To the delight of spectators, it was business as usual early on. Butterbean repeatedly taunted his foe, sticking out his chin, dropping his guard and tempting Lawton to take a chance.
And when Lawton engaged, Butterbean returned fire with a volley of shots.
But after Round 2, Butterbean, much to the chagrin of the audience, refused to come out for the third stanza, citing a shoulder injury.
It was only the second time in 91 professional boxing matches Butterbean was the victim of a stoppage.
After the crowd voiced its displeasure over the 46 year old Esch's decision, Butterbean promised a rematch with Lawton at a later date.
Butterbean worked hard to promote the bout and generated a fair amount of interest (given the level of his opponent) in the US and Australia - But having lost three in a row and retiring on the stole (albeit due to an injury) against a fella who was 1-1, is Butterbean still marketable enough to generate interest?
Scales Punished at Weigh-In?
According to Newcastle Herald, Butterbean broke the scale at the weigh-in on Friday.
Allegedly, when he stepped on it flashed "E" for error.
The 5'11" (182 cm) Butterbean had weighed at 425 lbs (193 kilograms) at his pre-fight physical in Sydney last week. His opponent, Lawton, who had weighed 250 lbs (113 kg) on Thursday, tipped the scales at 271 lbs (123 kg) at the weigh-in.
The apparent glitch for Lawton's weight was due to the "broken scale."
The Butterbean Mystique
Known as the "King of the 4 Rounders", the jovial, good-natured Butterbean developed a cult following after he burst onto the Toughman Contest scene in Texarkana, AR before entering the world of professional boxing in 1994. He was a five time World Toughman Heavyweight Champion with a record of 56-5 with 36 knockouts (not counted towards pro career).
It's believed Esch got his nickname when he had to go on a diet (consisting mostly of chicken and butterbeans) to meet the Toughman 400-pound weight limit.
While a majority of his professional boxing opponents were either novices or technically limited club-level fighters, he knocked out previous Mike Tyson opponent Peter McNeeley in the first round in 1999.
And three years later, he faced 53 year old former heavyweight champion and fight legend Larry Holmes. Unable to deal with the aging legend's superior skills, speed and technique, Butterbean was easily outpointed despite being credited with a controversial knockdown in the final round.
The Holmes fight is one of only three bouts in his long career that was scheduled for more than four rounds.
During his prime, Esch, although limited in skill and conditioning, possessed formidable power but never reached contender status. Nevertheless, he was, in fact, ranked as high as No. 40 in the division by a major publication for a short time.
Butterbean's previous fighting experiences led him to venture into mixed martial arts. Although Esch was sometimes ridiculed for beating low-tier boxers, he performed moderately well against legitimate MMA opposition, earning a record of 14-8-1.
Will we ever see Butterbean in the ring again?