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By David Tyler, Doghouse Boxing (Dec 12, 2014)

Johnny Tapia
Below Trailer: Preview TAPIA, a riveting documentary about the talented but tormented life of world champion boxer Johnny Tapia. TAPIA debuts Tues., Dec. 16 at 11pm ET/PT on HBO.
Let me start this review by telling you that I am a big fan of the late Johnny Tapia. Whether you loved him or hated him, for certain you will enjoy this very touching documentary. HBO has scored another knockout with this first rate account of Johnny's life....and it's Johnny himself telling his story in his own words. Johnny is in the square circle, retired, and almost therapeutically going through his life's events.

The first world champion from Albuquerque, New Mexico. His father was murdered during the time that his mother, Virginia was pregnant with Johnny. When Johnny was eight years old, his mother was kidnapped, raped, repeatedly stabbed, and left for dead by her assailant. She died four days after the attack without regaining consciousness. Both of these stories take amazing twist and turns as the documentary carries on with Johnny being raised by his grandmother, he turned to boxing at the age of nine.

Very, very, carefully Johnny takes us on his turbulent journey through his personal tribulations and boxing experiences. Leaving nothing out, he speaks of his battle for his wife, his fights with cocaine, his mental breakdowns, the most difficult moments in a very unstable life.

You will not walk away from this documentary. Repeated viewing is mandatory and you will feel the same after listening to this incredible story of a true warrior who just didn't understand the meaning of quit -- in or out -- of the ring.

There's lessons to be learned...Johnny pleads with everyone not to take cocaine and refers to cocaine as his mistress many times during his story. What I found so honorable about Johnny Tapia was the fact that he took ownership of his actions. How easy it would have been to blame his downfalls on drug addictions, no father figure or his rough childhood which took his parents before the age of nine...but no, Johnny never used any excuse for falling into many traps. He understood the decisions he made were his and his alone. How many are willing to take such a stand?

After about the eight viewing, I had to research who was responsible for this masterpiece. First, the film was brought to HBO by executive producers Lou DiBella and Curtis "50 Cent” Jackson. Next, a big round of applause for the director…Eddie Alcazar who is responsible for the haunting image of Johnny in the ring telling his life story. Even this has an amazing twist that you will discover at the film’s end.

This is certainly the documentary of the year for 2014 and sure to win a Peabody or Emmy award. On par with the best documentaries ever delivered by HBO. The most thought provoking documentary I have ever watched. I would also like to mention that Liev Schreiber narrates this documentary which adds style and class to the program.

I continue to be amazed at what HBO Sports is producing – both in and out of the ring. The production staff at HBO Sports is talented enough to identify a good storyline and has the resources and skills to elevate a presentation into memorable and compelling television.

TAPIA debuts December, 16 (11:00 pm - midnight ET/PT) only on HBO. Check your local listings for subsequent viewings on HBO and HBO2.

Thanks HBO for such a wonderful Holiday gift and Happy Holidays to all of our readers !!

David Tyler

***David Tyler replies to all his e-mails and loves to hear from the readers. Comments, Questions, Suggestions, E-mail David now at: dtyler53@cox.net

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