January 2nd, 2014 By Pedro Fernandez


James Butler

Should Butler Be On Death Row?

San Francisco, CA- In my tenure as a boxing journalist, some three + decades now, I have yet to see a man as horrid as the piece of s*it that is James Butler. It was Butler you might recall that after a November 2001, 9-11 charity bout in New York City, walked across the ring and sucker punched Richard Grant, who had just beaten him on points. This was probably the most egregious post fight attack I’ve ever seen.


Although there are certain parts of the story that remain unknown, Butler, known as the “Harlem Hammer,” used a hammer to beat Sam Kellerman, his friend and brother of boxing’s Max Kellerman to death in Sam’s Hollywood apartment. While rumors have swirled about what brought this on, Sam Kellerman’s body was found by firemen October 17, 2004.


Butler had a pro record of 20-5-0, with 12 wins by knockout, set Kellerman’s blood soaked apartment on fire and fled. Having been present at the scene of murders before, the heinous manner in which this killing was committed was one that could turn the stomach of any seasoned investigator. Butler got 30 years in California prison sans a trial for voluntary manslaughter and arson. Why murder charges were not filed in the case remains a mystery to me.


Not being the forgiving type, nor do I think you can rehabilitate a sociopath, I hope that Butler rots in prison before someone takes a hammer to the “Hammer!”

Pedro Fernandez


  1. The guy is nuts. He shouldn’t be allowed into society again.

    pirate on November 5th, 2009 at 8:16 AM
  2. Wow. I didn’t think you could find someone to top Panama Lewis for the Wall of Shame but… there you have it.

    Frances on November 5th, 2009 at 1:28 PM
  3. California does not have a functioning or working Death Penalty. Richard Ramirez, The Night Stalker; convicted and sentenced to death on 1989. David Carpenter, The Trailside Killer, Sentenced to death in 1982… Still alive, 79 years old now. Ramon Salcido, killer of seven including his own children… Riding the Green Mile since 1989 and will surely never be executed.

    I think the last person put down was Stanley “Tokieo” Williams (sentenced 1979) and they left him on death row for so long. The world had completely forgotten who he was and some blithering idiots even anointed him to Sainthood during the time period… The whole thing just doesn’t work. It is like the 65 MPH speed limit. It is only a law if you enforce it… And we don’t!

    Frankly Pedro, I don’t want James Butler on California’s alleged “Death Row”. His ass would cost me (and you) twice what it does now that he is in General Population and his chances of getting killed by someone in Gen-Pop are FAR greater than his chances of being put to death on California’s Death Row are.

    Jack Dunne on November 5th, 2009 at 7:32 PM
  4. I remember that fight with Grant, it was on friday night fights. That was when Atlas was screaming for them to put Butler in jail. Interesting point in why no murder charges were ever filed.

    Javier Ruiz on November 5th, 2009 at 9:05 PM
  5. Hey Bubba, want to do the hammer. It is a new dance, where you be gental and I don’t scream.. That is all this crap desirves. Hit him in the head and throwm him in the trash, no one will ever miss him………….

    gary brandenburg on November 6th, 2009 at 5:06 AM
  6. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BI3D7h5yxOs

    Pedro has said “It was probably the most egregious post fight attack I’ve ever seen”

    I’d take it a step further… It is probably the worst moment in sports that I have ever seen in my life.

    This contest took place on 11/23/01 in New York City at an event that was to both honor and raise funds for both the Police and Fire Departments of NYC. Following the recent tragedy both departments suffered on September 11th…

    There were hordes of both NYC Police and Firemen in attendence (whom were honored guests) when all of this went down.

    Butler -V- Grant was the headline event on that evening. Grant had previously beaten Butler on points in a prior fight.

    James Butler did what you see in this clip. Grant suffered a broken jaw as a result of this sucker punch. In front of his fiance or wife, whom was also pregnant at the time if I am not mistaken. And did it all on network television, right in front of the surviving Police and Fire department heros of the VERY recent 911 Attacks.

    Jack Dunne on November 6th, 2009 at 8:19 PM
  7. On top of that. Wasn’t kellerman helping him out by giving him a place to stay? I can’t see why he killed him. He must have had to say at sentencing no? What were rumours? There must be a reason murder charges weren’t filed. 30,years for voluntary manslaughter seems like a lot too, so why no murder charge? What’s the story? Hope he get’s killed in jail.

    Martin Sirois on January 2nd, 2014 at 2:32 PM
  8. Think hard about the rumors and you’ll get an idea. They should have killed him given the circumstances.

    Pedro Fernandez on January 2nd, 2014 at 5:38 PM
  9. Actually it was a 29 year sentence.

    Da UnKnown Comic on January 2nd, 2014 at 9:45 PM
  10. I can’t think hard about the rumors, I haven’t heard them!

    Martin Sirois on January 3rd, 2014 at 1:42 AM
  11. I remember both incidents very well. Horrible.

    tommyrenob on January 3rd, 2014 at 6:09 AM
  12. Pedro,
    I remember that fight, and the attack after the decision was announced. Sucker punch when Grant went to go pay respect for the fight. Death would be too kind for this guy. Hope he has a long and painful life, he’s earned it.


    SKERGE on January 3rd, 2014 at 2:21 PM
  13. @Martin Sirios – Grant WAS living in Sam Kellerman’s apartment and many speculated that Grant mudered him because Sam asked him to leave.

    tommyrenob on January 3rd, 2014 at 2:37 PM
  14. Knowing nothing about the victim I would guess that Sam Kellerman was most likely into some bad stuff with bad people. It’s very rare that hard drugs are not part of a horrific story such as this. I figure the less the public knows the better for the Kellerman name.

    Gabe on January 3rd, 2014 at 2:54 PM
  15. Hi Pedro,

    Murder charges were filed. I attended all the court hearings and was there the day James Butler’s guilty plea was entered into the system. The DA took murder off the table in lieu of Butler’s guilty plea. The Harlem Hammer can dish out lethal blows (to unsuspecting, unarmed men) but was petrified of a death sentence. He got 29 years. I hope he never gets out. He won’t get any better being in prison. He’s a pathetic excuse for a human being…

    Fiona Manning on May 14th, 2014 at 10:22 AM
  16. He is a perfect reason why there should be a death penalty, expeditiously enforced.
    Keep in mind in prison he has a dietitian, access to attorneys, libraries, exercise room, medical and dental care, all better than a large percentage of law abiding citizens. Something is wrong with the picture. I wonder how much trouble and damge he’s done in prison. He should be in a cell for life with OJ, without the possibility of leaving the cell. The cell should have hooks on the ceiling and strong nylon rope left in the cell.

    JJ on June 29th, 2014 at 11:43 AM
  17. To Max Kellerman, So sorry for your loss.

    JJ on June 29th, 2014 at 11:45 AM

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