ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Parole Board Opts To Keep Albuquerque Fighter in State
Season three of “Celebrity Rehab With Dr. Drew” will have to go on without Johnny Tapia.
The five-time world champion boxer has been denied a travel permit by the New Mexico Adult Parole Board, said Tapia’s wife and manager, Teresa. That means he can’t participate in “Celebrity Rehab,” a California-based reality show aired on the cable channel VH1, as tentatively arranged earlier.
“(The Parole Board) wouldn’t let him go,” Teresa Tapia said. “They just said they wouldn’t allow him to travel.”
Efforts by the Journal to reach Parole Board Executive Director Ella Frank for comment Wednesday were unsuccessful.
Tapia, 42, who pleaded guilty in May 2007 to felony drug-possession charges, admitted on April 1 to a drug-related parole violation. State District Judge Kenneth Martinez, in sentencing the Albuquerque boxer to nine days in prison and a year’s probation, ordered him to undergo drug rehabilitation at Fort Stanton in Lincoln County. Martinez also granted Tapia permission to leave the state in order to appear on “Celebrity Rehab.”
Then, everything changed.
Tapia spent not nine days but 40 days at the Central New Mexico Correctional Facility in Los Lunas. Corrections Department spokeswoman Tia Bland said the unusually brief nine-day sentence levied by Martinez didn’t allow adequate time for a parole plan to be formed.
During Tapia’s stay in prison, a community panel determined the fighter was not a good fit for the Fort Stanton program. As of Wednesday, Teresa Tapia said, no decision had been made regarding her husband’s rehab.
Finally, after Tapia’s release May 13, the Parole Board denied him permission to travel to Pasadena, Calif., for “Celebrity Rehab.”
“I said, ‘Why not? The judge ordered it,’” Teresa Tapia said. “They just said, ‘The judge isn’t in charge of him, we are.’ ”
Tapia’s only recourse, she said she was told, was to go back to court. The “Celebrity Rehab” window has closed, regardless, since season three began filming Monday.
Teresa Tapia said she and her husband would have to talk with attorney Bob Gorence, who has been out of town, before proceeding.
In any case, she said, “We’re not rocking the boat. We’re just complying with everything they (the Corrections Department and the Parole Board) say.”
Teresa Tapia said her husband has been approached about fighting on a card in July, but added she didn’t know whether he would be allowed to do so by the Parole Board.
Tapia, a two-time Golden Gloves national champion as an amateur, has a 56-5-2 record as a professional.
SKY CITY CARD: One of boxing’s most hallowed names will grace promoter Juan Romero’s June 6 card at Sky City Casino. What’s in a name? Romero is hoping Salvador Sánchez can sell a few tickets.
Sánchez, nephew and namesake of the late legendary Mexican world champion, is scheduled to face countryman Salvador Zamora in a super bantamweight (112-pound) co-main event.
In the main event, New Mexico junior middleweight (154 pounds) Joaquin Zamora (17-2-1, 11 knockouts) is scheduled to face Justo Renteria (15-2, nine KOs) of Tucson.
The Sky City card also features unbeaten Albuquerque super bantamweight David Proa, who has scored first-round knockouts in each of his first five fights. Proa is scheduled to face Joseph Salazar (5-4, three KOs) of Los Lunas.
Las Vegas, N.M., welterweight Arturo “Tudy” Crespin and the Piar brothers, James and Sammy of Albuquerque, also are on the card, Romero said.
The younger Sánchez (11-3-2, six KOs) is nowhere near the fighter that was his uncle, a Latino boxing icon who was 44-1 when he died in a 1982 car crash. But Romero said his presence would lend international spice to a predominantly local card.
AMATEURS: Four New Mexicans have earned berths in next month’s USA Boxing national championships.
Jazzma Hogue and Jesús Correa, both of Albuquerque PAL; Amanda Crespin of Las Vegas, N.M., and Rita Martinez of Las Cruces won regional titles last weekend in Pueblo, Colo.
Nationals are scheduled for June 7-14 in Denver.