Dear friends: I am sure that most of you have heard this sad news already, but I am taking the liberty to forward this article below to you. While the WBC had some differences with Vernon recently concerning his match with Sergio Martinez, he was truly a credit to our sport – being very active, as you may know, in work with under privileged and challenged youth in Atlanta and Augusta. I remember the first time I met Vernon when his first pro trainer, my friend the late Malik Muhammad, introduced us in the coffee shop at the Reno airport…I was returning home from a NABF meeting and Malik and Vernon were catching a plane back to Atlanta from one of Vernon’s early fights. At that time Malik promised me that Vernon would be both a NABF and WBC champion one day. Sure enough, Vernon became first a WBC Continental Americas champion, then moved up a step to become the NABF champ, and then went on to become a proud WBC world champion.
Also it is with sadness I report two other deaths in the boxing family over the past two days. Octavius James, based in Indiana and Chicago, one of the bright and successful young promoters (he was only age 36) passed away over night on Friday night. Details on his death are sort of sketchy now, but he had no previous health problems that were known. A nice man who was one of the few who ALWAYS said “thank you” when he would call me for advice or information.
Also boxer Francisco “Poncho” Montivias of Mississippi passed away of ring related injuries on Saturday after his loss Friday night on a card in Bay St. Louis, MS. An outstanding amateur boxer in his native state, Poncho was making his second pro outing on Friday.
Please keep their families and friends in your thoughts and prayers.
Breaking News…Vernon Forrest Shot Dead
Some terrible breaking news that former three time world champion Vernon Forrest has been killed.
- WSB News (WSB Radio)
Former boxing champion and U.S. Olympian Vernon Forrest was shot and killed in an attempted car jacking in Northwest Atlanta, a police spokesperson said. Lt. Keith Meadows with the Atlanta police department told WSB Radio, Forrest was putting air in the tires of his Jaguar around 11 p.m. Saturday at a gas station on White Hall St. at McDaniel Blvd. Investigators said at least two men jumped out of a red Chevrolet Monte Carlo and tried to steal Forrest’s car.
The boxer had a gun and started running after the suspects. “The victim and suspect became involved in a brief foot chase,” Lt. Meadows said. “At some point, gunfire was exchanged between the two of them. The victim was shot at least once in the head.”
Investigators said they are talking to several witness. “At this point we have a general description of at least two black males driving a red Monte Carlo.” Lt. Meadows said. Police don’t think the suspects knew Forrest was a professional boxer.
His girlfriend’s young son was in the car at the time of the shooting. Family members are flying in from Texas to pick up the child, Lt. Meadows said.
Forrest, who lived in Atlanta, was a member of the 1992 U.S. Olympic team in Barcelona, Spain. He was a three-time champion with two WBC welterweight wins against Sugar Shane Mosley in 2002. Forrest, nicknamed the viper, beat Sergio Mora for the WBC junior middleweight title in September. The Augusta, Ga. native was stripped of his WBC belt in May because of a rib injury. He was supposed to fight Sergio Martinez on August 1st.