Smith was born in Magnolia North Carolina. He attended James Sprunt Community College, Kenansville, North Carolina after he graduated from high school. After graduating from high school, he attended James Sprunt Community College in Kenansville, North Carolina.  He then earned an associate’s in Business Administration. 
Career in the professional sector
He lost his first fight against James “Broad Axe” Broad. Broad was a world-class amateur and qualifier for 1980 Olympics. Broad was 2-0 as a professional. ESPN broadcast the fight. Smith was not available and was not in top form. Broad, however, looked great. Smith was dropped after 4 rounds of body shots and was counted out.
Smith defeated Ricky Parkey (then 2-0) in a six-round points decision. Smith scored two knockouts and then followed the Parkey victory with another upset. A 8-round points victory over Chris McDonald who was 8-1-1 as a professional and had been a top-amateur. After scoring nine consecutive knockouts, he traveled to the UK in 1984. He was there to face Frank Bruno (21-0, 21 KO), in a world title eliminator. Bonecrusher would once again throw a wrench in the works. After being outboxed nine times by Bruno, Bonecrusher unleashed a volley of power punches in the tenth round to defeat Bruno.
He fought Larry Holmes in November 1984 for the IBF heavyweight title. Holmes’ record was 45-0, and he had won 18 straight world titles fights. Smith, who had been rocking Holmes, was stopped by the doctor in round 12. This was due to a bad haircut. Smith was again behind in points.
Smith returned to the ring in 1985 on Don King’s undercards. In an eliminator, he lost a 10-round fight to Tony Tubbs, a 19-0 amateur star who is the future world champ. He then won a 10-round victory over Jose Ribalta (18-1 Cuban) and lost a 12-round decision against Tim Witherspoon (12 rounds). Witherspoon was attempting to win Witherspoon’s NABF title.
1986 began with him dropping Marvis Frazier. Frazier also broke Frazier’s jaw but he still lost the 10-round decision. Bonecrusher started seeing a psychiatrist at this point. He defeated Mike Weaver, ex-world champion, in his next bout. He then won two more 10-round victories over Jesse Ferguson (14-2 & 15-2), his most significant decision wins.
While Smith was preparing to fight Mitch “Blood”, Green in December 1986, Don King gave him notice that Tony Tubbs had withdrawn from his WBA challenge to Tim Witherspoon. Smith would now be facing his former conqueror for his second world title fight. Smith was quick to get out of the way. Smith came out fast.
Smith won unexpectedly over Witherspoon and was now in the heavyweight unification series. This ongoing competition is being held by HBO and King to find a world heavyweight champion. Smith won a high-profile bout, where he was to defend the belt against Mike Tyson, newly crowned WBC champion. The fight took place on March 7, 1987. Tyson defeated Smith in almost every round, while Smith had to hold to keep his hand in the fight. Smith lost eleven rounds on the scorecards, while Smith lost all twelve. The professional consequences were even worse when Tyson’s management refused Smith permission to fight on Tyson undercards.
For a few months, he returned to the ring. He faced Adilson “Maguila”, a Brazilian contender, in Sao Paulo. Although he gave a great fight, he wasn’t good enough that night. He was defeated by a split decision.
He took on Donovan Ruddock, a young power-punching Jamaican/Canadian-Canadian, in 1989 at 36. Smith’s punch power was evident when he dominated Ruddock in the second round. However, he seemed to be trying to finish Ruddock who was a skilled survivor. Smith began to tire in the next rounds, when Ruddock’s power and youth overwhelmed him. Ruddock knocked Smith out in round 7 for the full 10, Ruddock would become a celebrity and appear in many high-profile fights. Smith’s career seemed to be over. After the loss, Smith announced his retirement and stated that he would pursue politics.
Smith returned to the ring two months later, KOing Calvin Jones. He then followed that up with three more knockouts. Finally, Smith was matched up with Mike Weaver in a tough match of ex-champs. Smith had to accept a 12 round points win over Weaver. However, he did manage to score a knockdown for a brief moment. He was also awarded the WBA Americas belt and a ranking in the world.
After a year of layoff, he returned to the ring, now 38 years old, and scored six knockouts. These included an 8-round knockout against the cement-skulled Everett Martin (who had just beaten George Foreman the distance) and a first round knockout against Jeff Sims, who was equally hard-hitting ex-contender.
He lost his world ranking, all his momentum and his momentum to November 1991 when he lost a shocking 10-round decision against club fighter Levi Billups. Billups had a poor 15-5 record. Smith appeared unprepared after being beaten up and outhustled repeatedly by Billups. Smith rallied to defeat the underdog in 9th but it was too late.
Smith, who was 39 years old and had a 33-9-1 record, regained some credibility by winning a 10-round fight against Mark Wills. Don King, Smith’s old agitator, gave him another chance on one of his undercards. He matched him up with Greg Page in a battle between two ex-champs. Bonecrusher attempted to rush Page in the first round, as he did with Witherspoon. However, he was outpunched over the 10-round distance by Page.
Smith was defeated by Michael Moorer, a undefeated Southpaw and #1 contender in 1993. Smith was defeated by Michael Moorer, a southpaw who had been undefeated. The paying crowd cheered them on until the final 10 rounds.
Smith participated in the One-Night Heavyweight Tournament at Bay St Louis. This tournament, which was not included in the official records, counts as show, saw a group heavyweights from different quality fight in a series 3 round fights. The winner would be awarded one million dollars. After beating Marshall Tillman and Lester Jackson, Smith lost in the semi-finals to Daniel Dancuta, a Romanian prospect. Smith was defeated by Tony Tubbs, his old friend from TNT.
He was matched against Tyson-like Tyson in 1994. Butler was high ranked and had a string of knockouts. Smith gave up after three rounds of resistance.
He traveled to Europe later that year to drop a points victory to German Axel Schulz. In Denmark, however, he was stopped in five rounds by Brian Nielsen after he suffered a cut from his headbutt. Smith was overweight for both fights and his days as an opponent were over.
For a few more decades, he continued to fight. He fought Joe Bugner in 1998 for the WBF Heavyweight Championship. However, he was forced to withdraw after just one round because of a bulging shoulder. In 1999, he lost the same injury that ended his fight with Larry Holmes, a former world champion. Smith was 46 years old when he lost to Larry Holmes. He had a record of 44-17-1 with 32 KOs.
Smith was instrumental in the establishment of the North Carolina Boxing Commission in 1995. Smith was the first chairman.