R.IP. Vernon Forrest (Jan. 12, 1971 – July 25th, 2009)

R.IP. Vernon Forrest – Former two weight division World Champion Vernon Forrest was born on January 12th, 1971 in Augusta, Georgia and died on July 25th, 2009 in Atlanta, a homicide victim at age thirty-eight.

After an extensive amateur boxing career, Forrest turned professional on November 25th, 1992, when he knocked out veteran Charles Hawkins in the first round.

Forrest boxed frequently, capturing several regional titles at welterweight to bolster his growing resume. In August of 2000, his match with Raul Frank for the vacant IBF World welterweight title was ruled “no contest” due to a clash of heads, but Forrest came back in May of 2001 to defeat Frank and take the vacant title. But it would be a pair of matches with Shane Mosley in 2002 that Forrest will be best remembered for.

On January 26th, 2002 the two men met at the Madison Square Garden Theater. Mosley was undefeated at (38-0) and making the fourth defense of his WBC World welterweight title. Forrest was perfect (33-0) himself, and he came out strong, dropping Mosley twice in the second round and outpointing Mosley over the twelve rounds (115-110,117-108,118-108). The re-match drew more than 15,000 people to Indianapolis, Indiana’s Conseco Fieldhouse. As the champion, Forrest’s purse was reportedly $3.3 million or thereabouts, while Mosley took home a reported $2.8 million. Once again Forrest prevailed, edging Mosley on the scorecards as the two battled one another for twelve rounds. The pair of fights would leave Forrest with many “Fighter of the Year” awards for 2002.

In 2003, brawling Nicaraguan Ricardo Mayorga would do to Forrest what Forrest had done to Mosley, and that is take his “O” away, beating him twice in a row and leaving him title-less. In the first fight, Forrest hit the canvas in the opening round and again in the third, when the fight was waved off. In the second meeting, Mayorga would win a decision to mark the end of Forrest’s time as world welterweight champion.

Forrest would take all of 2004 off, but he returned to the ring in 2005 and put together a winning steak that led to another opportunity to fight for the title. On December 1st, 2007 Forrest won a unanimous decision over Carlos Baldomir to win the vacant WBC World 154-pound title, adding a world title in a second weight class to his resume.

Forrest would fight twice in 2008, both times with Sergio Mora. In their first meeting in June, Mora knocked Mosley off his throne, winning a majority decision. In the rematch on September 13th, Forrest defeated Mora by unanimous decision to win back the title to become a two-time light middleweight champion. That would be the last time Vernon Forrest boxed.

The long history of boxing is interwoven with tragedies and the modern era is no exception. On July 25th, 2009 Vernon Forrest was shot and killed during a robbery while he was at a gas station. Three men have been convicted for the murder with the trigger man getting life in prison.

Vernon Forrest’s career record in boxing stands at 41 wins, 3 losses. Gone but not forgotten, Vernon Forrest.

R.IP. Vernon Forrest