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Interview with Johnny Tapia

March 5, 2004  Interview by Ed Ludwig
Tonight marks the return of Johnny “Mi Vida Loca” Tapia (53-3-2 28 KO’s) as he is set to square off against Frankie Archuleta (22-4-1 13 KO’s) in a ten round Featherweight bout taking place in his native New Mexico with the card being broadcast on Telefutura at 6pm PST and 9pm EST. Tapia is coming off a September 2003 comeback victory over Carlos Contreras that was preceded by a decision loss to Marco Antonio Barrera which resulted in shoulder surgery for a torn rotator cuff. Some people may not agree with me calling it a comeback but considering what the former five time world champion has been through, each new day is a battle won. His story has been well documented and in the February 2004 edition of Playboy magazine fans of Tapia really got a much closer look into his life and the struggles he has had to endure. Through all the trials and tribulations that Tapia has been through he has persevered with his own determination, the love of his wife and son and the support from his legions of fans throughout the boxing community. Johnny Tapia is a showman, talented, entertaining and a certain lock for the Boxing Hall Of Fame in Canastota, NY. One thing that always stands out in my mind was something that took place years back when Johnny and his wife Teresa donated ten thousand dollars to the family of a former fighter who lost his life tragically. Through the rough exterior lies a heart of gold and despite living his own crazy life the bottom line is that he is living life and every morning he opens his eyes and gets out of bed is the biggest victory of all. I would like to thank Johnny Tapia for taking the time to speak with Doghouse Boxing.

Ed Ludwig: How are you feeling as fight time is a few hours away?

Johnny Tapia: To tell you the truth, mentally, physically and spiritually I feel very strong.

EL: Have you been training long for the Frankie Archuleta fight?

JT: For this fight I have been in training camp for five weeks.

EL: If everything goes as expected tonight what are you looking for down the road?

JT: I just hope and pray that this fight goes well and I can take it to another level and win this one and then look for bigger and better things.

EL: You had shoulder surgery following your bout with Marco Antonio Barrera. What was the extent of the injury and when did it happen?

JT: It was a torn rotator cuff and after twenty seven years of fighting it went out. I actually hurt it in the fight before Barrera.

EL: Do you feel that Barrera will be able to bounce back from his knockout loss to Manny Pacquiao?

JT: I have a lot of faith in him and I think he will. Once he gets everything organized he’ll be fine. He is very strong mentally and physically.

EL: In my opinion you have had you only legitimate loss and I scored both fights against Paulie Ayala in your favor as most people did. How did you feel afterwards?

JT: You know what it is? Basically know matter how many times you fall you have to pick yourself up to be successful. When they stole those fights away from me I went up to 118 lbs and won a world title and then I went up to 126 lbs and fought a world champion named Manuel Medina and took his title in Madison Square Garden.

EL: During the early part of your career you were inactive for some time. Did it help you hinder you at all? I would think it would have helped you in more ways than one.

JT: Well you know I wasn’t doing the right thing. I mean it’s not like I was on the streets being clean. I am now thirty seven years old and still fighting. What do you think about that?

EL: Your story has been well documented. Can you safely say the worst is over and brighter days are ahead for Johnny Tapia?

JT: Well you know for me yesterday is gone and tomorrow never comes so I live for today.

EL: What is a typical day like for you?

JT: Well first of all I have to give love, thanks and praise to god for protecting me. I just take everything day by day and try to fight every tough fighter out there and I think I’ve done that. Coming back to this though, things in my life have been straightened out with being clean. Trying to stay clean is the hard part, harder than anything.

EL: Any hobbies?

JT: Yeah, I love playing Basketball. It’s my favorite sport and I also like Football, Baseball and Hockey. I also enjoy listening to Spanish music and watching action movies with Jet Li. I want to see The Passion of The Christ.

EL: Have you thought about life after you retire and will you stay involved with the sport?

JT: I would love too if I can. I have the experience and I know I can teach somebody something. Being a trainer is something I would like to try.

EL: You are the master of ring psychology, good at psyching out your opponents yet always gracious and respectful. What do you attribute that too?

JT: Well you know I’m a fighter and I have been a fighter all of my life and when bad things happen, meaning that I have fallen down and hit rock bottom I have always picked myself up and been successful.

EL: You are a lock to be enshrined in the Boxing Hall Of Fame in Canastota, NY. Being recognized all an all time great would be something very special. Have you really thought about it?

JT: It’s kind of difficult for somebody to call me an all time great. Being a legend is one thing but an all time great, well those are some pretty big words but I just want to be a normal person about that.

EL: Lets go back to your fight tonight, what are you expecting from Archuleta?

JT: I hope he tries to come at me then he will go out with a bang. It’s a ten round fight and I’ll do whatever he wants to do. I am ready for two rounds or a full ten rounds.

EL: Is there anything that you would like to pass on to your fans?

JT: I am with them till the end and say a prayer for me and thanks to you and take care.

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