Did Mike Tyson ever fight Butterbean?

Eric 'Butterbean' Esch (left), Mike Tyson (right)
Eric 'Butterbean' Esch (left), Mike Tyson (right)

Mike Tyson and Eric 'Butterbean' Esch are two of the most feared fighters to have ever stepped foot in the boxing ring.

Both men were relentless knockout artists in the heavyweight division, who rose to superstardom in the early 1990s. Similarly, 5'10 Mike Tyson and 5'11 Butterbean were considered too short to be boxers in the heavyweight division. But what they lacked in height and length, they made up for in overwhelming power, speed, and agility.

With all the similarities they possess, Mike Tyson and Butterbean seemed destined to cross paths with one another in a blockbuster heavyweight showdown for the ages. But did Mike Tyson and Butterbean ever face each other during the course of their careers?

Mike Tyson is Butterbean's dream opponent

Triller Presents Mike Tyson vs Roy Jones Jr.
Triller Presents Mike Tyson vs Roy Jones Jr.

Unfortunately, fans never got to see the two juggernauts collide in the ring. But Butterbean has stated in the past that getting the opportunity to face Tyson would have been the biggest honor of his career. More than that, he also believes that he could've given 'Iron' Mike a run for his money:

"I was certainly no worse than most of the guys Tyson fought during that particular comeback, including Peter McNeeley, who I knocked out with no problem a couple years later. And my very good friend Buster Mathis Jr. - who had amazing Olympic-level boxing abilities - but small hands that prevented him from hitting hard enough to break an egg, showed that you could give Tyson trouble by rushing him and making him fight you on the inside. I probably could’ve crowded Tyson too, since he wasn’t any taller than I was, and one of us would’ve knocked the other out," he told

Butterbean declined a potential fight with Mike Tyson

Eric (Butterbean) Esch...
Eric (Butterbean) Esch...

There was a time when a Mike Tyson-Butterbean superfight could have happened. The only catch is... they would both have been far removed from their athletic primes.

In an interview with YouTube channel Fred Talks Fighting earlier this year, Butterbean revealed that he was offered the opportunity to face Mike Tyson in an exhibition boxing match. However, the brawler declined and former four-division world champion Roy Jones Jr. fought Tyson instead in November 2020.

Why did Butterbean pass on an opportunity to turn his dream fight into reality? According to him, the answer is simple:

"Im totally retired," he said. "There’s a lot of talk about me being in that fight with Tyson. [It] was all actually offered to me [in] an exhibition. But I know when it’s time, I know I’m old. I’ve got grandkids, I’ve got nine grandkids. I’m just enjoying my life right now.”

Had Butterbean agreed to fight Tyson in 2020, both of them would have been 54 years old. And while that fight could have garnered so much attention, and raked in millions of dollars for both men, it's probably best for a Tyson-Butterbean matchup to remain in fans' imaginations.

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Edited by John Cunningham