by Justin Crockett
Boxing has taken a hit since the heyday of Mike Tyson. It is quickly being sent to the back burner for the immediate satisfaction of mixed martial arts. However, UFC can’t compare to the gaggle of fuck-ups that have graced the sweet science.
#6. Arturo Gatti’s Murder Mystery
Arturo Gatti, one of the most heralded featherweight boxers of the 90’s, was found dead in Brazil while on vacation with his wife and son. Initially called a homicide after the wife could not describe why the fuck she hung out in a hotel room for 10 hours with a corpse(and why there was blood on her purse), Brazilian police somehow deduced from this information that is was definitely a suicide. New information in 2011 pointed to the fact that it was indeed a homicide, especially since she hung out for 10 hours with a dead body in the room
#5. James Butler, King of the Suckerpunchers(and Murder)
James Butler, known as the “Harlem Hammer”, was a promising up-and-comer in New York City. As a super middleweight, he quickly jumped out to an 18-1 record. His punches echoed the frustration of his early life, with no father around, living in a ramshackle Harlem housing project, his mother often opting for the nightlife instead of caring for her son. His punches reflected his troubled youth, and they hit much like, yes, a hammer(wait for it).
As a charity event for police and firefighters involved in September 11th, Butler agreed to a bout with Richard “The Alien” Grant. And no, boxers have not run out of nicknames, says Richard “The Alien” Grant. Butler eventually lost the fight on a unanimous decision. At the end of the fight, he went to his corner and removed his gloves. When the time came for the fighters to meet at center ring for post-fight congratulations, Butler also removed all hints of sanity. While Grant reached out for what he thought was a proper gentleman’s handshake, what he received instead was a right hook that didn’t tickle so much as dislocate his jaw, lacerate his tongue, and require 26 stitches. It was as if a hammer(wait for it) hit him square in the face, as Grant dropped to the ground in a Willem DaFoe “Platoon” impersonation.
Butler received 4 months at Riker’s Island for his niceties. During which time, we assume he felt really bad and decided to stop acting up.
Fast forward to 2004. Butler has been out of prison, back in boxing, albeit not up to his former glory. He had been staying with Sam Kellerman, brother of Max, a boxing analyst and radio personality. Sam Kellerman was a freelance writer, and he and Butler had been friends for years. Butler had been recently disturbed not just by his failed attempt at a boxing comeback, but by the usual babymama-drama, a quickly deteriorating relationship with the mother of his child. His world was broken and shattered, as if struck by a hammer(wait for it).
Some people seek out therapy for these issues, maybe leave the dating scene, perhaps furiously masturbate. Not “The Hammer”. No, he felt the only way to purge these demons was to open the back of poor Sam Kellerman’s head via blunt trauma, and to torch the victim’s house to destroy the evidence. Going by the general IQ of most people that get punched for a living, Butler was almost immediately swept up, and charged with the grisly murder. He received 29 years in prison, proof that if you’re going to be called “The Harlem Hammer”, don’t FUCKING MURDER SOMEONE WITH A HAMMER. Too bad he wasn’t “The Bronx Beagle”…..that shit would have been just adorable.
#4. Oscar De La Hoya Plays Dress-Up
Never considered the manliest guy to set foot in the ring, Oscar took things to a coke-feuled bizarre conclusion while spending a night with a pricey New York City escort in 2007. Since sex with one girl is stupid and unnecessary, he decided that it was Opposites Day. He put on her high heels, fishnet stockings, and to top it of in a horrifying “Silence of the Lambs” outtake, her tiny panties and bra. Criticism and mockery were brutal, and he vowed to never do it again.
He did it again. in 2011.
#3. Don King, just Don King
Always revered with the same level of admiration as your slightly-too-touchy uncle, Don King had the legacy of killing not just one, but two people. Unsatisfied with those achievements, he eventually moved on to rigging a whole faction of boxing. In particular, a tournament set up by the ABC network, in which he falsified boxers’ records and rankings to advance fighters under his own management.
#2. Luis Resto Rocks(Literally) Billy Collins Jr’s World
Luis Resto was a journeyman welterweight by the time of his bout with undefeated Billy Collins Jr. in 1983. There was no reason to think that he had a shot against such a prospect. Which must have been the reasoning to his trainer, Panama Lewis, when he decided to not only remove a better part of the protective padding in his gloves, but to also soak his hand wraps in Plaster of Paris. This resulted in a torn iris, severe facial swelling, and permanently blurred vision to Collins. He never boxed again, and died, possibly self-inflicted, 9 months later. Resto did 2 1/2 years in prison.
#1. Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini Straight Up Kills a Guy
In November 1982, Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini met up with South Korean lightweight Duk Koo Kim in Las Vegas. Mancini was easily outpacing the other fighter, but Kim stayed upright and showed a lot of balls. Shortly into the 14th round, however, Mancini unleashed a George McFly haymaker that bounced Kim off the ropes violently, sending him to the canvas headfirst, causing instant brain damage.
Within minutes, he lapsed into a coma, never to awaken. He died five days later. So profound was the loss, his mother committed suicide four months later, and the referee of the match followed suit in July 1983. This match alone was the reason championship fights were reduced to 12 rounds.