Advertisement
Advertisement

Ronald "Butch" Lewis Passes Away, 65-Years-Old

By Michael Marley

It's with great sadness that I must report the sudden death of one of boxing's last, great characters.

Ronald "Butch" Lewis, known in the fight industry for tenaciously landing his light heavyweight champion Michael Spinks a massive $13.5 million purse for what turned out to be a brutal, one round KO at the hands of Iron Mike Tyson, apprently suffered a massive heart attack.

Lewis, age 65 and more active in recent years in the music and TV fields than in boxing, was in or around his stately home in Delaware when he went into cardiac arrest. I am not sure if this happened today (Saturday) or on Friday.

Ironically, the last place I saw Lewis and his client and best buddy Spinks, was at the funeral service of their longtime lawyer (and mine as well), Milton Chwasky. Chwasky died a few months ago.

Other close friends of Lewis were actor Denzel Wasdhington and former Black Entertainment Television Network owner turned NBA Charlotte franchise owner Bob Johnson. The celebrity trio often sat at ringside at major fights together and I think they may have had "ringside seats" together at President Barack Obama's Inauguration.

Later on in his illustrious life, soul signer supreme, Soul Brother Number One, Mr. James Brown did a jail stint for durg use.

When he got out of jail, he had a comeback concert at an historic theater in the Hollywood area and the promoter of the event was none other than Butch Lewis.

Lewis' sartorial trademark was his "Chocolate Tuxedo" look which only mean he wore a tuxedo without a shirt underneath it. Lewis even had one of his sons at ringside for a big fight dressed the same way.

Lewis grew up in Philadelphia, was always fascinated by boxing and became a close friend and associate of first Smokin' Joe Frazier and then Muhammad Ali.

In the boxing industry, Lewis oversaw the development of Leon Spinks when Lewis was a VP to Bob Arum's Top Rank company, including that incredible night in Las Vegas when Leon, with only eight pro bouts, took a unanimous decision over "The Greatest" in Las Vegas.

Lewis then became one of the titled promoters of Ali-Spinks II, which attracted 78,000 fans to the Superdome in New Orleans.

From then, Lewis' promotional career knew few bounds but his mainstay was Leon's brother, Michael Spinks.

Lewis father was an ambitious businessman in Philadelphia and, if memory serves, his father was the first African American to own a Volkswagen franchise in the United States, back in an era when the German made compact cars were phenomenally popular, especially with the so called Woodstock Generation.

Lewis often battled against promotional legend Don King but the pair once worked together, albeit briefly, in a company which was wistfully named "Dynamic Duo."

Lewis never called King by his name but, instead, referred to him because of DK's wild vines hairstyle as "Bushy."

Lewis had an outstanding heavyweight prospect from Louisville named Greg Page. Some optimists thought Page might be "the next Muhammad Ali" and obviously part of the overblown enthusiasm was because they shared the same Kentucky hometown.

Anyway, King "stole" Page away from Lewis and they then battled it out in a New York court over the fighter's services.

It's a shame that Lewis has died without being enshrined in the International Boxing Hall of Fame because, if only for his adroit handling of Spinks' career which included two amazing victories over heavyweight ruler Larry Holmes.

Lewis and his able litigator, Jethro "Jed" Eisenstein won the Page case and Lewis was paid off by King. Page remained

Lewis' company was Butch Lewis Productions or Promotions and his longtime adivser/matchmaker was Don Majeski.

Like the rest of us in boxing, Majeski has a lot of funny and colorful stories about the wit and wisdom of Lewis.

For a lengthy period, Majeski said Lewis refused to pay his weekly salary.

Lewis kept promising payment in the future and Majeski said, "Butch, but you said I am like family to you."

"You are, Don, you are," Lewis said. "Now you see my nephew and my niece working in the office, right?

"And did you know I do not pay them? I don't and because you're family just like they are, I've got to be consistent."

Majeski eventually got some paychecks.

RIP, Mr. Lewis, a boxing man through and through.

