The boxing world suffered a pair of painful blows over Memorial Day Weekend.
Five-time world champion Johnny Tapia, 45, was found dead in his Albuquerque, New Mexico home on Sunday. Also on Sunday, former welterweight and junior-middleweight champ Paul Williams suffered serious injuries in a motorcycle accident in Marietta, Ga.
Williams' manager, George Peterson, told the Associated Press that he is paralyzed from the waist down as a result of the crash. Peterson said Williams severed his spinal cord after falling on his back and head while getting thrown from the bike.
"From the waist down, he has absolutely no movement," Peterson told the AP. "He's in very good spirits, though. He still believes he's going to fight again."
Three of Williams' last five fights were held in Atlantic City. On Dec. 5, 2009, he earned a 12-round, majority decision over Sergio Martinez at Boardwalk Hall's Adrian Phillips Ballroom. Martinez won the rematch 11 months later with a spectacular, second-round knockout at Boardwalk Hall's main arena.
In his last appearance in the resort the 30-year-old Williams (41-2, 27 KOs) was awarded a controversial, majority decision over Erislandy Lara in the Ballroom. Judges Al Bennett, Donald Givens and Hilton Whitaker III were suspended after the bout by New Jersey Athletic Control Board commissioner Aaron Davis and have yet to return to the sport.
Tapia (59-5-2, 30 KOs), who won five titles at super-flyweight, bantamweight and featherweight, fought just once in Atlantic City. The 45-year-old won the WBA bantamweight title with a majority decision over Nana Yaw Konadu at Atlantic City Convention Center on Dec. 5, 1998 while Boardwalk Hall was undergoing a $90 million renovation.
Out of the ring, Tapia's life was marred by cocaine addiction, depression and legal troubles.
Tapia, who was banned from boxing for nearly four years in the early 1990s, also served over three years in prison for various offenses. When he fought in Atlantic City in 1998, he was on probation for pulling a loaded gun on his wife/manager Theresa.