The email arrived in our inbox on August 7th.
“I' m looking to fight. I'm 215 pounds, with a 10-37 record. My phone number is 224-330-7593. I haven't fought in a year and a half.”
The email was from a man named Eric French, so I decided to call him.
A 42-year old Illinois resident, Mr. French answered the call, and was grateful that TSS contacted him.
“I haven't fought in almost two years,” he said, “and I know my record is atrocious, but I want to fight.”
Boxrec lists Eric's record at 10-35-3, and says he's been knocked out eight times since turning professional in 1991.
The question begs: with all due respect, Eric, why?
Why do you want to fight?
You said it yourself, your record isn't stellar. You've lost your last 15 fights in a row…
“It's in my blood,” he said, “and I'm not looking for a championship fight, I just want to supplement my income. I just love boxing.”
Eric, currently a single man, says he just finished real estate school and will be taking the Illinois real estate licensing exam. He teaches boxing at Warehouse Boxing, works as a waiter and teaches Hispanic kids to read and write. He also has the acting bug, and has gone on commercial auditions and appeared in stage plays.
“I want to fight, and after that, have six or seven thousand in my pocket,” he said. “I'm not looking to get my brains beat out.”
Should we be worried about your health, I asked him.
“No, not really,” he said. “I have all my medicals updated, I passed them all. And you can hear me, I hope anyway I don't sound punch drunk.”
Eric said he'd even fight for free on a club show, if he was matched with someone of similar caliber and could get a win.
Some of his losses, he told me, should've been wins. For example, he cited his 1997 outing against Ed Krasnici. The Illinois State heavyweight tile was on the line, and French lost a split decision. Bad judgment, French said.
The biggest name on his resume is Shannon Briggs.
“I fought Briggs. Or, he fought me, I should say,” French said, with a chuckle.
Briggs scored a TKO2 win in Miami two months before the Krasnici fight. French recalls that Briggs almost hurt him badly, from jabs alone, so now, he's not looking to get in with someone over 220 pounds.
The hurting from Briggs surprised him, he said, because he maintains the two chatted before the fight. Briggs, he said, promised he wouldn't hurt him. But the jabs alone were of a higher level than French was used to.
French takes care to state that no dive was arranged.
“There was no dive talk,” he said.
If nothing comes of this, French won't be demoralized.
“Do I need boxing? Not really. I look at living my life in the long term. I wouldn't be depressed. I got something else to do.”