The hometown of the late boxer Johnny Tapia is set to honor the former world champion with a statue at a community center that will also bear his name.
The city of Albuquerque, Bernalillo County, and Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Department held a ceremony at the Johnny Tapia Community Center at Wells Park. The area is where Tapia was raised by his grandparents.
The dedication comes after Tapia was inducted into the Boxing Hall of Fame earlier this year. The ceremony was followed by a boxing tournament at Civic Plaza featuring amateur fighters, including Tapia’s sons.
“Johnny always wanted to put Albuquerque on the map and we’re hoping to put these kids on the map as well,” said Klarissa Peña of the Albuquerque City Council.
His turbulent boxing career was marked by cocaine addiction, alcohol, depression and run-ins with the law.
Tapia died at his Albuquerque home in 2012. Investigators said there were no indications of a drug overdose or alcohol use but that the 45-year-old former fighter likely developed medical complications from past illegal drug use.
Tapia was orphaned at 8 when his mother was stabbed 26 times.
IN OTHER NEWS: The owners who bought and restored Muhammad Ali's boyhood home in the boxer's hometown of Louisville are closing the tourist attraction.
The modest shotgun home where Ali was known as Cassius Clay opened as a museum-style attraction just days before the boxer's death in June 2016.
Co-owner George Bochetto told The Courier-Journal on Friday that the owners decided to close the museum and lay off a handful of employees this week.
The owners released a statement in May that the home was in financial trouble and they had hoped for assistance from the city of Louisville. Bochetto, a Philadelphia lawyer and boxing enthusiast, and Las Vegas real estate investor Jared Weiss spent more than $300,000 on purchases and renovations.
Bochetto told the newspaper he was considering offers to move the house out of Louisville to a different city.