- Dan Rafael, ESPN Senior Writer
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Although the late Johnny Tapia fought on several television networks during his career, the former three-division champion is most closely associated with Showtime. He fought on the network nine times and was under an exclusive contract with Showtime during the late 1990s and early 2000s.
Tapia, who died last month at age 45, fought some of his most notable bouts on Showtime, including both of his great fights with Paulie Ayala and his bantamweight title win against Nana Konadu. Tapia was also particularly close with Jay Larkin, the late head of Showtime Sports.
On Saturday night (9 ET/PT), before the welterweight main event between Victor Ortiz and Josesito Lopez, Showtime will honor Tapia (59-5-2, 30 KOs) with a 4½-minute feature looking back at his career. Showtime said it will commemorate the three-division champion's "captivating life journey" and that "the tribute will chronicle Tapia's exhilarating -- as well as heartbreaking -- underdog tale that endeared him to boxing fans worldwide."
"A man small in stature but gigantic in heart and personality, Johnny's memory will remain with all that knew him and keep us smiling for years to come -- just as he did in person," said Stephen Espinoza, the Showtime Sports general manager.
Although the late Johnny Tapia fought on several television networks during his career, the former three-division champion is most closely associated with Showtime.