Ronald “Butch” Lewis, known in the fight industry for tenaciously landing his light heavyweight champion Michael Spinks a massive $13.5 million purse for what turned out to be a brutal, one round KO at the hands of Iron Mike Tyson, apprently suffered a massive heart attack. Lewis, age 65 and more active in recent years in the music and TV fields than in boxing, was in or around his stately home in Delaware when he went into cardiac arrest.
Other close friends of Lewis were actor Denzel Wasdhington and former Black Entertainment Television Network owner turned NBA Charlotte franchise owner Bob Johnson. The celebrity trio often sat at ringside at major fights together and I think they may have had “ringside seats” together at President Barack Obama’s Inauguration.
Later on in his illustrious life, soul signer supreme, Soul Brother Number One, Mr. James Brown did a jail stint for drug use. When he got out of jail, he had a comeback concert at an historic theater in the Hollywood area and the promoter of the event was none other than Butch Lewis.
Lewis’ sartorial trademark was his “Chocolate Tuxedo” look which only mean he wore a tuxedo without a shirt underneath it. Lewis even had one of his sons at ringside for a big fight dressed the same way.
Lewis grew up in Philadelphia, was always fascinated by boxing and became a close friend and associate of first Smokin’ Joe Frazier and then Muhammad Ali.
In the boxing industry, Lewis oversaw the development of Leon Spinks when Lewis was a VP to Bob Arum’s Top Rank company, including that incredible night in Las Vegas when Leon, with only eight pro bouts, took a unanimous decision over “The Greatest” in Las Vegas.