Johnny Tapia Documentary

By Robert Ecksel on June 7, 2013
Johnny Tapia Documentary
Tapia’s story is lurid and human. Frailty is part of existence. So is the urge to forge ahead.

His life was nothing if not cinematic.

There had been talk about über-producer Jerry Bruckheimer turning Johnny Tapia’s wild and crazy life into a biopic. Johnny’s story, with its disturbing lows and exhilarating highs, in many ways seemed ready-made for Hollywood. It had a distinctive narrative arc, and until his death a year ago at the age of 45, which was shocking and not surprising at the same time, his tale was one of redemption, thanks to boxing and love of a good woman.

That project, however promising it might have been, may have been shelved in light of what transpired. There’s no business like show business and a handshake isn’t worth the paper it’s not written on. So it’s fair to assume that motion picture is on ice, perhaps for all time, because the Dream Factory loves happy endings.

But fear not.

50 Cent, who has proven himself to be a jack of all trades, has joined forces with another jack of all trades, Lou DiBella, to co-produce a documentary called “Tapia,” which will have its world premiere at the Los Angeles Film Festival on June 15.

Those of us in boxing know Tapia’s story like we know the back of our hand. But those of us in boxing are outnumbered by those not in boxing, and we can assume the film is as much for them as it is for posterity.

50’s Cheetah Vision Films and DiBella’s BK Blu Productions will examine Tapia’s life, including the kidnapping, rape and murder of his mother, his amazing achievements in the ring, the drugs and arrests, followed by more drugs and more arrests, and the many times he was declared legally dead before miraculously returning to life, until the miracles were no more.

Among those interviewed in the documentary are Mike Tyson, Freddie Roach, and Johnny’s widow Teresa.

“I was drawn to the intensity of this project,” said 50 Cent. “His story resonated with me because like Tapia, I too lost my mother to violence and grew up with limited means. It’s a heartfelt story and it was important for me to get involved with bringing this to a broader audience.”

Tapia’s story is lurid. It is also touchingly human. Frailty is part of existence. So is the urge to forge ahead. Johnny Tapia, as beloved as he was bedeviled, had it all…and then some.

Follow us on Twitter@boxing_com to continue the discussion


Johnny Tapia dies at 45

New details released in the death of Johnny Tapia

OMI: Heart disease killed Johnny Tapia

Tapia died on the anniversary of his mother's death

Johnny Tapia Dies

Read More Blogs
Discuss this in our forums

Related Articles


This is a place to express and/or debate your boxing views. It is not a place to offend anyone. If we feel comments are offensive, the post will be deleted and continuing offenders will be blocked from the site. Please keep it clean and civil! We want to have fun. We want some salty language and good-natured exchanges. But let's keep our punches above the belt...
  1. Michael Hegan 04:53pm, 06/08/2013

    ..our prayers and sympathies to the Family and close friends of Johnny Tapia…...
    Like most of his followers ....I knew what was available..and some of it was solid.

    Johnny had heart… showed….

    God Rest His Soul


  2. yungsav151 04:03pm, 06/08/2013

    Had to comment on this one! Ay I started not to like 50 after I guessed he rolled around with Pretty Boy’s girl….“They smiling in your face”.....But after reading this I forgive him haha…..Tapia was one of my favorite fighters and I hope 50 and his resources make this a classic! Good Luck!

  3. C.J.Rock 12:20pm, 06/08/2013

    I met Johnny & Teresa in Ft. Worth Texas when, together with Paulie Ayala, they were promoting the Tapia-Ayala 1 fight.  Both Johnny & his lovely wife Teresa couldn’t have been nicer.  Johnny was one of boxing’s nice guys who as well as being a great boxer was everybody’s friend.
    He did indeed live a roller coaster life hence Mi Vida Loca.
    R.I.P. champ   God Bless Teresa & family

  4. Leigh 10:56am, 06/08/2013

    True Irish .Left it all in that ring every time, a warrior, a troubled soul, I think he may have finally won his hardest fight with addiction before his death I like to think he did. But the last word on Johnny should always go to Teresa who stood firm by her man .What a wife, what a woman. God bless John .

  5. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 03:53pm, 06/07/2013

    I wouldn’t trade Johnny for 10,000 “fistic geniuses”....he was all action, all heart, and all excitement to the max! He gave us fans our money’s worth every time out! May God Almighty rest both his and his Mom’s eternal souls.

  6. Thresher 12:04pm, 06/07/2013

    A dark and gloomy story but not an unusual one when it comes to boxing.

Leave a comment