Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, NM)

Back Where He Started.(Sports)

Byline: Dennis Latta Journal Staff Writer

To Lift His Career, Paulie Ayala Has No Other Choice But To Fight Johnny Tapia Again

The irony isn't lost on Paulie Ayala, but he claims it doesn't bother him.

Last June, Ayala had the biggest fight of his career. And he won it.

But if Ayala (30-1) wants to make the big money he expected when he became a world champion boxer, he has to go back and fight the same man again.

Ayala beat Johnny Tapia on a unanimous decision at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, Nev., on June 26, 1999. Virtually every boxing publication chose that bout as the fight of the year, which should have made Ayala a celebrity, jumped him up to a higher tax bracket. …

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