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Name: Vernon Forrest
Nickname: "Viper"
Weight Class: Welterweight
Age: 31
Hometown: Atlanta, GA
Record: 35-0-26
sfc's Welter Rating 1st (Current Champion)
sfc's Pound for Pound Ranking: 3rd

Available Bio: Unfortunately, I couldn't find much about his non-boxing history. It is something of a testament to the popularity of Boxing that it is so difficult to find biographical information about one of the sport's highest ranked fighters.

Personality, etc.: Vernon Forrest's personality and lifestyle match his Boxing style. He's not flamboyant or flashy. He doesn't get into trouble outside of the ring. In interviews he comes off as just a regular guy doing his job.

Important Fights:

Amateurs: Vernon Forrest had an impressive amateur career but little has been written about it except for one fight. In an amateur championship Forrest faced off against future Boxing star "Sugar" Shane Mosley and defeated him.

Early Career: Vernon Forrest began his professional career in 1992 and had little trouble winning his first 22 fights against lesser opposition.

vs. Ray Oliveira: In 1997 Forrest took on his first major opponent with a minor belt up for grabs. Ray Oliveira is something of a "gatekeeper" between the upper and lower echelons of the Welterweight division. Forrest boxed his way to a 12-round decision.

vs. Raul Frank: Forrest continued fighting, defeating good opposition like Adrian Stone and former champion Vince Phillips. Unfortunately this did little to increase his visibility in the world of Boxing. In 2001 he faced Raul Frank in two fights. The first ended in a No Contest because of an accidental headbutt. In the second Forrest was able to win a Unanimous Decision for the vacant IBF Welterweight Championship of the World. This win increased his popularity just enough to secure a fight with the Welterweight Golden Boy Shane Mosley.

vs. "Sugar" Shane Mosley: This January Vernon Forrest was given his chance at greatness and entered the ring against 7 to 1 odds. Many felt this was another mismatch for the undefeated Shane Mosley who had already defeated Oscar De La Hoya. Advertising for the fight focused heavily on Forrest's amateur win over Mosley but this just seemed like the only hype they could find.

Through round one it looked like Mosley would dominate his little known opponent. In round two the fighter's heads accidently clashed hard into each other. Both men were obviously effected. Mosley suffered a small cut on his forehead. That was the first time Mosley had been cut in a fight and a few seconds later he found himself of the mat for the first time in his career. Vernon Forrest shocked the Boxing world by delivering a combination that crumpled Mosley to the floor. Mosley got up but was knocked down a second time during that round.

Shane Mosley would fight on but was never able to "get his legs back" after that round. The fight was nearly stopped in the 10th round when Forrest pounded Mosley's body ferociously. Mosley would survive all 12 rounds but in the end Vernon Forrest won a lopsided decision.

vs. Shane Mosley II: Both Forrest and Mosley surprised everyone by announcing that they would face each other in an immediate rematch. This was largely considered a very bad, but very brave, move for both men. On July 20, 2002 the rematch was held. Even though he dominated Mosley in the first fight the odds were only slightly in Forrest's favor. Over twelve very slow rounds Shane Mosley tried to unravel the mystery of Forrest's defense and soundly failed. Forrest did enough on offense to win the rounds and was victorious over Mosley for the third straight time.

Pros

Vernon Forrest's best asset is his impregnable defense and strong chin. Forrest was able to survive 24 rounds against one of the most powerful offenses in Boxing with hardly a scratch.

Cons

Forrest's greatest problem is his "boring" style. By using his great defense he only needs a small counter punching offense to win fights by decision. This isn't exactly exciting to watch. Forrest's biggest problems in Boxing may not be in the ring, but outside it when trying to find opponents.

Future

Vernon Forrest does have a bright future. In the last few years of his career his goal is to "collect hardware". There are two other belts at Welter for him to collect. He also has the option of moving up to Junior Middleweight for "big money" fights against Oscar De La Hoya or Fernando Vargas. Still, his greatest challenge will be in getting these fights made. No one wants to fight a guy as difficult to beat as Forrest, who's also going to be boring.

Last Updated: August 5, 2002

Sources:
HBO's World Championship Boxing
ESPN2's Friday Night Fights
http://espn.go.com/boxing/news/2002/0720/1408194.html

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