ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Two New Mexico boxers put on a performance 20 years ago in Las Vegas, Nevada that was a shot in the arm for the sport.

Former World Champions Danny Romero Jr. and the late great Johnny Tapia were childhood friends who went toe-to-toe on boxing’s biggest stage.

Tapia’s wife and manager Teresa remembers the fight and the training camp leading up to the showdown. It was the camp that terrified her and kept her up at night. “You want to talk about being scared, that would be an understatement,” said Teresa. “He trained three and a half weeks for that fight.

Johnny was in a mess. Here I am his manager and his wife and I am watching footage of Danny training hard. He has all these special people. He’s in the mountains. Johnny’s in jail. We have no trainer. That was the kind of things leading up to this fight.”

Teresa’s concern for the fight only grew as the date got closer. “I was so worried I wanted to cancel the fight. I was already trying to get him to pull out. You know Johnny, he refused. He use to always say I refuse to lose.” The late great Eddie Futch came in to train Tapia. Jesse Reed also came aboard to handle mitts.

It still was not enough to ease the fears Teresa had about the fight. She decided to turn to prayer. “I was so nervous I had people there from church praying,” said Teresa. “I mean I had a whole row of people, like ten people. There job was just to pray.”

The prayers helped Teresa to relax and by the third round she felt good about where the fight was headed. “I saw Johnny and what he was doing in there,” said Teresa. “The worry was lifted.” Tapia won a 12 round unanimous decision and added Romero’s IBF title to his WBO belt.