Courtney Butler, who recently started working for Amtrak's maintenance crew in Washington, is definitely on the fast track in his second career as a professional boxer.
Butler, 28, a light heavyweight who trains at Champs Gym on McKean Avenue, has crammed 12 bouts into his 18 months as a pro, compiling a 10-1-1 record and stamping himself as one of the area's top ring prospects.
Tonight at Martin's West, he will take a significant risk in terms of competition when he battles Lenzie Morgan (12-13-2) of Youngstown, Ohio. Morgan has fought a who's who of super middleweights and light heavyweights, including current world champions Nigel Benn and Henry Maske. He also has gone the distance with Tim Littles and Merqui Sosa.
"I realize he's got a lot more experience and gone the distance with strong guys like Benn and Sosa," said Butler. "But fighting tough guys brings out the best in me. If I can beat Morgan, it takes me to another level, and I'm not stopping until I win a title."
Butler is clearly a man in a hurry. He talks fast and fights faster, throwing punches in nonstop fashion from the opening bell, a tendency that has put him in jeopardy in the closing rounds when the fanatical pace takes its toll.
"He's still making some amateur mistakes," said his trainer, Alvin Anderson. "No one bothered to teach him the fundamentals. He has to learn that he can't blow everybody away, especially when he steps up in class."
Butler suffered his only loss last September in Greenbelt in a six-rounder with left-handed Richard Frazier.
"I didn't know he was a southpaw until the fight started," he said. "For a few rounds, I was throwing punches off the wrong foot. But that fight made me realize I can be beat. I won't take anyone lightly anymore."
Who: Courtney Butler (10-1-1), Baltimore, vs. Lenzie Morgan (12-13-2), Youngstown, Ohio, light heavyweights, 8 rounds.
Co-feature: Sam Hampton (6-2-2), Virginia Beach, vs. Warren "Chico" Thompson (7- 9), heavyweights, 8 rounds
Where: Martin's West, Woodlawn
When: Tonight, first preliminary bout, 8
Tickets: $20, $25, $35