I was always afraid of bandits – and died at their hands. The kindest champion nicknamed the Viper

Alexander Frolov

Alexander Frolov

Vernon Forrest, boxing champion biography

And why do the best leave so early?

Exactly 13 years ago, boxer Vernon Forrest passed away. The former world welterweight and light middleweight champion died as a result of an attack by robbers. The attackers robbed Forrest at a gas station and ran away. The boxer, who was in a state of passion, pulled out his pistol from the glove compartment and gave chase. It was not possible to catch up with anyone: when Vernon was already returning to the car, he was shot several times in the back – he died on the spot.

Almost two thousand people attended the funeral of the famous athlete, including the legendary Evander Holyfield and Antonio Tarver. It was not only the sports glory of the deceased: Forrest was remembered by everyone as a wonderful person with a big heart. Even in his youth, he organized several charitable foundations that helped mentally retarded children and orphans. And he gave a large part of his income there.

Vernon, like no one else, understood the problems of unfortunate children. He himself grew up in monstrous poverty: his father worked seven days a week at the most difficult jobs to feed his family. But there was still not enough money, so the numerous Forrest brothers were engaged in the only available business – crime. Vernon was also called there, but from childhood he eschewed the criminal sphere and was afraid of local hooligans.

This was not surprising, given the fragile physique and congenital speech problems. Vernon was sorely lacking in the self-confidence that he only gained from boxing training. From the first lessons, the coaches saw great potential in the young man and nicknamed the newcomer Viper for the speed and dexterity of movements. The first victories soon followed – Forrest was very good in the amateur ring.

Having won everything in youth boxing, Vernon began to compete with adult athletes. In 1991, the American performed brilliantly at the World Championships, where he reached the final. There he was stopped, by the way, by the great Konstantin Tszyu, about whom the loser always spoke later with undisguised respect. Soon Forrest qualified for the Olympics, where he completely unexpectedly flew out in the first round.

Ahead was the transition to professionals, where the Viper was also successful … In parallel, Vernon began to do charity work: according to the boxer, he could not calmly look at the suffering of unfortunate children. The athlete sent a fifth of all fees to a charitable foundation, while managing to give lectures for low-income segments of the population. At the same time, victories in the ring also went one after another – titles soon came.

Even the famous Shane Moseley was defeated twice. Unfortunately, Forrest did not manage to capture the championship belts for a long time – he frankly lacked health and fighting character. In the dilogy with Ricardo Mayorga, the current champion managed to break his arm twice. After that, Vernon continued to perform quite successfully and even regained the title – even if his condition was far from optimal.

The boxer increasingly thought about ending his career. He was tired of boxing, which did not really suit his calm and friendly nature. Forrest planned to fight two more fights and hang up his gloves, after which he wanted to establish a global “Salvation Fund” for sick children from disadvantaged countries. Unfortunately, his plans and his life were interrupted by a bandit’s shot. The best leave too soon.

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