Tags:
User Comments and Feedback (Register For Free To Comment) Comment by visionary247 on 07-23-2011

[QUOTE=rckdees;10885304]who f*** are you the mourning police ?[/QUOTE] No son, I'm your father and anyone who knew anything about Amy Winehouse knew she was hopelessly and unremorsely addicted to heroin. So the fact that she was found dead in her…

Comment by Pooley on 07-23-2011

R.I.P Butch Lewis.

Comment by thuggin_yo on 07-23-2011

Best news from this article is that Milt Chwasky is DEAD, yo!!! You know those movies where u see a lawyer that's so much of an evil prikk that you think it can't be real. Well that's Milt Chwasky!!! Muthafukkin…

Comment by chiguy91 on 07-23-2011

rest in peace lewis

Comment by nycsmooth on 07-23-2011

RIP Butch...Boxing and his fighters were always 1st w/him...

Post a Comment - View More User Comments (15)
Top Headlines De La Hoya is Firm: Canelo Will Out-Sell Both Pacquiao Fights! Golovkin's Coach Rips Carl Froch: He Retired, Didn't Back Up Talk Daily Bread Mailbag: Golovkin, Ward, Kovalev, Team USA, More Mike Lee Faces Chris Traietti, September 30 at UIC Forum Juan Manuel Lopez Medically Cleared To Fight Wilfredo Vazquez Carlos Sanchez Aims To Continue KO Streak in Montebello Golovkin-Brook: Callum Smith, Kid Galahad, McDonnell Added Brook Baits Golovkin: You Want Respect? Show Me That Power! Avni Yildirim Ready For Aaron Pryor Jr. Clash in Berlin Despite Backlash, Luis Ortiz Envisions Brighter Future Williams on Brook Sparring: He's on Another Level To Golovkin! Jose Felix Pumped For Return, Hopes To Get Terry Flanagan Canelo, Conor McGregor Trade Words Over 'Cherry Picking' Claim Cuadras: Chocolatito Has an Appointment With a Knockout Photos: Christian Gonzalez, Edgar Valerio, Nava Open Workouts Photos: Danny Roman, LaRon Mitchell Ready For 'New Blood' Photos: Guerrero vs. Peralta, Angulo vs. Hernandez Face To Face Roberto Duran's 'No Mas' Trunks Hit The Auction Block Photos: Tishchenko Honored For Gold Medal By Vladimir Putin Fox Sports 1 Pleased With Latest Ratings Figure For PBC Show Guy Robb Vows To Control Pace and Outbox Miguel Marriaga Michael Conlan Has NO FEAR of AIBA's Threats of Action Jose Benavidez's Father Gives Details, Update on Son's Shooting Tomasz Adamek Ponders a Final Ring Return For 2017 Canelo: A Shame Mexicans Criticize Their Athletes So Much! Nietes vs. Sosa: Mark Magsayo To Face Garcia on The Undercard David Price, Anthony Ogogo To Feature on Braehmer-Cleverly Canelo Expects Liam Smith To Bring The Fight To Him Ricky Burns To Face Mandatory Kiryl Relikh On Return Jose Benavidez Jr. Shot in Arizona, Taken To The Hospital Bryant Perrella-Yordenis Ugas on September 27, PBC on FS1 Giovanni De Carolis-Tyron Zeuge Rematch on November 5th Golovkin's Coach: Ward Beats Everyone at 175 - Except Kovalev! Vargas is Open To Facing Crawford After Stunning Pacquiao Sam Maxwell Turns Over, Joins MGM: Will Debut In October Golovkin Warns Saunders: My Goal is The WBO Belt, I Want it Next Anthony Crolla: I'll Have Jorge Linares Rematch in Las Vegas Williams-Patterson, Eubank Jr-Langford Confirmed For October 22 In Cardiff Derry Mathews Confident: I'll Dig Deep With Luke Campbell! Upton Brothers Leave Ricky Hatton Over "Turbulent Private Life"
Advertisement

Latest Active Forum Threads
Advertisement
Advertisement