ATLANTA — Boxer Vernon Forrest was shot to death Saturday night at a gas station in Atlanta during an attempted robbery. He was 38.
Forrest was best known for being the first boxer to defeat Shane Mosley. To the limousine industry, Forest is remembered as the owner of Champions Limousine, which he started in 2002 as a career after boxing. He also was a member of the Georgia Limousine Association while he still owned his limousine business.
According to media reports from the, Forrest died Saturday around 11 p.m. in southwest Atlanta after he stopped at a gas station.
Charles Watson, the boxer's manager, said police and witnesses told him that Forrest had stopped to put air in his car tire when a man approached asking for money.
"Somehow, Vernon had his wallet out and the guy snatched his wallet and started running," Watson said. "Vernon pursued after him. The guy turned the corner and Vernon didn't see him. He turned around to go back to the car. That's when he started firing."
Watson said that Forrest's 11-year-old godson was with him but had gone into the convenience store and did not witness the shooting. Forrest was shot eight times in the back.
Forrest was active in the Atlanta community. Darrell Anderson, owner of A National in Atlanta, was moved by the tragedy. “He was a genuinely nice person and very active in our community,” Anderson said. “It is a great tragedy to lose someone so young with so much life still ahead.”
Forrest is known for his philanthropic work in Atlanta, most notably for starting a charity called Destiny’s Child which provided group homes for the mentally disabled in Atlanta. Forest will be buried Monday in Atlanta. He is survived by a son, Vernon Jr.
Forrest (41-3, 29 KOs), a 1992 U.S. Olympian, was a former two-time welterweight and two-time junior middleweight champion best known for his two decision victories against Shane Mosley in 2002.
Forrest had beaten Mosley to keep him off the 1992 Olympic team but when they met in January 2002 in New York, it was Mosley, then widely regarded as the pound-for-pound No. 1 fighter in boxing, who was a significant favorite.
Instead, Forrest knocked Mosley down and dominated the fight to hand him his first pro loss and win the WBC welterweight title. Forrest outpointed him in a closer fight in the July 2002 rematch in Indianapolis.
He received the silver medal in the 1991 world amateur championships in the light welterweight division, losing in the final to Kostya Tszyu, who would go on to become the undisputed junior welterweight champion and a lock Hall of Famer.
At Madison Square Garden on May 12, 2001, Forrest finally won the world title that had eluded him for so long.
Sources: Linda Moore, LCT Magazine; Associated Press, ESPN.com, and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution