5.11.10, Albuquerque, N.M.: One fighter may be coming off a cream-puff win over a former sparring partner; the other, a narrow escape and win over an opponent with an overwhelmingly crappy record. In this rematch, none of that matters. Sure, both, five-time world champ Johnny Tapia and former contender Frankie Archuleta, have seen better days. But when they get in the ring, June 12 at the Ohkay Casino in Espanola, N.M. – home to lowriders, bad drivers, heroin overdoses and the best damn tacos on the planet – a boring, uneventful fight is an impossibility.
The two have met before. In 2003, fighting in front of his hometown of Las Vegas (N.M.), Archuleta scored one of the decade’s biggest upsets (for N.M., anyway) when he decisioned Tapia. One year later, the two rematched, in front of one of the biggest crowds to see a fight in N.M. This time, Tapia took home the win.
The third time? Flip a coin. In one corner, you’ll have 43-year-old Tapia, fresh off an easy win over Jorge Reyes, and a hard-fought win over the New Mexico Dept. of Corrections, under whose roof the parole violating-pug was a guest for over half a year. In the other corner will be Archuleta, who was able to springboard into top ten contention with his ’03 win over Tapia.
This time around, a win over the other will do little for their current rankings – but what it will do, is give local boxing fans a fight to remember. “We will both leave the ring with a black eye and a pay check,” says Tapia.