by David P. Greisman
It has been eight years since Clifford Etienne last fought, and it has been seven years since the former heavyweight fighter was found guilty of several serious criminal charges.
That case had ended with Etienne being sentenced to 160 years in prison. That punishment was lowered last week — but he could still end up spending the rest of his life behind bars.
Last week, a judge ordered that Etienne will instead spend 105 years in prison, according to Louisiana newspaper The Advocate.
He had been accused of robbing a check-cashing business at gunpoint in August 2005, getting nearly $2,000 in the process, and then attempting to shoot three people — two of whom were police officers — while trying to get away.
“But the gun malfunctioned,” the newspaper said. And so “Etienne took the car of the civilian he tried to shoot and drove off with two children still inside the car.”
He was convicted of two counts of armed robbery, two counts of attempted manslaughter, two counts of second-degree kidnapping, one count of attempted second-degree murder, one count of attempted carjacking and one count of illegal use of a weapon, according to the article.
Etienne had initially been sentenced to 105 years in prison, but then the judge tacked on another 55 years because this was his second felony conviction — in 1992 he had pleaded guilty to attempted armed robbery, the newspaper reported.
A procedural error meant that the additional 55 years had to be removed.
Etienne’s attorney told the newspaper that he will file a appeal regarding the remaining prison time.
Etienne is now 41 years old. His last fight was in May 2005, a knockout loss to Nicolay Valuev that came just three months before the incident that led to Etienne’s imprisonment.
He fought from 1998 to 2005, going 29-4-2 with 20 knockouts. His record also includes wins over then-undefeated big men Lamon Brewster and Lawrence Clay Bey, as well as losses to Fres Oquendo, Mike Tyson and Calvin Brock.
David P. Greisman is a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. Follow David on Twitter @fightingwords2 or send questions/comments via email at firstname.lastname@example.org