The boxing world reeled from another hard blow as news surfaced Sunday that boxing champion Vernon Forrest had been killed. WBC two-time super welterweight and two-time junior middleweight champion Vernon Forrest was reportedly shot and killed in a robbery attempt in Atlanta, Georgia late Saturday night. ESPN reported that Vernon Forrest, according to Atlanta Police, seems to have been targeted for a carjacking. A subsequent exchange of gunfire left the the 38-year-old boxer dead, at least seven bullets hitting his body.
Vernon Forrest was the third prominent boxer to die within the last month.
Atlanta Police have indicated that Vernon Forrest was stopped at a gas station around 11 p.m. Saturday night in northwest Atlanta and was attempting to put air in the tires of his vehicle when at least two black males accosted him, attempting to carjack his Jaguar. Vernon Forrest was armed. After warding off the would-be carjackers, the former boxing champion gave chase on foot. In an exchange of gunfire, Forrest was hit at least seven times by semi-automatic gunfire from two weapons, according to authorities.
Vernon Forrest’s girlfriend’s young son was in the Jaguar at the time of the incident.
WSB radio in Atlanta broke the story and talked with police spokesperson Lt. Keith Meadows. He said that Forrest was shot at least once in the head.
“At this point we have a general description of at least two black males driving a red Monte Carlo,” Meadows said.
“I will say this about him,” boxing promoter Gary Shaw told ESPN, “he was a decent human being. His work with kids, I think people knew how much he cared for kids, underprivileged and mentally challenged people. He was a real decent human being outside the ropes.”
Of the incident, Shaw said: “What can you say? Alexis Arguello, Arturo Gatti and Vernon Forrest all leaving us within 30 days? I think it’s a little much for our sport to handle. The violence, the guns have to go. Violence belongs inside the ropes. Not outside them. It’s just senseless. Maybe boxing ought to dedicate itself to keeping the violence inside the ropes and try to send that message out to the world.”
Former two-time boxing champion Arturo Gatti was found strangled to death in his hotel room at a Brazilian resort on July 11 by his wife. Authorities would later arrest Amanda Rodrigues Gatti, Arturo Gatti’s wife, on suspicion of murder charges.
A second former champion, Alexis Arguello, was found dead in his Managua, Nicaragua, home on July 1, a gunshot wound to his chest. Alexis Arguello had been serving as Managua’s mayor for a year. The Associated Press reported that Alexis Arguello’s death was an alleged suicide but there have been reports that foul play might have been involved.
Vernon Forrest was a member of the 1992 U. S. Olympic Team. In his professional career, he won 41 fights (29 by KO), losing only three.
WSB radio (Atlanta)