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‘Big Zo’ is top 50 in world


Dear Chuck:

I saw your interview with Knoxville boxer Alonzo Butler on TV the other day and thought he was a very interesting young man.

With so many problems in that sport, do you really think he has a legitimate chance to make it to the top and become a world champion? Also, do you have any information about his next bout?

Greg Davis

Knoxville


"Big Zo" made his national television debut on ESPN2 in mid-February and he is poised to make some more broadcast news locally.

You can expect an announcement that Butler will be featured in a nationally-televised bout — most likely in Knoxville — on April 19. Veteran boxing trainer Ace Miller told John Pennington on the Hall's Salvage Sports Show on WATE that the chance to have a nationally-televised bout in Knoxville fell through earlier this year because of conflicts with getting a suitable arena. The call-in show is on every Sunday from 11 a.m. until noon.

Butler boxes and trains at Golden Gloves Arena in Chilhowee Park (the gym is available to anyone who wants to workout or learn more about self-defense). The arena could accommodate about 1,500 fans, but Miller realizes the minimum seating capacity needs to be at least 3,000 or 4,000 for a nationally-televised bout. The strongest possibility would be the Civic Coliseum.

The 6-foot-3, 253-pound Butler certainly ranks among the most promising heavyweights in the country. He is 21-0-1 with 16 knockouts, including a third-round KO of Terry Porter in Memphis last week. Butler is just 26-years-old and his career has been a work in progress. He did not box as an amateur in Chattanooga., but was an outstanding defensive end and wrestler in high school. He is athletic enough to stand flat-footed under a 10-foot basketball goal and dunk the ball.

It clearly is time for Butler to test his boxing skills against tougher competition. His most quality win was a six-round decision over former world champion Otis Tisdale last year.

"I don't think even Big Zo realizes how good he can be," said fellow heavyweight and frequent sparring partner Terry Bullman. "He is incredibly strong, but he's also extremely quick for [a] person that big. I went ten rounds with him the other day and when he throws a punch, you can still feel it the next day."

It remains to be seen whether Butler will match the late John Tate of Knoxville and become a world champion. Butler's footwork and conditioning will need to improve as the bouts increase from six rounds to eight and 10. He also needs to throw more combinations and not rely as much on a single knockout punch. The odds are certainly against him, but he's already proven a lot of people wrong by being on the verge of being ranked in the Top 50 in the world.

I can vouch for this much: Big Zo is a great person. He's got some really flashy dance moves, too, and it's sort of like a mixture of James Brown and Elvis.

There also might be a little bit of an identity crisis. The ring announcer in Memphis said he was Alonzo "Big A" Butler. For a while, he signed autographs "Big Zoe." I kind of like Alonzo "The A Train" Butler.

If you have a suggestion, pass it along and I will make sure that Butler knows about it. After all, he could become one of the more visible and effective role models this community has had in a long, long time.



Award-winning columnist Chuck Cavalaris writes twice-monthly for farragutpress and also hosts a sports-talk show Saturdays from 3 to 5 p.m. on ESPN 1180. He can be reached at www.knoxmove.com or 865-769-9295.

 

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