James Butler, Richard Grant, and The Infamous Sucker Punch

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James Butler


James Butler, Richard Grant, and The Infamous Sucker Punch

By Robert Brizel, Real Combat Media Correspondent

 The Most Famous In The Ring Cheap Shot in the History of Professional Boxing

James Butler sucker punches Richard Grant boxing clip on YouTube

Light Heavyweight boxer Richard ‘The Alien’ Grant remains world famous for what he did not do in the boxing ring. On November 23, 2001, at Roseland Ballroom in New York City, Grant won a ten round decision over James Butler on a a charity boxing card to benefit card for New York firemen and police officers who were victims of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks tragedy which took down the Twin Towers in New York City. Butler, ranked eighth in the world at light heavyweight at the time, had his boxing gloves removed in the ring after the bout.


Instead of hugging Grant in congratulations, Butler sucker punched him with direct hard hand tape, dislocating Grant’s law and lacerating his tongue-which required 26 stitches. Convicted of aggravated assault, Butler served four months in Riker’s Island Prison, and later pled guilty to voluntary manslaughter and arson in 2006 in the death of writer Sam Kellerman, with whom he lived with. At the time, Butler had taken himself off medication for bipolar disorder which he felt as interfering with his boxing career and ability to train properly. Clearly, the bipolar disorder was present at the time of the incident with Richard Grant, but at the time Butler injured Grant, nobody knew how severe Butler’s disorder really was.


Butler, who had lost a 12 round decision in Germany 2 months earlier for the IBF Super Middleweight title to Sven Ottke, clearly did not like Grant or the judges/


Richard ‘The Alien’ Grant, a Jamaican fighting out of Brooklyn, New York, had a career record of 19-15-1 with five knockouts between 1996 and 2007. In addition to his 2001 win over Butler, Grant also decisioned Butler over four rounds in his third professional fight in 1997, so the bad blood was obvious by the time the two fought the rematch.


Grant won only 12 of his first 20 professional bouts. He then decisioned Antoine Barrett, Kevin Pompey, world ranked James Butler, and won a technical decision over Vitaliy Kopytko due having his left eye cut from an accidental head butt. The opponents Grant had beaten combined had 78 wins.


Grant received two title opportunities after defeating Butler in their second confrontation. He was stopped in the third round of an International Boxing Federation super Middleweight eliminator in the third round against Antwun Echols in August 2002, with the NABA and NABF Super Middleweight titles at stake in Phoenix, Arizona. Grant then got knocked down twice and lost a 12 round decision to Jeff Lacy for the NABA, NABF and WBF Continental Americas Super Middleweight titles in Beverly Hills, California.


Between 2004 and 2007, Grant fought major bouts against Yusaf Mack, LaJuan Simon. Rubin Williams, Lavell Finger, Librado Andrade and Victor Oganov, but was unable to win any of them. After getting knocked out by the 23-0 Andrade and the 25-0 Oganov, Grant retired from the ring at 33 and was never heard from again.


After Butler sucker punched him, Grant later stated in an interview “I won the fight. He (Butler) can do whatever he wants after the fight, but the fact remains that I beat him. Regardless of whether he gets jail time for what he did or not, his boxing career his finished. It’s over. He’s done.” From Richard ‘The Alien’ Grant’s post fight observations and reflections came a most chilling prophecy for James Butler.


List verse lists Richard Grant versus James Butler as one of the ten worst moments in boxing history. The list can be found online at and remains surprisingly accurate to the present moment.




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