get on the presidential ballot in every state.

Does ethnicity affect the quality of your sleep?

Ikea as surreal retreat in Beijing.

The science of mammalian shake-drying.

Ancient underwater treasure.

Extreme pogoing.

V.21 No.23 | 6/7/2012

sports

Hangover Sports Roundup

Johnny Tapia's Memorial, Trout defeats Rodriguez, Celtics cool off Heat

New Mexico Boxing

The world of boxing suffered a massive loss when Johnny Tapia passed away on Sunday, May 27. Along with being a five-time world champion, Tapia managed to be a positive member of the community while being a respected figure in the sports world. On Sunday night, thousands waited in line to pay their respects to the champ at University Arena. Several members of the boxing community were in attendance, and others offered tributes though video messages. If your’re wondering how much Tapia meant to the boxing world, or just want to relive a classic bout, check out one of most memorable fights in his career when he battled Danny Romero in Las Vegas in 1997.

Las Cruces native and WBA 154-pound world champion Austin Trout retained his title by defeating Delvin Rodriguez by unanimous decision on scores of 120-108, 118-110 and 117-111. Fans and media were unhappy with Trout's performance, but he got the win and is now in the running to face rising star Canelo Alvarez. Alvarez’ original opponent Paul Williams pulled out after a motorcycle crash and his replacement James Kirkland declined the bout after originally accepting it. Hopefully the sport of boxing will do the right thing and give Trout a chance to prove his worth to a larger boxing audience. But his critics are out in force to prevent the fight from happening, not to mention that Alvarez' promoter, Golden Boy Productions, is unlikely to put a fighter with a difficult style against a rising star.

NBA Playoffs

Let the bashing begin. Haters of the Heat had plenty of ammo to throw at Miami for its game four performance. Between being down by 18-points at halftime, LeBron James fouling out and Dwyane Wade missing the game winning shot the seemingly unstoppable Heat looked vulnerable. For casual fans, Boston's 93-91 win may be a sign of Miami cracking, but those who look closer know it’s no time to panic. These teams have developed a heated rivalry by playing close and physical basketball. While Boston has many flaws, the Heat isn't able to exploit them. Chris Bosh's injury enabled the Celtics score 17 second-chance points and get 11 offensive rebounds, despite losing the overall rebounding battle. Momentum may lie with the Celtics, but the Heat have the homecourt advantage and may get the services of Bosh after all. If Miami gets Bosh close to 100 percent and its bench can produce, Boston is in trouble.

V.21 No.22 |

news

The Daily Word in Tapia memorial service, celebrity death, and Italian Spider Man

The Daily Word

Public Johnny Tapia memorial service tonight.

Why don't my pants fit?

How the Canadian "internet snooping bill" could have stopped dismembering-porn-killer Luke Magnotta.

North Korean propaganda film about Western propaganda.

The Wikipedia list of fried dough foods.

The most awesome film ever: Italian Spider Man. Must see.

Betty Grable had nice legs, insects have pretty eyes.

The last days of Amelia Earhart.

Legendary guitarist Peter Cosey died.

Plop plop, fizz fizz, Dick Beal died.

Match Game celebrity panelist Richard Dawson died.

On this day in 1906 Josephine Baker was born.

news

The Daily Word in tears, serpents and lucid dreams

The Daily Word

Speculation on what killed Johnny Tapia

New Mexico's five corporate legislators

Meth-like bath salts may be to blame for attack of the Miami face-eater.

NYC looks to ban large sodas and sugary drinks.

"Sesame Street" composer reacts to news that his songs may have been used to torture people at Gitmo.

Buy salt made from human tears.

Serpent-handling pastor dies from a rattlesnake bite.

Porn star is suspected of murder and mailing body parts to the Conservative Party of Canada.

The rise of lucid dreaming

What it means to be gay in Iran

Supercars that go 200 mph

American nuns prepare a response to Vatican charges that they're radical feminists.

Your state in sandwich form

Nicolas Cage performs John Cage. Kinda.

