Tuesday, November 27
Butler suspended for post-fight punch

Associated Press

ALBANY, N.Y. -- A middleweight boxer who punched his opponent after their fight ended has been suspended indefinitely by the New York State Athletic Commission.

James Butler, 28, of New York, also faces a second-degree assault charge for the short hook with gloves off that dropped Richard Grant long after the final bell. Grant had just won a 10-round decision televised on ESPN2's "Friday Night Fights."

Deputy commissioner Mike Pascale spoke to Butler, who was subsequently sent an official letter, said Eamon Moynihan, commission spokesman. Butler has 20 days to respond, and a hearing is likely after that to determine his punishment and whether he will receive his $10,000 purse.

In the audience for the fight at New York's Roseland Ballroom was Raymond Kelly, appointed head of the state boxing commission in October, who called for the suspension. Kelly also is New York City's incoming police commissioner.

Proceeds from the nine-bout boxing card were to benefit the Twin Towers Fund to help the city rebuild after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, and 500 tickets had been given out free to police officers, firefighters and other rescue workers. The printed program said Butler was donating his purse.

In footage replayed on newscasts Saturday, Butler is shown slugging Grant, 24, as they met for the usual fighters' hug after the match. Grant went down and appeared groggy. He received stitches for a cut tongue.

Butler was escorted from the ballroom and arrested Saturday on the assault charge, a police spokesman said. He was arraigned Saturday and released. He could face up to seven years in prison if convicted.

Butler, with an 18-3 record and 12 knockouts, had been a contender known as the "Harlem Hammer." He lost a decision to IBF super middleweight champion Sven Ottke on Sept. 1 and was recently mentioned as a possible title opponent for WBO champion Joe Calzaghe.

He was favored to beat Grant (14-8), a Jamaican fighter who in 1997 put the only other loss on Butler's record.

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