The scene in Albuquerque on Sunday was reminiscent of a moment nine years ago in a hall near Glasgow.
In New Mexico, 7000 fans stood in homage to a champion. In the Braehead Arena of March 2003, there was a scramble as Johnny Tapia walked ringside to watch Scott Harrison take on Wayne McCullough in a world featherweight title fight.
Tapia graciously accepted the applause and he tirelessly signed autographs. My son walked back from a meeting with the five-time world champion with a smile as wide as the nearby Clyde and a precious scrawl on a programme. The scene on Sunday at the Pit at the University of New Mexico on Sunday, though, was suitably sombre. Death had finally claimed Tapia, a soul terribly troubled by life.
His closed casket sat in the ring. At 45, he had finally succumbed to death after an existence punctuated by glory but also indelibly scarred by loss and tragedy. Tapia was no ordinary boxer. His was no ordinary life.
His boxing achievements are solid and impressive. He was a world title holder in three weights: bantamweight, featherweight and super featherweight. He recorded his 59th victory in 66 professional fights with only two defeats. This is more than enough to illustrate a dramatic professional life but Tapia's story outside the ring was painted in lurid, violent colours.
He was born in Albuquerque on Friday the 13th of February, 1967. He was always told his father had been murdered in a gang dispute months before the birth of his son. At the age of eight, he watched from a window in his house as a pick-up raced by to the soundtrack of a woman's screams. It was his mother who was later found to be stabbed 26 times with scissors and a screwdriver.
He was brought up by his grandfather, Miguel, and eight other family members in a three-bedroomed house. Tapia was made to fight other boys, with his uncles betting on their nephew. If he lost, he would receive another beating. ''I was raised to fight to the death,'' he once said.
His progress to the pinnacle of the sport was accompanied by drug and alcohol abuse. Tapia, a Gold Gloves champion, used a frenetic style, embellished by a damaging left jab, to win his first 22 fights. If this seems seamless, his lifestyle was the acme of self-destruction. His cocaine habit saw him brought back to life five times.
He marrried Teresa Chavez in 1992 and the relationship brought an element of stability into the boxer's life. She was his rock, but Tapia faced storms that rendered any human haven insufficient.
Tapia always said he fought with a fury because he saw every opponent as his mother's killer. His already tortured life took two excruciating twists.
In 1999, when training for a bantamweight world title fight with Paulie Ayala, Tapia was told that his mother's killing had been solved. The murderer had been killed in a road accident.
Then in 2010 his father was revealed to be alive. Predictably, he was a career criminal who had just been released from prison. DNA tests proved paternity. Tapia greeted the news with a rueful reminiscence of ''43 years of crying'' for a father who was not dead.
His cocaine addiction had led to a ban from boxing for three years in the early 1990s. It was a problem that Tapia and friends regularly addressed but never solved. His fragile emotional state was exacerbated by guilt when he was hospitalised for drug abuse and his wife's brother and nephew died in a car crash on the way to visit him. ''It's my fault,'' said Tapia. ''I killed them both.''
He is survived by his wife and three children. But something more lives on. Tapia was a beloved figure. His trials outside the ring invested him with a vulnerability that was in stark contrast to his strength and belligerence in it.
''I was raised like a pit bull,'' said Tapia who had Mi Vida Loca [My Crazy Life] tattooed on his body. His torso was also decorated with the images of angels that he believed stopped him ''from passing into the next world''.
He was a profoundly generous character. The memorial service in Albuquerque heard many tales of the gentle side of a warrior. One friend told how Tapia had visited a paralysed victim of a road accident and left a cheque for $10,000. His only link with the injured man was that he was a friend of the promoter on whose bill he was fighting.
Boxing fans recognised this decency that ran through a life that was signposted by rehab and prison. It is why they mobbed him at the Braehead Arena in 2003 and in stadiums all over the world. It why they gathered in their thousands at the Pit on Sunday.
It why everyone who met him or even just watched him fight will pray that a man who lived in turmoil can now rest in peace.