V.21 No.22 | 5/31/2012
Johnny Tapia in his early 20s, when he was beginning his professional career and starting to make a name for himself nationally
Courtesy of Johnny Tapia

In Memoriam

Johnny Tapia’s public memorial service

On Sunday evening at The Pit, Burqueños will gather to honor Johnny Tapia. Viewing begins at 6:45 p.m. and the service is scheduled for 8 p.m.

In Memoriam

Albuquerque’s champion Johnny Tapia, revisited

“I’ll live and die here. This is my pride and joy, New Mexico.”

In November of 2003, the late, great Johnny Tapia welcomed the Alibi into his East Mountains home for a candid interview. The beloved brawler and Burque legend weighed in on topics including his relationships with Danny Romero and Mike Tyson, how family helped keep him afloat and what the broader picture of being a champion meant to him.

Former News Editor Tim McGivern's accompanying story fills in the gaps on how Tapia became the complex figure who overcame unimaginably tragic circumstances, yet always lived in the shadow of his horrific past. And Tapia's words ring with poignant prescience.

As for the Jerry Bruckheimer movie Tapia and McGivern discuss, Tapia's longtime friend Dennis Latta says that production—and several others—never came to fruition. Latta mentions that a Tapia documentary is in the works that will include footage from his June victory over Mauricio Pastrana—Tapia's last dance in the ring. Tapia died on Sunday, May 27, at the age of 45.

An interview with Johnny Tapia

Tim McGivern

Johnny Tapia loves his new house in the East Mountains. He calls it his castle and to satisfy his hyperactive personality he’s got plans to build a basketball court and swimming pool to go along with the modest boxing gym that fills-out his garage. Yet while Tapia, 36, has the energetic presence of a moth on a light, oddly, he says one of his favorite things to do is lock himself in his room, watch TV and “take my guard down.”

And that’s the mystery of Johnny Tapia. On one hand, he’s the friendliest and humblest guy you will ever meet. But on the other hand, he is a fragile figure, frightened by the tragedies of his past, who can shift gears from cheerfulness to sorrow to an intense seriousness at the drop of a hat.

The five-time world champion boxer wasn’t guarded about anything when Teresa Tapia, his wife and manager for the past 11 years, arranged for the Alibi to talk with him in his living room last Friday. In the fashion of a man who knows it can be good to be the king, Tapia sprawled back in his recliner at the start and said, “Why don’t you ask me anything you want.”

Heroic words for someone with Tapia’s tragic and checkered history. His father was reportedly murdered before he was born. He nearly died at age seven when a bus he was riding plunged off a cliff, killing the pregnant woman seated next to him and throwing him through the window.

To this day, he is haunted by the sound of his mother’s screams and his vision of her being chained in the bed of a pick-up truck the night she was kidnapped and violently murdered by her boyfriend—back when he was just eight years old.

Following the tragedy, he was raised by his grandmother in the Wells Park neighborhood, where he started boxing at the age of nine. From that point forward, Tapia slugged his way to two national Golden Gloves titles as an amateur, five world championships as a pro and when he wasn’t brawling in the ring, he was fighting perhaps a fiercer battle with the ghosts of his childhood and his addiction to drugs and alcohol.

For example, it took nearly 25 years for his mother’s murder case to be closed. And not until the summer of 1999 did Bernalillo County detectives identify the killer, Richard Espinosa, who had died in 1983. Just weeks after Tapia learned the news, he had to fight Paulie Ayala in what was considered by some boxing analysts to be one of the greatest fights in the past decade. Although the outcome was a questionable split decision, it marked Tapia’s first loss as a professional boxer in more than ten years.

Like a true survivor, less than a year later, on Jan. 8, 2000, Tapia won his fourth world title against bantamweight champion Jorge Eliecer Julio before a capacity crowd of 13,000 fans chanting “Johnny! Johnny!” at the Pit.

His ups and downs as a boxer, however, pale compared to his chaotic life outside the ring. He’ll tell you about his struggles to overcome addiction to cocaine—a drug he calls “my mistress”—that has left him clinically dead four times and cost him several shots at a world title thanks to positive drug tests. His most recent overdose occurred this past January, when doctors and Teresa discussed funeral arrangements in a Las Vegas hospital just before Tapia revived himself and asked for a cheeseburger. “I was hungry,” he said in a recent New York Times interview. “I guess it wasn’t my time to die.”

