Vernon Forrest

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Vernon Forrest
Nickname(s) The Viper
Rated at Welterweight
Light middleweight
Height 6 ft 1 in (185 cm)
Reach 73 in (185 cm)
Nationality American
Born (1971-01-12)January 12, 1971
Augusta, Georgia, U.S.
Died July 25, 2009(2009-07-25) (aged 38)
Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.
Stance Orthodox
Boxing record
Total fights 45
Wins 41
Wins by KO 29
Losses 3
No contests 1

Vernon Forrest (January 12, 1971 – July 25, 2009), nicknamed "The Viper",[1] was an American professional boxer who held world titles at welterweight and light middleweight. In his career, he achieved three victories over Shane Mosley (once as an amateur and twice as a professional) and was upset twice by Ricardo Mayorga.

In 2009, Forrest was murdered after he was robbed at a gas station in the Mechanicsville neighborhood of Atlanta, Georgia.

Early years and amateur career[edit]

A native of Augusta, Georgia, Forrest began boxing at the age of 9. After compiling an impressive 225-16 record as an amateur, he became the 1992 US junior welterweight champion, and won silver at the 1991 World Amateur Boxing Championships, losing in the finals to Kostya Tszyu.[2] Forrest was the first in his family to graduate from high school receiving his diploma from Marquette Senior High School in Marquette, Michigan. Staying in Marquette, Forrest was on scholarship to Northern Michigan University where he majored in business administration through the U.S. Olympic Education Center. Forrest continued to train with the US National Team under head coach Al Mitchell.[2]

He was a member of the 1992 US Olympic Team during the Summer Olympics in Barcelona, Spain.[2] He earned his Olympic position by beating Shane Mosley in the trials. After that fight, Forrest was the gold medal favorite heading in to the tournament. He would have to fight Cuban fighter Hector Vinent, a gold medallist, before reaching that goal. However, he was stricken with food poisoning a day before his first round bout and was beaten by Peter Richardson, who he'd previously defeated in a fight at the 1991 World Amateur Boxing Championships en route to winning the silver medal. He returned home to Augusta, then moved to Las Vegas, and made his professional debut on November 25, 1992.

Professional career[edit]

In his professional debut in November 1992, Forrest defeated Charles Hawkins. Through 1996, Forrest stopped 13 out of 15 opponents. Five were stopped in the first round.

As the years went by Forrest won a few minor title belts. In the year 2000 Forrest finally got his chance to fight for a major title belt against Raul Frank (for the IBF welterweight title). Unfortunately for Forrest however, a cut caused by an accidental head butt ended the bout in round three and the fight was ruled a no contest.

IBF champion[edit]

Forrest met Frank again in a rematch at Madison Square Garden on May 15, 2001, on a Félix Trinidad undercard. Forrest dominated his opponent and won the fight by a unanimous decision to claim his first major professional boxing title.

Forrest vs Mosley I & II[edit]

In 2001, Forrest fought the WBC welterweight champion, Shane Mosley. Many considered Mosley to be the best fighter in the world, and he was the betting favorite to win the fight. Despite being the favorite, Mosley was dominated in this bout. Both fighters initially started strong, landing hard blows, but in the second round Forrest had Mosley hurt early and knocked him down for the first time in his career. A series of strong punches would put him down yet again later in the round. With his dominant performance, Forrest was awarded the Ring Magazine welterweight championship, effectively making him the new lineal champion.

Six months later, Forrest once again squared off against Mosley in a rematch. Despite a stronger performance from Mosley, Forrest won a clear cut decision, using his jab more effectively and through superior ring generalship. Forrest was now considered by many to be one of the top fighters in the world.

Setbacks against Mayorga[edit]

In January 2003, Forrest fought the WBA welterweight champion, Ricardo Mayorga. Mayorga was a mostly unknown fringe contender from Nicaragua and few gave him a chance to win against the significantly bigger and stronger Forrest. Mayorga shocked the world when he easily dominated Forrest, dropping him once in the first round and again in the third round. The referee would call off the fight after the second knockdown, as Forrest was visibly dazed and unable to get his footing.

Forrest would rematch Mayorga six months later, losing again, this time by a majority decision. The bout was close and competitive, with Mayorga mostly chasing Forrest around the ring while Forrest was content to fight from the outside.

On the comeback trail[edit]

Forrest took two years off from fighting because of injuries; Forrest had complete reconstructive surgery on his left arm. He had three surgeries two on his shoulder to repair a torn rotator cuff and one on his left elbow to repair torn cartilage and nerve damages.

