WILMINGTON, DE — Rev. Al Sharpton, Denzel Washington, Mike Tyson and Stevie Wonder were among those on hand earlier today to pay final respects at the funeral service for famed boxing promoter Butch Lewis in Wilmington, Delaware.
Lewis, who passed of a massive heart attack on July 23, was one of the most successful American boxing promoters from the mid 70s through late 80s. He received his start in boxing through his father, who was a partner in Cloverlay, Inc, the group that launched the professional career of Joe Frazier. Later, he would become the executive vice president of Bob Arum’s Top Rank after bringing in then heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali in 1976. As the business manager of the Spinks brothers, Leon and Michael, Lewis would help lead them to respective heavyweight title victories over Muhammad Ali and Larry Holmes.
The culmination of his boxing career was the $13 million he secured for Michael Spinks to face Mike Tyson for the undisputed heavyweight title in 1988. Spinks would lose the bout via a first round knockout.
Using his boxing success to parlay into music entertainment and philanthropy, Reverend Al Sharpton noted Lewis as a shining example of achievement for the African-American community.
“He was the one that connected black excellence,” Sharpton said.
The service was concluded by Stevie Wonder performing a 25-minute medley of his signature hits.