Eric "Butterbean" Esch was a rotund fighter who came into professional boxing from "Toughman" competitions in 1994 and weighed in at over 370 pounds. His image is that of a rotund, bald, tough fighter. He was the "Two Ton" Tony Galento of his era.
Butterbean did not have an impressive list of opponents. He faced aging,
former world champion Larry Holmes in 2002 and lost a 10 round decision,
although Esch knocked Holmes down in the final round. He also fought
McNeeley, a former opponent of Mike Tyson in 1999,
stopping McNeeley in the first round. He was IBA World Super Heavyweight Champion
But Butterbean Esch may
best be remembered for representing professional boxing against
professional wrestling in a bout against Mike Plotcheck. Plotcheck,
known to wrestling fans as Bart Gunn, had won a World Wrestling
Federation's 1998 shoot tournament called the "Brawl for
All". The Brawl for All matches were a hybrid of wrestling and
boxing that was a tournament among the finest wrestlers of the era and
the bouts were not staged, nor were the outcomes pre-determined. During
the competition, Gunn knocked out favorite "Dr. Death" Steve Williams on
his way to the championship.
Esch knocked out Gunn within 30 seconds. It was a very frightening knockout that served to emphasize the difference between the nature of the two sports. Sadly, Gunn's legitimacy was ruined and he was released from his contract by the WWF. But, Gunn found success wrestling in Japan with New Japan and All Japan Wrestling under the ring name "Mike Barton."