In his first fight since losing twice to Mayorga, Forrest knocked out Sergio Rios in two rounds. After the fight against Rios, Forrest stopped Elco Garcia in the tenth round.

Forrest won a controversial ten round unanimous decision over Ike Quartey on August 5, 2006, at Madison Square Theatre, New York City. The judges at ringside scored the fight, 95-94, 95-94, and 96-93.[3]

On July 28, 2007, Forrest won a unanimous decision against Carlos Baldomir in Tacoma, Washington, frequently firing off heavy right blows at Baldomir. After twelve rounds, Forrest won a lopsided 118-109, 116-111, 118-109 decision to take the vacant WBC light middleweight title.

On December 1, 2007, at Foxwoods Resort Casino, he successfully defended his light middleweight title against Italian Michele Piccirillo, scoring an eleventh round TKO.

Losing the title[edit]

On June 7, 2008, Forrest lost his title to The Contender winner Sergio Mora via a 12 round majority decision. In the build-up to the fight, Forrest referred to Mora as "the pretender" and threatened to send him "out on a stretcher".[4] However, Mora succeeded in pulling off the upset victory.[5] The final scores were 114-114, 115-113 and 116-112 in favor of Mora.[6][7]

Reclaiming the title[edit]

Forrest reclaimed his WBC 154-pound title on September 14, 2008, against Sergio Mora via unanimous decision, the judges scores were 118-109, 117-110, and 119-110.[8]

Professional boxing record[edit]

41 Wins (29 knockouts, 12 decisions), 3 Losses, 0 Draws, 1 No Contest
Res. Record Opponent Type Rd., Time Date Location Notes
Win 41-3 United StatesSergio Mora UD 12 2008-09-13 United StatesMGM Grand, Las Vegas, Nevada, United States Won WBC light middleweight title.
Loss 40-3 United StatesSergio Mora MD 12 2008-06-07 United StatesMohegan Sun Casino, Uncasville, Connecticut, United States Lost WBC light middleweight title.
Win 40-2 ItalyMichele Piccirillo TKO 11 (12), 2:21 2007-12-01 United StatesFoxwoods Resort, Mashantucket, Connecticut, United States Retained WBC light middleweight title.
Win 39-2 ArgentinaCarlos Baldomir UD 12 2007-07-28 United States Emerald Queen Casino, Tacoma, Washington, United States Won vacant WBC light middleweight title.
Win 38-2 GhanaIke Quartey UD 10 2006-08-05 United States Madison Square Garden, New York, New York, United States
Win 37-2 MexicoElco Garcia TKO 10 (10), 1:58 2005-10-21 United StatesPechanga Resort & Casino, Temecula, California, United States
Win 36-2 MexicoSergio Rios TKO 2 (10), 2:43 2005-07-16 United StatesMGM Grand, Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
Loss 35-2 NicaraguaRicardo Mayorga MD 12 2003-07-12 United StatesOrleans Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada, United States For WBC, WBA (Super), & The Ring welterweight titles.
Loss 35-1 NicaraguaRicardo Mayorga TKO 3 (12), 2:06 2003-01-25 United StatesPechanga Entertainment Center, Temecula, California, United States Lost WBC & The Ring welterweight titles. For WBA (Super) welterweight title.
Win 35-0 United StatesShane Mosley UD 12 2002-07-20 United StatesConseco Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, Indiana, United States Retained WBC & The Ring welterweight titles.
Win 34-0 United StatesShane Mosley UD 12 2002-01-26 United StatesMSG Theater, New York, New York, United States Won WBC & vacant The Ring welterweight titles.
Win 33-0 MexicoEdgar Ruiz KO 4 (10), 2:03 2001-08-24 United StatesMountaineer Casino Racetrack and Resort, Chester, West Virginia, United States
Win 32-0 GuyanaRaul Frank UD 12 2001-05-12 United StatesMadison Square Garden, New York, New York, United States Won vacant IBF welterweight title.
NC - GuyanaRaul Frank NC 3 (12), 1:45 2000-08-26 United StatesMandalay Bay Resort & Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada, United States For vacant IBF welterweight title.
Win 31-0 United StatesVince Phillips UD 12 2000-01-22 United StatesHard Rock Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada, United States Retained NABF welterweight title.
Win 30-0 PanamaSantiago Samaniego TKO 7 (12), 1:21 1999-08-27 United StatesBell Auditorium, Augusta, Georgia, United States Retained NABF welterweight title.
Win 29-0 United StatesEd Goins KO 4 (10), 2:57 1999-06-19 United StatesMadison Square Garden, New York, New York, United States
Win 28-0 United StatesSteve Martinez TKO 1 (12), 1:26 1999-04-16 United StatesGrand Casino, Tunica, Mississippi, United States Retained NABF welterweight title.
Win 27-0 United StatesMark Fernandez TKO 2 (8), ?:?? 1999-02-20 United StatesMadison Square Garden, New York, New York, United States
Win 26-0 United StatesEd Griffin TKO 2 (12), ?:?? 1998-12-12 United StatesTrump Taj Mahal, Atlantic City, New Jersey, United States Retained NABF welterweight title.
Win 25-0 EnglandAdrian Stone TKO 11 (12), 1:27 1998-08-18 United StatesGrand Casino, Tunica, Mississippi, United States Won vacant NABF welterweight title.
Win 24-0 MexicoGilberto Flores TKO 2 (?), ?:?? 1998-03-28 United StatesBoardwalk Convention Center, Atlantic City, New Jersey, United States
Win 23-0 United StatesRay Oliveira UD 12 1997-11-07 United StatesBally's Las Vegas, Las Vegas, Nevada, United States Won WBC Continental Americas welterweight title.
Win 22-0 United StatesJaime Lerma UD 10 1997-08-19 United StatesConvention Center, Austin, Texas, United States
Win 21-0 Dominican RepublicPedro Saiz TKO 6 (10), ?:?? 1997-05-05 United StatesHarrah's Marina Hotel Casino, Atlantic City, New Jersey, United States
Win 20-0 BrazilFrancisco De Assis TKO 1 (?), ?:?? 1997-04-05 United StatesBallys Park Place Hotel Casino, Atlantic City, New Jersey, United States
Win 19-0 United StatesMike Rios TKO 1 (?), ?:?? 1997-01-24 United StatesConvention Center, Atlantic City, New Jersey, United States
Win 18-0 United StatesChris Slaughter KO 1 (10), ?:?? 1996-05-10 United StatesMadison Square Garden, New York, New York, United States
Win 17-0 MexicoIsaac Cruz KO 8 (?), ?:?? 1996-04-09 United StatesFantasy Springs Casino, Indio, California, United States
Win 16-0 CubaTony Ortiz KO 1 (8), 1:29 1996-02-22 United StatesCivic Center, Hammond, Indiana, United States
Win 15-0 United StatesMarlon Thomas UD 12 1995-11-28 United StatesBell Auditorium, Augusta, Georgia, United States