His struggle with drugs and alcohol have led to a 125-page arrest record, including several DWI convictions, numerous stays in the Bernalillo County jail, numerous suspensions from professional boxing and getting kicked out of New Mexico for 18 months by a local judge.

His relationship with wife Teresa—the fact that she has stuck with him through the tough times—is perhaps as remarkable as anything he ever accomplished in the ring. And he’ll be the first person to tell you that. After charges of spousal abuse, including pulling a loaded gun on her when he was high on cocaine, Teresa gave Johnny one last opportunity to get clean. She locked the two of them together in their home for more than a month, allowing her mother to pass them food through a barred window. That was almost 10 years ago and what at the time seemed like the final step toward recovery was just another hurdle in his never-ending battle to stay clean.

Today Johnny and Teresa stay focused on the future, with one-eye always carefully monitoring Johnny’s daily battle with addiction. Their story is set to become a major motion picture in 2005; famed Hollywood producer Jerry Bruckheimer (Pirates of the Caribbean) recently purchased the story rights and Johnny and Teresa will be paid consultants on the project.

Are you back in New Mexico forever?

Oh yeah, I was born and raised here and I’ll live and die here. This is my pride and joy, New Mexico.

Do you still look in the mirror, especially when you are in the gym, and see the baby-faced assassin?

No, because you know I’m going on 26 years in boxing and I’ve done everything you can do in the sport. I fought like a champion. I fought like a contender. I beat everybody. There’s a time and place when you gotta call it quits. I talk to my wife. I talk to my boy, and I just said, “You know what, I got a few more left, suck it up, do whatever it is going to take to keep it going.”

Are you going to fight Danny Romero again?

No, me and Danny are close. They made the whole rivalry bigger than what it was. You know, he’s a good guy. His father took very good care of me. You can’t go wrong with that. But (back then) I was struggling, using alcohol and cocaine, that was my mistress, you know, because of the tragedy that happened. But to your question: Me and Danny are very good friends. We always have been. It just happened we had to see who was the king of Albuquerque and that’s the situation that happened. He was just at my house today. …

Do you guys ever spar together?

No. I only spar two weeks before a fight. But we’re working, you know, helping each other grow bigger and better. He’s gonna be a champion again, you’ll see.

So because you guys are so close, you can’t see getting back in the ring with him, even if that’s the fight everyone wants to see?

I’ll tell you, we’re friends so there’s not gonna be no more fights. Whoever’s in the ring though, I’ll tell you what, I’m gonna hurt ’em. I got the skills to pay the bills, you know.

A lot of kids in Albuquerque want to be like you. Kids that go to Jack Candelaria Community Center and work out in the boxing gym. What do you say to those kids when they are looking at you and they see their dreams?

It’s hard to be a world champion. But I tell them look at who you hang around with and that will tell you who you are. If you want big dreams don’t follow the leader. They don’t protect you and take care of you. If you look at what I’ve done, a lot of people look at my history and don’t see what I’ve accomplished. When you fall you have to pick yourself back up to be successful. I don’t want to be a living proof, but I’ll tell you when I was in a coma, it makes you stop and think about who are your friends. … There’s a lot of bullies here, and I can’t stand bullies. I cannot stand bullies. … I’d say I would rather have friends than enemies. I got a (surrogate) dad who loves me, cares about me as an alcoholic and drug addict, not because I’m a five-time world champion. The situation is, I’m not an every day user, I’m a binger. To me, you can ask me anything you want, because I would love to tell you, so people can hear it, so they can learn from my experience. Everyone knows Johnny Tapia, the champion, the crazy guy. But I’ve got a beautiful wife that sticks with me through thick and thin. She can’t stand me sometimes, but you know what? That’s part of the relationship.

What they call tough love.

I tell you one thing, and I don’t mean any disrespect, but I’ve taken her through hell. Every time I die, I wake up and she’s right there next to me. That’s why I tell you to feel free to ask me anything. Because if there is a 100 kids out there and I get one to listen, then that makes me feel good. Seeing a smile on someone’s face.

