Tom Bogert, CBS Local Sports
When Eric Kelly was a four-time amateur boxing champion and two-time New York City Golden Gloves champion, it seemed his pending professional success would be undeniable.
But after being kicked out of the US Olympic Education Center twice, things went array for Kelly. For the boxer it could’ve ended long before then, he told the JR Sport Brief podcast.
If not for his Dad putting him into boxing, Kelly doesn’t know if he’d still be here today. He might’ve gotten caught up in the Brooklyn streets that have pulled in so many promising boxers before him.
“My dad was like, yeah, I got to get this kid out of these streets,” said Kelly. “Imagine Brooklyn in the 80s? A lot of crazy s–t to get into. So my dad took me to the boxing gym, and good thing he did, because he saved my life.”
Kelly says that fighting and defending himself was an important part of growing up in New York as a kid from Florida.
“My dad got me into boxing because I’m a kid from Florida, so when I came up here I talked different, I dressed different,” said Kelly. “I live directly across the street from the park. So everything I do was different, I played different, my whole vibe was different. Everyday I had to keep somebody’s foot out my ass.”
An ass-whooping was around every corner in Kelly’s young life.
“It got to a point where every circle I turned, there was an ass-whooping,” said Kelly. “I get an ass-whooping in the park, I get an ass-whooping in school. I be bad in school, I get an ass-whooping by my Daddy. I leave school, go to the gym, I’m boxing, get an ass-whooping in the gym. So ass-whooping was around every corner.”
Between his budding boxing career and where he is now, Kelly hit tough times. He did anything he could to support his three kids during the recession.
“I went from being an Olympic-level boxer to working at K-Mart, Dollar General, whatever,” said Kelly. “I was doing whatever jobs I could do.”
Nowadays, Kelly is making videos for Vice. He’s no longer picking up minimum-wage jobs wherever he can find them.
“I like Vice because Vice allows me to be me,” said Kelly. “I’m not by the book. I’m a little unorthodox, I’m a little abstract. I’m a little bit more aggressive, I like comedy I like making people laugh.”
As a fan of repetitive disappointment and frustration, Tom holds Liverpool FC, the New York Knicks and New York Red Bulls near and dear to his heart with occasional joy coming from the New York Giants and New York Yankees.