ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - Preparations continue for the memorial this weekend for boxer Johnny Tapia.
He died Sunday night at his northwest Albuquerque home.
World champion boxer Johnny Tapia, who died at his home Sunday, leaves behind three boys who worshipped their father and are now left trying to find their way.
"It's been really hard, and I still don't believe it yet," Johnny Tapia Jr. told KRQE News 13. "People are coming up saying sorry, and you want to say, 'For what? He's here.' It gets to me. I don't know"
Johnny Jr. is Tapia's oldest son. His middle son, also Johnny, is 12. His third, Nicholi, is 7
All say they're having a hard time believing that their dad is gone.
"Like a lot of people will miss him, and it is just really hard," Johnny the younger said.
The three boys are doing what they can to remember their father including spending the night at Tapia's gym. Johnny Jr. has spent the last three nights there.
"It feels better he feels like he is with us," he said.
Johnny Jr. is a boxer, too, and says it is going to be tough to go on without his father there to push him.
"No one could push me to where I was," he continued. "I freak out, and I need him. I need his voice. I need his presence. I need him to tell me what to do.
"I can't hear those words no more. There always in here, but the person, I need him."
Johnny Jr. Is now the leader of the house and wants to make his dad proud.
"Whatever he would want me to be, I am trying to figure it out," he said.
Johnny wants everyone to know just one thing about his dad.
"He was a nice person, and he was a good boxer," Johnny said.
All the boys said it really won't become real until this Sunday at the memorial service.
They said the toughest time will be when all of the media attention dies down and the family is by itself. But they know they will get through it just like his dad did.
"Take it a day at a time," Johnny Jr. said.
Tapia's memorial service is being held on Sunday at the University of New Mexico Arena otherwise known as The Pit.
Doors open at 6:30 pm. Viewing lasts until 7:45, then the memorial starts at 8:15.
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