Talk a little more about your message to kids.

My message is don’t be a follower, be a leader. You know, the first time you do drugs it’s a mistake, second time it’s a habit. It’s easy to go one way or the other. If I want to mess up, I’ll do it. I don’t put the rap on nobody but myself. If I don’t go straight, I can get divorced and be out on the streets away from my family. But those are the people that I really hurt—the ones that love me the most.

That’s what keeps you straight?

It’s every day waking up with my wife and kids. I got my Pops calling me every day. I’m not a needy person. But when I was going back and forth, messing up (gets emotional, pauses for a moment). …

How do you define love?

I don’t know love. I lost everything I loved when I was small. But when my wife puts her arms around me, or my boy smiles at me tells me he loves me, Pops calls me and tells me he’s really proud of me in my recovery, that’s what’s important. … I used drugs and alcohol to kill the pain. When I was young I lost my mom, my father. It was hard.

What’s your definition of a champion?

I’m not anybody. I’m just a guy that has a lot of problems trying to fix myself. Everybody in the boxing game knows me as Johnny the champion. But boxing is easy for me. I’m a natural. When I do have problems it’s out of the ring. I’ve always had problems out in the streets, but I’m taking my sobriety seriously. And I’m able to stay straight. It’s a lonely world out there, you know.

And a lot of people admire you as a survivor.

To tell you the truth, if my wife doesn’t hug me, or say I love you, I’ll cry. I’m a big baby. In the ring, you gotta kill me. If you don’t drop me, or put me a stretcher, I’ll get up and throw. I love the one-on-one combat. Nobody can help me; nobody can help my opponent. You just have to do whatever it takes. I’ve always trained like I was going to fight Mike Tyson.

You’re friends with Tyson, right?

Oh, we’ve been partners since the ’80s. We roomed together in the Junior Olympics when we were teenagers.

Do you stay in touch?

I talked to him about six months ago.

Do you see him now as a tragic figure?

I’ll tell you one thing, back in the ’80s he was the best in the world. But, you know, when you come into a lot of money really quickly, you run into a lot of yes-people. I’m not that kind of person. I’d rather you talk to me from your heart and say how you feel. (Teresa tells the story here of the last time Tyson called. It was just after Tapia awoke from a drug-induced coma in January. Tyson called to tell Tapia to see a psychiatrist or go to an institution, telling him he was crazy and needed help. Teresa recalled Tyson saying “I know I’m crazy too, so I’m authorized to tell you to get help.”) He’s a beautiful, intelligent person, who just got screwed up and now is just a money figure. You can have fame in two ways: You can have everybody saying yes, or you can have fame and still be around real people. A name will take you a long way, but money is very powerful. The real people will be right next to you through thick and thin. You find out who they are when you fall down. Without my fans, I won’t be where I am today. They have always supported and guided me in ways that they don’t even know.

I guess you’ve had a tough time deciding who you want to hang around with.

The truth is, sometimes it’s not about people that want to be with you, it’s about what they can get out of you. So you have to figure out who’s your friend and who’s not. I can go right now to Wal-Mart and sign autographs for an hour and a half and people there will be my friends. I can call my wife and my Pops and they’ll be there for me to hold me.

What will you do when you’re done boxing?

I’m going to call the pharmacist and tell them I want to be able to have four kids at one time (laughs). No, you know, if there’s a 100 kids out there and I can get one to listen, then that’s my job. I love to help people.

You want to work with youth?

If they call me, I’ll try to help. But I love being at home. This is my castle. This is my peace.

Being bored when you are a hyper guy can get you into trouble, right?

You know what, when stuff like that happens, I’ll call my wife and Pops. You know what really makes me happy, staying in my room. It’s all about keeping my life sober, getting my kids to go to college, explaining to kids and others that the way I went wasn’t the right way. College is very important. I wish I could have went to college. But you know what? I can’t complain. I’ve got food on the table and a beautiful wife that loves me; my boy’s as hyper as I am. But it’s not just that. I love to be in a room locked up, just a place to take my guard down. I enjoy that.

