James Butler (boxer)
|James Butler Jr.|
|Height||6 ft 0 in (183 cm)|
December 18, 1972 |
Harlem, New York, U.S.
|Wins by KO||12|
James Butler Jr. (born December 18, 1972 in Harlem, New York) is an American former light heavyweight boxer, former USBA super middleweight champion. In early 2001, he had a career record of 20-5-0, with 12 wins coming by way of knockout, and was nicknamed "The Harlem Hammer". On November 29, 2001, Butler punched fellow boxer Richard "The Alien" Grant without any gloves on after losing a fight, for which he was arrested and charged with aggravated assault. Butler was later convicted and served four months at Riker's Island detention facility. In 2004, Butler was arrested for the murder of Sam Kellerman with a hammer and the arson of his home and, in 2006, was sentenced to 29 years and four months in prison.
Butler started off his career by scoring 18 wins and only 1 loss in the super middleweight division. This led to a title fight against Sven Ottke who beat Butler by unanimous decision.
Butler's next bout earned him infamy on November 23, 2001 at the Roseland Ballroom in Manhattan, New York. The bout was a charity event to benefit surviving New York firemen and police officers of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in New York City and was televised live on ESPN2. After losing by unanimous decision to Richard "The Alien" Grant, Butler had his gloves removed before the announcement of the winner, Grant then went to Butler's side of the ring for an expected exchange of congratulations. Instead, Butler sucker punched Grant, nailing a bare handed right hook to his jaw. Grant suffered a temporarily dislocated jaw and a lacerated tongue that required 26 stitches. Butler was arrested and charged with aggravated assault. Butler was later convicted and served four months at Riker's Island detention facility.
Butler's last bout was a split-decision loss on August 10, 2004 to Omar Sheika.
Murder of Sam Kellerman and Conviction
On October 12, 2004, writer Sam Kellerman, (brother of boxing analyst Max Kellerman), was killed in a homicide but his body was not found until October 17. Butler was considered a suspect; he had been friends with Kellerman for ten years.
Butler was arrested for the Kellerman slaying on October 27. Two days later, he pleaded not guilty to murder and arson. He was held on $1.25 million bail. Prosecutors claimed that Butler, the only suspect in the case, repeatedly struck Kellerman in the head with a hammer then torched Kellerman's Hollywood, California apartment in an attempted cover-up.
On July 8, 2005, a Los Angeles judge ruled that there was sufficient evidence for Butler to stand trial on the charges of murder and arson.
On March 27, 2006, Butler pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter and arson in the 2004 death of Kellerman. On April 5, Butler was sentenced to 29 years and four months in prison by Superior Court Judge Michael Pastor, according to Deputy Public Defender Jack Keenan.
The suspected motive for the murder was that Kellerman asked Butler to move out of Kellerman's apartment. Butler, who was struggling to revive his career and suffering through a difficult relationship with his girlfriend and child, picked up a hammer and killed Kellerman and then torched his house.
Professional boxing record
|Professional record summary|
|25 fights||20 wins||5 losses|
|25||Loss||20–5||Omar Sheika||SD||10||10 Aug, 2004||Key Skating Center, Bronx, New York, U.S.|
|24||Win||20–4||Dan Sheehan||UD||6||4 June 2004||Promo West Pavilion, Columbus, Ohio, U.S.|
|23||Win||19–4||Reggie Strickland||UD||6||7 May 2004||Farm Bureau Building, Indianapolis, Indiana, U.S.|
|22||Loss||18–4||Thomas Reid||UD||8||27 Feb, 2004||Key Skating Center, Bronx, New York, U.S.|
|21||Loss||18–3||Richard Grant||UD||10||29 Nov, 2001||Roseland Ballroom, New York, New York, U.S.|
|20||Loss||18–2||Sven Ottke||UD||12||1 Sep 2001||Bördelandhalle, Magdeburg, Germany||For IBF super-middleweight title|
|19||Win||18–1||Jerry Williams||UD||8||24 Mar, 2001||Bördelandhalle, Magdeburg, Germany|
|18||Win||17–1||Jose Spearman||TKO||6 (12), 0:59||29 Sep, 2000||Station Casino, Kansas City, Missouri, U.S.||Retained USBA super middleweight title|
|17||Win||16–1||Arthur Allen||TKO||2 (12), 2:03||24 Mar, 2000||Blue Horizon, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.||Retained USBA super middleweight title|
|16||Win||15–1||Bryant Brannon||KO||7 (12), 0:55||29 Oct, 1999||Farm Bureau Building, Indianapolis, Indiana, U.S.||For USBA super middleweight title|
|15||Win||14–1||Merqui Sosa||TKO||2 (10), 1:02||16 Jul, 1999||Hampton Beach Casino, Hampton Beach, New Hampshire, U.S.|
|14||Win||13–1||Thomas James||TKO||2 (6)||24 Jun, 1999||Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.|
|13||Win||12–1||Jose Hiram Torres||TKO||7 (10)||15 May 1999||Leominster, Massachusetts, U.S.|
|12||Win||11–1||Calvin Moody||KO||1 (10)||22 Apr, 1999||Virginia, U.S.|
|11||Win||10–1||Rufat Baku||UD||10||9 Oct, 1998||Capitol Theatre, Port Chester, New York, U.S.|
|10||Win||9–1||Hector Rosario||TKO||6 (8)||11 Sep, 1998||Yonkers Raceway, Yonkers, New York, U.S.|
|9||Win||8–1||Tim Dendy||UD||6||24 Mar, 1998||Grand Casino, Tunica, Mississippi, U.S.|
|8||Win||7–1||Knowledge Bey||KO||3 (4)||24 Jan, 1998||Elks Lodge, Queens, New York, U.S.|
|7||Win||6–1||Malcolm Brooks||PTS||6||10 Oct, 1997||Capitol Theatre, Port Chester, New York, U.S.|
|6||Win||5–1||Louis March||PTS||4||19 Sep, 1997||Capitol Theatre, Port Chester, New York, U.S.|
|5||Win||4–1||Robert Muhammad||KO||6 (6)||18 Jun, 1997||Yonkers Raceway, Yonkers, New York, U.S.|
|4||Win||3–1||Gerald Holmes||KO||1 (4)||11 Apr, 1997||Capitol Theatre, Port Chester, New York, U.S.|
|3||Loss||2–1||Richard Grant||PTS||4||31 Jan, 1997||Yonkers Raceway, Yonkers, New York, U.S.|
|2||Win||2–0||Derrick Whitley||PTS||4||2 Nov, 1996||Hartford, Connecticut, U.S.|
|1||Win||1–0||Eddie Johnson||TKO||1 (4)||18 Oct, 1996||Bronx, New York, U.S.||Professional debut|
- http://www.thesweetscience.com/boxing-article/3561/boxing-news-james-butler-pleads-guilty/ Archived December 1, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
- Wong, Edward (November 27, 2001). "BOXING; Boxer Barred and Charged For Sucker Punch After Loss". The New York Times. Retrieved September 12, 2011.
- Smith, Tim (February 24, 2004). "A sucker no longer boxer back after punch led to jail, ban". NYdailynews.com. Retrieved March 8, 2017.
- "Boxer pleads guilty to death of sportswriter Kellerman". ESPN.com. March 27, 2006. Retrieved September 12, 2011.
- "Boxer sentenced to nearly 30 years for killing". ESPN.com. April 5, 2006. Retrieved March 8, 2017.