Wednesday, May 30, 2012

For Johnny Tapia

Absent is a recent documentary that stars two of my artistic heroes, future Boxing Hall of Famer Johnny Tapia and Metallica's James Hetfield. Somehow, the big names haven't helped much with the movie's distribution--it's currently missing from Netflix and has only one comment on IMDB. Public interest in Absent will probably pick up now that Tapia has been found dead in his Albuquerque home.

Absent looks like a sad alternative to The Other F Word, a portrait of the emotional damage that comes with growing up without a father.

Tapia's demons gave the sweet science one of its most captivating stars, a throwback to the hard-living athletes of the early 20th century. He did backflips in the ring, cried in postfight interviews and won titles in three different weight classes. He willed himself to victory against bigger opponents and often helped his victims off the floor at the end of his fights. Remember Johnny Tapia today with this video of him overcoming a three-year suspension for cocaine abuse to win the WBO Super Flyweight title by a knockout.

"Start counting, and he'll get up at nine." 
--Wilson Mizner

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