ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - The doors to the Pit opened for one of the biggest memorial services in New Mexico.
6,800 fans said their final goodbyes to legendary boxer Johnny Tapia.
Some people waited at the UNM's The Pit since 7 o'clock Sunday morning to pay their respects to the five-time world champion.
Tapia's long time rival Danny Romero said he will not be at the memorial because he did not want to be a distraction.
Other guest speakers, including Mayor R.J. Berry and News 13's Van Tate told stories about Tapia.
Tapia's body was inside of a casket which was inside of a boxing ring at center court of The Pit.
It was The Pit that helped put legendary boxer Johnny Tapia on the map. He won his first world championship there in 1994.
The doors opened at 6:30 p.m. and the entire memorial lasted past 10 o'clock Sunday night.
Many of the people who have been waiting say they have a personal connection with Tapia, including the kids to train at his gym.
"We're part of the team," Michael Pavelko said. "We're like family to them we know them. We are respectful we didn't come here with our phones taking pictures of the popular people…we're here for the family."
A friend of Tapia also handed out t-shirts that say "Johnny Tapia forever."
The Tapia family is paying for all of the services.
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