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Tapia Focusing on Fundamentals as a Trainer

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Johnny Tapia, the boxer, loved to get hit – the better to entertain the crowd.

With Johnny Tapia, the trainer, fundamentals come first.

“Everybody wants to be (Floyd) Mayweather,” the five-time world champion said Friday, before three of his fighters weighed in for tonight’s professional boxing card at the Hard Rock. “There’s only one Mayweather.”

Archie Ray Marquez vs. Noe Lopez Jr., several other bouts, Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Albuquerque. Doors open: 5 p.m. First bell: 7 p.m.
Tickets: $15-$100,

Thus, don’t expect to see Tapia pupil Archie Ray Marquez (12-2, eight knockouts), who’s scheduled to face Mexico’s Noe Lopez Jr. (9-10, six KOs) in tonight’s eight-round main event, dangling his left hand around his waist in Mayweather fashion.


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Do expect, Marquez said, a much-improved Marquez in his first fight with Tapia in his corner.

The identity of Marquez’s opponent has changed three times in the past two weeks. Now, he’s fighting an experienced southpaw on short notice.

No problem, he said. He and Tapia already had worked on strategy against a southpaw, not knowing Marquez would wind up fighting one.

“The training we do, we prepare for everybody,” Marquez said. “We don’t prepare for one fighter; we’re ready for whatever they bring.”

Marquez weighed in Friday at 135.2 pounds, Lopez at 135.6.

Junior middleweight Josh Torres (6-3-1, three KOs), another Tapia fighter, is scheduled to face fellow Albuquerquean Carlos Sanchez (4-3-1, one KO) in a six-rounder.

Sanchez is trained by Henry Anaya Jr., who trained Tapia for the final three fights of his career. Anaya and Tapia grew up together, training as kids with Anaya’s father, Henry Sr.

Tapia calls Anaya, who retired as a boxer in 1991 with a 17-4 record, the anti-Mayweather in terms of his fundamentals.


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“If you want to copy anybody, you should copy Riley (Anaya’s nickname),” Tapia said. “He had the best defense in the world.”

Torres said Tapia has helped him improve his defense and his offense by adding speed to his natural power.

“The motivation, the work ethic has always been there,” Torres said. “But Johnny’s just turned it up as far as sharpening up my angles, speed, timing.

“I’ve always been a straight power puncher. Now I have both (power and speed).”

Sanchez said he knows, likes and respects Torres. The two trained in the same gym, but not with same coach, as amateurs.

There’s no advantage to either camp, Sanchez said, in that Tapia and Anaya know each other so well.

“Johnny trains his way and Henry Jr. and Henry Sr. train their way,” he said. “It’s gonna be a good fight.”

Torres weighed in at 149.8 pounds, Sanchez at 152.6.

Santa Fe junior middleweight Joaquin Zamora (18-4-1, 12 KOs), who also trains with Tapia, is scheduled to face Joshua Marks (8-3, eight KOs) of El Centro, Calif. But Marks didn’t appear at Friday’s weigh-in and wasn’t answering his cellphone.

Marks was a late replacement after two other fighters dropped out. Media spokesman Dennis Latta said he wasn’t sure another replacement could be found if Marks doesn’t show up.

Three more bouts are scheduled, all four-rounders.

They are:

♦ Belen’s Jeremiah Torres (7-16, one KO), 152.4 pounds, vs. Albuquerque’s Nazareth Rojas (5-5-1, two KOs).

♦ Los Lunas’ Matthew Salazar (1-4-1), 116.5 pounds, vs. Albuquerque’s Luís Montaño (pro debut), 133.8 pounds.

♦ Miguel Armendariz (0-6-1) of Dallas, 126.4 pounds, vs. Derrick Murray (2-0, one KO), 127, of St. Louis.

The card is being promoted by Tapia and his wife, Teresa. This isn’t the former world champion’s first promotion, but it’s the first time he isn’t fighting.

Tapia’s last fight was in June 2011 at the Hard Rock, when he defeated Mauricio Pastrana by unanimous eight round decision.
— This article appeared on page C1 of the Albuquerque Journal