Butterbean Returns Friday the 13thWritten by Leroy Cleveland
The colorful Eric Esch aka "Butterbean" will step inside a boxing ring for the 90th time in his career on Friday the 13th when he rematches Curt Allan (7-1-1, 3 KO) at the Horseshoe Casino in Indiana.
The self-proclaimed "King of the Four Rounders" is back!
For the first time in 25 months, the 45 year old Butterbean (77-8-4, 58 KO) will step into a boxing ring. However, ring rust won't likely be an issue for Esch because his opponent hasn't fought in nearly 13 years.
Curt Allan, 47, was the victim of a 3rd Round TKO when he last fought Butterbean in Las Vegas in January 1997.
In his most recent ring appearance, Butterbean punished the scales at 405 lbs and lost a split decision to Harry Funmaker in October 2009.
Butterbean developed a cult following after he burst onto the Toughman Contest scene in Texarkana, AR before entering the world of professional boxing in 1994. He was a five time World Toughman Heavyweight Champion with a record of 56-5 with 36 knockouts (not counted towards pro career).
Esch's charisma, along with his round body and bald head made him a popular and entertaining boxer in the 1990s and 2000s.
To the dismay of some and disbelief of others, Butterbean has had more televised matches than some, if not most, world champions.
He stated in an interview with Boxing Insider:
"It took off pretty quick (his popularity), my second pro fight was on national TV—it don't happen like that, normally you get 15, 20 fights and then you get a TV fight unless you're very fortunate. Tyson, his second pro fight wasn't on TV. He probably had five or six, seven fights before he got on TV. Me, my second pro fight was televised, it was on a Jed Hearns undercard. Then a couple more fights and I'm on TV again, and every fight since then was televised."
Butterbean's biggest win was a first round TKO of Peter McNeeley in 1999. McNeeley gained notoriety as Mike Tyson's first opponent following the former champion's prison release in 1995. Butterbean vs McNeeley aired on Showtime on the undercard of Johnny Tapia vs. Paulie Ayala I.
While the vast majority of his professional boxing opponents were either boxing novices or technically or physically limited club fighters, Esch did fight 53 year old former heavyweight champion Larry Holmes in 2002. Holmes cruised to an easy points win, using his superior experience, speed and technique to frustrate Butterbean, who was credited with a controversial knockdown in the final round. The Holmes fight is one of only three bouts his his 89-fight career that was scheduled for more than four rounds.
Butterbean's previous fighting experiences (Boxing and toughman competitions) led him to venture into mixed martial arts (MMA) in 2003. Although Esch was sometimes ridiculed for beating low-tier boxers, he performed moderately well against legitimate MMA opposition, earning a record of 14-10-1.
Butterbean vs Kimbo Slice later this year?