Charity work[edit]

Forrest was involved directly with the creation of the Not for Profit Destiny's Child, a group home that assists people with developmental, emotional, and psychological disabilities and needs.[9] Forrest was also involved directly with helping the clients by organizing Destiny's Child's activities.[10]


At about 11:00 pm EDT on July 25, 2009, Forrest stopped at a gas station in the Atlanta neighborhood of Mechanicsville.[11] With him was his 11-year-old godson. As the boy went inside the gas station, Forrest went to the back of his car to add air to a low tire. As this occurred, a man robbed him at gunpoint and fled. Forrest, who was armed, went after the man and shots were exchanged. After a short distance, Forrest gave up the chase and began talking to a second man. It was this man that shot Forrest seven to eight times in the back. According to police, the shooter and a second person left the scene in a red Pontiac.[12] Forrest was pronounced dead at the scene and the death was ruled a homicide. Atlanta Police would arrest and later charge 25-year-old Jquante Crews, 20-year-old Demario Ware and 30-year-old Charman Sinkfield for his murder. It is believed that Sinkfield was the shooter, Ware was the robber, and Crews was the driver.[13] All three are currently serving life sentences. (Georgia Department of Corrections)

See also[edit]


External links[edit]

Title last held by
Félix Trinidad
IBF Welterweight Champion
May 12, 2001 – December 12, 2001
Title next held by
Michele Piccirillo
Preceded by
Shane Mosley
WBC Welterweight Champion
January 26, 2002 – January 25, 2003
Succeeded by
Ricardo Mayorga
Title last held by
Marlon Starling
The Ring Welterweight Champion
January 26, 2002 – January 25, 2003
Title last held by
Floyd Mayweather, Jr.
WBC Super Welterweight Champion
July 28, 2007 – June 7, 2008
Succeeded by
Sergio Mora
Preceded by
Sergio Mora
WBC Super Welterweight Champion
September 14, 2008 – May 21, 2009
Succeeded by
Sergio Martinez
Interim Champion Promoted
Preceded by
Bernard Hopkins
BWAA Fighter of the Year
Ring Magazine Fighter of the Year

Succeeded by
James Toney