CANASTOTA – The King of the Four Rounders, Butterbean – Eric Esch – has revealed that his health became so poor that he stopped going out.

Today weighing 280lbs, with a goal to reach 250lbs within six months, the 57-year-old got up to more than 400lbs in his fighting career, and his health declined to the point that he needed a wheelchair to get around. Then he became reclusive. 

“I was inducted into the Alabama Boxing Hall of Fame and I was too embarrassed to go, and I’ve been invited here in the past and I was too embarrassed to come,” he said. “I couldn’t get around, I couldn’t move. When you can’t move, you don’t believe in yourself and you’ve lost your self-esteem. That was my down. Now I’m going strong, I’m never looking back. I’m blessed.” 

Butterbean has become one of many high-profile success stories who has used DDP Yoga to transform their lives, and he’s even been back on the pads with Britain’s Olympic bronze medallist Anthony Ogogo.

Butterbean blitzed many a foe, retiring with a record of 77-10-4 (57 KOs), and speaking on the International Boxing Hall of Fame grounds, he spoke about being the last to fight heavyweight great Larry Holmes in 2002, when he lost a 10-rounder to the “Easton Assassin”.

“He had a great jab and he’d run,” recalled ‘Bean. “I’ve never seen a man run and move as much as Larry Holmes did in that fight, and that’s my fault. In the second round he hit me with a straight right and I saw the look on his face and I said, ‘Larry, is that the best you got’, and right then after that, he was on high movement. He outboxed me, without a doubt. I wish we would have had two more rounds. I wish we could have done 12 rounds. I never watched fight tapes of anyone but Larry.

“Holmes was one of the tricky ones because I was trying to figure out the jab. He had an unbelievable jab. I’ve had dinner many times with George Foreman and George would say the one reason he didn’t want to fight Holmes was because he was such a tricky fighter – he made everyone look bad. 

“[But] the best thing that happened with me and Larry Holmes fighting – I now like Larry. Now me and Larry are good friends because of boxing, and that’s what boxing does. It makes people, once they’ve been in the ring together – they respect each other more, and they love each other.”

Butterbean also spoke of cutting his teeth in toughman contests before he made a career out of boxing. He was friendly with a lightweight who was making $1,000 a fight when Butterbean toiled in a regular job, earning $200 a week plus overtime. Once he started tossing leather, there was no looking back.

“You go in there, you get to beat up four or five guys in two nights, you don’t go to jail, you have a lot of fun and you get paid,” he said. “I was hooked.”

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