One last question about the new movie deal you signed.

Guess who’s playing me? Either Don Knotts or Gilligan (everyone laughs). Got you guys, huh? (Tapia’s smiling) Or, either Jerry Lewis.

Whoever it is, I hope they do a good job.

Yeah, me too.

V.21 No.21 |

News

The Daily Word in Mi Vida Loca, close calls and deep sea treasure

The Daily Word

Egypt’s polarized runoff election continues to heat up.

A damaging earthquake in Italy is the second to hit the country in 10 days.

Western countries increase diplomatic pressure on Syria’s president Bashar al-Assad in the wake of civilian massacre.

Johnny Tapia’s New York Times obituary.

Miguel Abeyta, 72, thwarts his wife’s would-be purse snatcher.

The Whitewater-Baldy Complex fire is still zero percent contained, and growing.

The Trust for America’s Health named New Mexico the
riskiest state in the country for leading in the number of preventable deaths.

A new poll shows Martin Heinrich and Heather Wilson leading the race for Jeff Bingaman’s vacant senate seat, while Eric Griego and Michelle Lujan-Grisham appear to be in a dead heat for the 1st Congressional District.

Zombie-averse residents in Miami witnessed a “growling cannibal” on an overpass before he was fatally shot by police.

The virus infecting Iranian computers is called “Flame,” and it’s part of a sophisticated cyberespionage project.

Ancient Roman shipwrecks were discovered in deep waters.

It won’t be long before you, too, can assemble your own underwater robot.

V.21 No.22 | 5/31/2012

news

The Daily Word in Tapia, Bieber and the yowie.

The Daily Word

Johnny Tapia died.

Justin Bieber allegedly attacked a paparazzo.

Obama makes a Memorial Day speech.

Meet the new Wagon Tongue Fire.

Is this man the Alphabet Murderer?

The Pope’s butler is in trouble.

Make cool things out of pallets.

An Albuquerque man can cross blazing jeep crash off his list.

Knock knock. Who’s there? Urlacher.

And now, Beer Cows.

Yowie noises were recorded. (Caution: link does not contain yowie noises.)

Some people are old.

Happy birthday Ashley Laurence.

V.21 No.2 | 1/12/2012

news

The Daily Word in Johnny Tapia crash, 100 years of statehood, poisonous cat stew

The Daily Word

Happy 100th birthday, New Mexico! Citywide horn-honking at 11:35 a.m.

In other 100-year-anniversary news, the Girl Scouts introduce a new cookie. Unfortunately, it’s lemon flavored.

25 dead in Damascus bombing.

Police say Johnny Tapia crashed his SUV into a median on Paseo.

Economy on the upswing with 200,000 jobs added in December.

Orange County police say serial killer is stalking the homeless, has already killed three.

Genetically modified monkeys created from six different embryos. Scientists say it could be a step toward curing Parkinson’s. C’mon, didn’t you see Rise of the Planet the Apes?

Cops say naked pro skateboarder was on PCP when he went apeshit in an NYC hotel.

Gingrich belittles Santorum.

Car theft goes awry when vehicle hits a rock and propels onto a roof.

Police say a Navy SEAL accidentally put a bullet in his head.

Dog finds its way back to family four days after owner dies in avalanche while skiing.

Tiger Woods’ ex buys $12 million home, bulldozes it.

Sensitive fire alarms may be the reason for unnecessary Pit evacuations.

Wisconsin man arrested after taking an 80-mile “test drive.”

Cat stew kills Chinese billionaire.

Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel got engaged. God, is Justin Timberlake cool.

V.20 No.23 | 6/9/2011
Johnny Tapia promised his Saturday, June 4 fight against Colombian Mauricio Pastrana was his last. It was Tapia’s 66  th   bout as a pro.
Eric Williams ericwphoto.com

Boxing

The Real Addiction

Johnny Tapia says he’s finished in the ring. Is he?

It’s hard for Tapia to get clean from boxing when 2,000 people are screaming his name. And yet all week long, before Saturday’s fight with Mauricio Pastrana of Colombia, Tapia talked in interviews with the Alibi of pulling the curtain on mi vida loca.