From Palookaville to the Pinnacle: A Closer Look at Elite Trainer ‘Bomac’


By Arne K. Lang

On Nov. 20, 2011, barnstorming boxer Eric “Butterbean” Esch appeared in Council Bluffs, Iowa. A cult fighter who had earned his spurs on the Toughman circuit and was a familiar face to fans of boxing and professional wrestling, “The Bean” carried 375 pounds on his 5-foot-11 frame.

In the opposite corner, out-weighed by more than 100 pounds, was an Omaha man, Brian McIntyre. A story in a Council Bluffs paper identified him as a father of three who worked as the food services director at a Salvation Army-styled Mission and was a coach at Omaha’s C.W. Boxing Club.

Omaha sits directly across the Missouri River from Council Bluffs, a five-minute drive, but on this particular night, the house fighter was Butterbean, a character from the Deep South who entered the ring to the strains of Lynyard Skynyard’s “Sweet Home Alabama.” And, as expected, Butterbean, with a documented record of 70-3-4, won the 4-rounder although he was pushed to the limit by McIntyre who stayed the course after falling through the ropes and toppling over a ringside table at the end of the second round.


McIntyre over-achieved, but one can’t say that about his professional boxing career in total. Per boxrec, the fighter called “Bomac” by everyone in his circle finished 7-14-2 and was stopped nine times.

It shouldn’t surprise us that a boxer of low repute, an opponent in boxing lingo, would go on to become a prominent trainer. Although there are notable exceptions, the best coaches in all sports tend to come from the ranks of those that did not achieve great distinction as athletes.

To say that McIntyre has become a prominent personality in his sport, however, doesn’t quite do him justice. Although the year is only two-thirds complete, Brian McIntyre is a virtual shoo-in to be named the 2023 Trainer of the Year.

In the recent mega-fight between Terence “Bud” Crawford and Errol Spence Jr, some folks gave the edge to Spence because his trainer Derrick James had a higher profile. James is outstanding, of that there is no question, but Crawford’s masterclass was a great feather in the cap of Bomac, his longtime homie. And then, for good measure, McIntyre guided Chris Eubank Jr, the underdog in the betting, to a lopsided win in his rematch with Liam Smith this past Saturday in Manchester, England. This was their first collaboration and Eubank Jr had a well-earned reputation of being someone who was difficult to coach.


As trainers go, Bomac is a throwback. From his girth, it’s obvious that he doesn’t tag along on foot when Bud Crawford does his roadwork, but other than that he is fully immersed in all aspects of Crawford’s career. In addition to his role as a trainer, he is also Crawford’s co-manager and his personal chef, cooking all of the boxer’s food from scratch when Crawford is sequestered at the Colorado Springs annex of his training camp.

He is also a CEO of sorts as Crawford has a team around him. And seemingly everyone on Team Crawford learned the ropes at the C.W. Boxing Club, a humble pillar in hardscrabble North Omaha. The founder, Carl Washington (hence the initials C.W.) has been the glue of boxing in Omaha for four decades and is credited with being a father figure to dozens of at-risk boys who learned the importance of discipline under his mentorship and went on to become solid citizens.

Terence “Bud” Crawford is the first member of his family to make headway as a pro boxer, but he comes from a fighting family. His grandfather, his father, and his uncle all trained at Washington’s gym. Bud was about seven years old when he first started practicing there and he didn’t have to walk very far. The Crawfords and the Washingtons were neighbors. (Although most of the kids that came through the doors were inner city kids, two of the most notable alumni, Dicky Ryan and Grover Wiley, were white boys. Ryan, a heavyweight, went over to Denmark in 1999 and upset 49-0 Brian Nielsen. Wiley was the last man to defeat the great Julio Cesar Chavez. Bomac worked the corner of Wiley when he defeated Chavez in 2005 in Phoenix and again in 2007 when Wiley was stopped in the third round by Julio’s son of the same name at Madison Square Garden.)

In common with most boxing gyms, the walls of the C.W. gym are covered with boxing posters and other memorabilia. One complete wall is now devoted to Terence “Bud” Crawford. But Crawford is seldom seen there anymore. He has his own gym, the B&B (Bud and Bomac) Sports Academy which expands the vision of Carl Washington as a place of refuge for neighborhood boys and girls where academic tutoring is available and even a hot meal for those whose refrigerator at home is empty. The director there is Crawford’s stablemate Steven Nelson, an active boxer with a 19-0 record as a super middleweight.

Several weeks ago, the city of Omaha held a Victory Parade for their native son, the first boxer in the four-belt era to be an undisputed champion in two weight classes. Someday city fathers may commission a statue of him as previous administrations did for Omaha’s two other sports legends, the great baseball pitcher Bob Gibson and the great football running back Gale Sayers. The challenge for the sculptor is to find room on the pedestal for Bomac.

Editor’s Note: Moments after this story was loaded into our system, Bomac’s good name was sullied with the news that he had been arrested at the Manchester Airport on Sunday, Sept. 3, as he was preparing to board his return flight when a handgun was discovered in his luggage. This is a developing story that we will keep abreast of.
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