ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Forget, for now, talk of Johnny Tapia returning to the ring next month and appearing on the cable reality show Celebrity Rehab.
He has to get out of prison first.
Tapia will not be released today from the Central New Mexico Correctional Facility as originally planned, the former world boxing champion’s lawyer said, and it’s unclear when he will be.
On April 1, Tapia, 42, was sentenced to nine days at the Los Lunas prison as a result of a drug-related probation violation. As ordered by state District Judge Kenneth Martinez, he was to have been released in time to spend Easter Sunday with his family and begin a year on parole.
Bob Gorence, Tapia’s attorney, said that won’t happen. Gorence declined further comment, but the delay, of undetermined length, appears to stem from procedural problems caused by the boxer’s unusually short, nine-day sentence at a Department of Corrections facility.
Martinez, in handing down that sentence, also had approved Tapia to travel to California while on parole to appear on Celebrity Rehab — provided negotiations between the Tapia camp and the show’s producers could be finalized.
It’s now unclear whether Tapia would be available, depending on how long his stay in prison might be extended. During his year of parole, he is required by Martinez’s order to enter and complete a drug-rehab program at Fort Stanton in Lincoln County.
Meanwhile, the May 16 boxing card on which Tapia was to appear no longer exists.
Albuquerque promoter Juan Romero said he canceled the show because the date was already taken by fellow promoter Richard Mirabal.
Romero said there was no rule preventing him from staging a card the same night as Mirabal’s, but he decided not to do so.
“It wouldn’t be right, (based on) what I’m trying to do for the sport,” Romero said. “… It would be killing boxing.”
Romero said he instead will concentrate on his June 6 card at Sky City Casino in Acoma, with junior middleweight Joaquin Zamora in the main event.
Unbeaten up-and-comers David Proa, Arturo “Tudy” Crespin and the Piar brothers, James and Sammy Piar, will fight on the undercard, Romero said.
In conjunction with the June 6 card, Romero plans to award two $500 scholarships to Acoma Pueblo students.
“There’s no requirements that you have to be a boxer or be in any type of sports,” he said. “It’s just my way of showing my appreciation to Sky City and my way of giving back.”
Romero said more information on the scholarships will be available soon at www.romeropromotions.com.
MIRABAL CARD: Mirabal said his May 16 card at Isleta Casino & Resort will feature professionals and amateurs.
“If all goes well,” he said via e-mail, “we’ll continue to have pro-ams on a regular basis.”
Junior welterweight Vincent “Li’l Man” Mirabal (1-0), the promoter’s son, is scheduled to fight a featured, six-round pro bout. Rio Rancho welterweight Lucas Galle (5-3) is also listed on the pro card.
Mirabal said proceeds from the card will be used to provide a scholarship for a young amateur boxer. Potential recipients must be at least 16 years old and registered with USA Boxing.
STATE AMATEURS: Crespin’s Boxing in Las Vegas, N.M., will host the New Mexico state USA Boxing open-division men’s championships next weekend.
For more information, call Carlos Crespin at (505) 429-4068.