Judge orders DNA test to determine paternity of late boxer Johnny Tapia

Johnny Tapia with Mr. T in a 1994 file photo.

Johnny Tapia with Mr. T in a 1994 file photo.  (Holly Stein /Allsport/Getty)

A man who says he is the biological father of the late boxer Johnny Tapia will need a DNA test to prove it.

A New Mexico judge ruled this week that Jerry Padilla must undergo a blood test to prove his claim after the fighter's widow demanded it in a legal battle.

The widow, Teresa Tapia and Padilla have been at odds since the boxer's death. Teresa Tapia filed a lawsuit last year accusing Padilla of using photos of the Albuquerque-born Johnny Tapia and the boxer's "name and image in an attempt to promote various ventures and enterprises."

Tapia's widow has long claimed that Padilla was not the boxer's biological father despite a 2010 at-home test that said so.

Padilla's lawyer said that if the test shows that Padilla isn't the boxer's father, his client will have to live with that.

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Johnny Tapia died in 2012 at his Albuquerque home. Investigators found one hydrocodone tablet, a painkiller, on the floor beside his body. They said there were no indications of an overdose or alcohol use but said that the 45-year-old former fighter likely developed medical complications from past illegal drug use.

Teresa Tapia said her husband was taking medication for his bipolar disorder and for his high blood pressure.

During his professional career, Johnny Tapia won several championships in three weight classes. But he was banned from boxing for 3 1/2 years in the early '90s because of his cocaine addiction. Yet Tapia remained a hero among Albuquerque's Mexican Americans.

Shortly after the boxer's death, Teresa Tapia married Padilla's son, Jeffrey, but the two divorced within weeks after Tapia claimed he beat her.

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