James Butler (nicknamed ‘The Harlem Hammer’) was a former light heavyweight boxer that fought in the 90’s. His life will always be remembered for the wrong reasons, a dark and twisted story of a boxer who knew no limits.
Butler was never an outstanding world class fighter, but he was fighting at a good standard and was a good durable opponent to test upcoming prospects. In James Butler’s third fight he was up against Jamaican born opponent Richard Grant, it was also Grant’s third fight. Butler lost to Grant that night, but when the pair met again later on in their careers’ the story would be one to never forget. The pair met again in 2001 and after suffering a unanimous decision loss to Grant, Butler went over to Grant’s corner when the results had been read out seeming like he was going to give his gratitude, and punched Grant in the jaw without his gloves on.
Grant suffered a dislocated jaw and a lacerated tongue that needed 26 stitches and Butler was arrested and charged with Aggravated Assault. Whilst all this drama seemed to be unfolding for Butler, he had a much more darker side to him and had been suffering with bipolar disorder and his true personality was soon to shine through. Years later, Butler was having troubles with his girlfriend at the time and their relationship was falling apart, also with Butler’s child involved. He was staying at his long friend of ten years apartment, Sam Kellerman.
On October 12, 2004 Kellerman had been killed, yet his body not discovered for another five days. Kellerman had threatened to kick Butler out, and in turn Butler had hit him repeatedly with a hammer and set the apartment on fire to try and hide the evidence. This is when Butler sought medical advice for his bipolar disorder, and after pleading not guilty for murder, he then pleaded guilty for voluntary manslaughter and arson in the death of Sam Kellerman where he was sentenced to twenty nine years in prison.