An occasional look at some of the people and events that make Albuquerque a truly different city.

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Monday, June 4, 2012

Johnny Tapia (1967-2012) "Mi Vida Loca"

Between the annular eclipse of the sun on May 20, and the passage of Venus in front of the sun tomorrow (June 5th), Albuquerque lost its most endearing and tragic son, five-time world boxing champion Johnny Tapia.  Orphaned by unspeakable violence, blessed with natural skills, and burdened with drug addictions, Johnny Tapia gave his home town of Albuquerque the gift of humor, honesty, generosity, and gritty grace that the rest of us can only dream of.  Oh, and did I mention five-time world boxing champion?

On June 3rd more than 7,000 Albuquerqueans, many waiting hours in punishing heat, gathered at the University of New Mexico’s fabled basketball arena to honor the life of Johnny Tapia, the life he called, “mi vida loca.”

I thank all who allowed me to photograph them.

Robert Leutheuser