Thursday, March 15, 2007

Ex-Champion Boxer Tapia Upgraded to Fair

The condition of five-time world champion boxer Johnny Tapia was upgraded to fair Wednesday as he begins to recover from an apparent cocaine overdose.

Teresa Tapia, the boxer's wife and manager, said her husband has been improving but he's "not out of the woods yet." He's being treated in the intensive care unit at Presbyterian Hospital.

"The doctors tell me he seems to be getting better but he's not completely back to where he once was," Teresa Tapia told The Albuquerque Tribune.

It has been a tragic week for the Tapia family. After Tapia's was hospitalized, a car crash killed two relatives who were on their way to Albuquerque to see the ailing boxer.

State police said Tapia's brother-in-law, 39-year-old Robert Gutierrez, was killed along with his nephew, 23-year-old Ben Garcia, before dawn Tuesday when their car went off a highway south of Bloomfield and rolled, ejecting both men.

State police were investigating whether alcohol was a factor. Investigators found empty bottles and partially consumed bottles at the scene.

Teresa Tapia said she has yet to tell her husband about the crash.

"We're just trying to get him strong enough ... so we can let him know about this other tragedy," she said.

Johnny Tapia, who turned 40 last month, was taken Monday to the hospital after paramedics responded to an early morning call about someone who wasn't breathing at a hotel room.

Albuquerque police said it appeared to be an overdose and that Tapia would be charged with possession of a controlled substance. Police had discovered a plastic bag containing cocaine.

Tapia has a history of cocaine use and run-ins with the law.

The latest episode came some two weeks after he won a majority decision over Evaristo Primero of El Paso, Texas. Tapia, whose record is 56-5-2, billed that fight as his farewell to the ring.

Tapia has won five titles in three weight classes, winning the WBA bantamweight title, the IBF and WBO junior bantamweight titles and the IBF featherweight belt.


No comments: