James Butler Deserves Ban From
By Kent Appel
- On Friday night after watching ten uneventful
rounds in which super middleweight Richard Grant,
in an upset, clearly outboxed the IBF number eight
ranked fighter in the division, James Butler; I
witnessed on live ESPN 2 television one of the most
despicable acts I have ever seen in all of my years
of watching sports. Grant walked over to Butler
and thinking the fight was over (and it was), he
patted Butler on the back in a sportsmanlike gesture
to acknowledge, win or lose, a job well done. Butler
then proceeded to "sucker punch" Grant
with a tremendous bare handed right hand, one that
he had been unable to land while Grant was defending
himself during the bout; knocking Butler out cold;
much to the horror of the live audience, the ESPN
announcers, myself, and I am sure the rest of the
television audience at home. This sort of behavior
has no place in organized sports and Butler not
only deserves to be banned for life from boxing;
he deserves to be, as the ESPN announcers suggested,
put in jail for assault. A large portion of the
live audience; New York City police and firemen;
agreed as they chanted, "take him away! "take
him away!" This is ironic in that the evening
was billed as a benefit to aid the victims of the
September 11th tragedy. Butler could not have more
dishonored the memory of the victims of the horrible
terrorist attacks and the real heroes sitting in
the audience if he had flown a plane into a building
James Butler's behavior just an extension of the
disrespect athletes in general have these days when
"trash talking" instead of quiet confidence
seems to be the norm? Is Butler's "sucker punch":
the sign of things to come when the bad feelings
apparent before an event carry on afterwards? I
don't know enough about Butler or Grant to know
if this is the case, but it does seem that athletes
disrespect each other more and more currently. Such
was the case before the recent heavyweight title
fight which saw Lennox Lewis regain the title with
a fourth round knockout over Hasim Rahman. Rahman
before the fight had questioned Lewis' manhood and
sexuality and Lewis seemed to put the issue to rest
by knocking out Rahman with a great right hand.
But does Lewis still harbor bad feelings for Rahman
that may surface later?
Maybe the real answer lies in the fact that James
Butler is just a "punk" and though it
seems that all of the training and sacrifice needed
in order to become a world class athlete should
teach him some moral strength, maybe sometimes "we
just can't take the punk out of the punk!"
I hope at least Butler got some sort of sick self
satisfaction that he is some sort of a tough guy
because he ruined a career that showed at least
some potential. I don't think he will ever get past
this one huge mistake and I doubt if we will see
James Butler in the ring anytime soon, if ever.
I hope the Butler incident doesn't
give more ammunition to boxing's critics because
the sport doesn't need another "black eye."
I believe that most boxers are decent people who
work hard to develop their skills and they deserve
to be paid well for their efforts. I believe the
James Butler's of the sport are few and far between.
"The Harlem Hammer" Butler
- Tonight's ESPN2 Friday Night Fights, at Roseland
Ballroom in New York City will feature former Olympian
Richard Grant (13-8) against James "The Harlem
Hammer" Bulter (18-2).
Grant has a 4 round decision win
over Butler in 1997. Therefore, this will be their
second meeting. in the co-main, amateur star Brian
Adams (14-2) will face Richard Kiley. Former Olympians
Jermine taylor will take on Undra White while Clarence
Vinson meets Jhovany Collado.
Butler speaks about his past and
upcoming rematch battle with Richard Grant...
How long have you been preparing
for your rematch with Richard Grant?
I've been training for 6 weeks
What's your impression of Richard
Grant who has a win over you today?
He put a blemish in my record. I had to kill myself
to make that weight. I'll prove to him this time
that, that was a fluke. I haven't 100% for that
fight. My energy level wasn't there. he never hurt
me. He just came in with his head so I suffered
cuts on both eyes. I'm 168 pounds now stronger than
When did you start your amateur
I began in 1991.
I wanted to be something in the society so growing
up I always wondered what I want to be. I use to
get into street fights and hit people. I went to
gym to learn boxing and that was it.
Your amateur accomplishments?
I was the 2 time New York Golden Gloves Champion
1992 and 1995. I won a a Bronze in 1995 Nationals.
Please, tell us about your pro
Can remember much but I remember amateur fights
before that. I went to puerto Rico, and knockout
WBO champ Daniel Santos. I stopped Santoes and lost
a controversial decision to current WBC super middle
champ Byron Mitchel. Byron was a little stronger
but I'll like to fight again now at professional
to get my revenge.
What should fans exect tonight
when you meet Grant the second time?
Don't blink because it may miss something or it
can end very soon.
Your impression of Eric Lucas?
I have seen him fight one time, Good fighter. I
just see him like I see other fighters in my weight
Anything else on the fight tonight?
Nope, I don't mean to be rude. I have to go.