Thousands bid farewell to Tapia

Thousands bid farewell to Tapia

Published Jun. 4, 2012 1:00 a.m. ET

Thousands turned out in Albuquerque to bid a final farewell to five-time world boxing champion Johnny Tapia.

Fans shared their memories Sunday night about the fighter who died May 27 at his Albuquerque home at age 45.

The memorial service was held at the Pit at the University of New Mexico. His closed casket stood in a boxing ring set up in center court.

KOB-TV reports that organizers put attendance at the service at 7,000 people.


Tapia's wife, Theresa, said the family paid for the public ceremony because her husband loved his fans as much as they loved him.

The boxer had long suffered with public battles of cocaine addiction and depression, but he remained a hero to many New Mexico boxing fans.