283, sounds XL jumbo, but Andy Ruiz would be the lil guy in the ring, if you had the time machine matchmaker make a Ruiz versus Butterbean Esch bout.
Member the ‘Bean? He was the dude who dealt with bullying as a kid, for being heavy. He got to rumbling in Toughman contests, and got that nickname by making butterbeans part of the diet that got him down to the max limit 400 pounds.
Bean, an Alabama slamma before Deontay Wilder thought of fighting, then got a pro boxing license. He became a TV staple, and was known as “The King of the Four Rounders,” as promoter Bob Arum used him as a condiment to complement main courses.
Some didn't get the joke, and it wasn't fully a joke, as stepping in a ring and fighting is no laughing matter. Gonzo jokester Johnny Knoxville can attest…
Bean was a road warriorand not afraid to try different disciplines: By the end of his career in 2012, he had a pro boxing record of 77-10-4 (58 KOs), a kickboxing record of 3-4 (two KOs) and an MMA record of 14-10-1 (6 KOs). In his last pro boxing tango, in 2013, he weighed 426. Oh, 426.5 according to BoxRec.
He looked to elongate the 15 minute fame fest, with a reality TV series, with Bean pinning on a sheriff badge and working in Bama. But he started to be bothered by anxiety around strangers and wasn't unhappy when the show didn't continue.
So, these days…Does Esch watch boxing, will he check out the Andy Ruiz vs Anthony Joshua rematch? And what's his take on Ruiz, a fellow husky sized hitter?
“No, I don't watch much boxing anymore,” the 53 year old ex pugilist told me. “Just don't have time!”
His time is taken up, by among other things, making pens and razors. “I sell on my Facebook, ‘Butterbean Eric Esch.”'
I told him Ruiz was 268 for the first Joshua fight, in June. And that Andy weighed 283 Friday. Can Bean speak to Ruiz being a big dude, and gaining that much weight since June?
“I am a big guy and people said I couldn't do it…I did.” And, Butterbean added, “Muscle mass weighs more than fat.”
NOTED: Part of me is hoping that Ruiz again makes the oddsmakers wish they respected him more, and prove that in June and in December, his worth as a fighter isn't constrained by weight or physique. Also, if Joshua does better him, it is not unlikely that the knives will come out. More than is deserved, Buster Douglas still gets judged for not being the same athlete for Evander Holyfield that he was against Mike Tyson.