A documentary on the rise and fall of Albuquerque-born, multiple-time world champion boxer Johnny Tapia is set to make its New Mexico premiere next month at the Santa Fe Independent Film Festival, organizers of the event said.
“Tapia” is scheduled to be shown Oct. 17 and will feature some of the late boxer’s final interviews. The move comes after the film premiered at the Los Angeles Film Festival in June.
His widow, Teresa Tapia, says there is a lot of emotion in the documentary.
Boxing promoter Lou DiBella and hip-hop artist 50 Cent have acquired the rights to the film. Eddie Alcazar, director of “Tapia,” said 50 Cent will help the film reach a broader audience and that the rapper is on board with keeping the film as it was created.
Tapia died last year at his Albuquerque home. Investigators found one Hydrocodone tablet, a painkiller, on the floor beside his body. They said there were no indications of an overdose or alcohol use but said that the 45-year-old former fighter likely developed medical complications from past illegal drug use.
Teresa Tapia said her husband was taking medication for his bipolar disorder and for his high blood pressure.
Johnny Tapia won several championships in three weight classes, winning the WBA bantamweight title, the IBF and WBO junior bantamweight titles and the IBF featherweight belt.
But his life was also marked by tragedy. He was orphaned at 8 when his mother was stabbed 26 times with a screwdriver and left to die.
During his professional career, he was banned from boxing for 3 1/2 years in the early ’90s because of his cocaine addiction and he also battled depression.