LONG before I saw Eric Esch fight in real life, I knew him only as ‘Butterbean’, considered him a genuine heavyweight contender capable of beating the likes of Larry Holmes and Lennox Lewis, and would often select him, just for the fun of it, whenever the time came to play one of my brothers on Knockout Kings, an early noughties computer game.
In that realm, on that game, there was no limit to the things Butterbean could do. When in the mood, he could load and land fight-ending haymakers with the speed it took others to throw a jab. He could go 10 and 12 rounds and not take so much as a deep breath. He could defeat world heavyweight champions with a single shot. Basically, in my hands, he looked the part, half his gut covered by stars and stripes shorts, and played the part too.
“I played it a little bit back then,” Butterbean told Boxing News. “Without a doubt it was an honour (to be included on it). It was a huge game.