Legendary Boxing Promoter Butch Lewis Dies

Best known for getting Michael Spinks a $13.5 million payday for 91 seconds with Mike Tyson, he was 65.

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The New York Times is reporting that legendary boxing promoter Butch Lewis passed away over the weekend. The flamboyant boxing promoter and manager best known for getting Michael Spinks a $13.5 million payday for what became 91 seconds in the ring with Mike Tyson died Saturday at his home in Bethany Beach, Del. 

His death was announced by Terrie Williams, a representative of his family, who said it was from natural causes.

A shrewd and tenacious figure with a gift for showmanship, Lewis went from the life of a street hustler and used-car salesman in Philadelphia to the pinnacle of dealmaking in the boxing world of the late 1970s and the 1980s. He made his reputation mostly for representing Leon Spinks and his brother, Michael, who had both won gold medals at the 1976 Olympics.

Lewis grew up hustling and eventually working for his father's car dealership. Lewis' father had been one of the original stockholders in a syndicate that backed Joe Frazier, and Butch soon began traveling with Frazier.

Lewis met Muhammad Ali through Frazier and became a co-promoter of Ali's heavyweight championship fight with Richard Dunn in Munich in 1976. That resulted in Lewis' going to work for the promoter Bob Arum, who made him a vice president of his firm, Top Rank. Lewis signed Leon and Michael Spinks while with Arum.

Lewis guided Leon Spinks to his victory over Ali for the heavyweight title in 1978 and left Arum that year to promote on his own. He later formed Butch Lewis Productions and branched out into entertainment. In June 2010, IMG Worldwide joined with Lewis' firm in a management company primarily representing minority entertainers and celebrities.

Lewis is survived by his sons, Ronald Lewis, Brandon Lewis and Kevin Mosley; his daughter, Sita Lewis; his brother, John; his sisters, Gail Brison and Sheree Lewis; six grandchildren; and one great-grandchild. He was 65.

Read more at the New York Times.

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