The boxing world was shocked back in 2009, when news broke out that former two-division champion Vernon Forrest had been fatally shot during an armed robbery.
“The Viper” certainly left his mark on the boxing world, compiling a 41-3-0 (1 no-contest) record over a 16-year time frame. He put on a dominant performance in his last appearance inside the boxing ring, defeating Sergio Mora and reclaiming the WBC light middleweight title (Mora took the title in their previous bout, and Forrest handed Mora his first loss with the win).
Forrest – who was 38 years old at the time of his death – stopped at an Atlanta gas station to put air in his tire, when two men tried to rob him. By the time the encounter was over, Forrest had been shot multiple times (seven or eight times according to investigators).
For a second, it looked like the culprits would escape the long arm of the law, but Atlanta police remained persistent, eventually apprehending all parties involved with the murder.
One of the men charged (Demario Ware) has already been sentenced to life in prison for the crime, and a second suspect was sentenced on April 2. Jquante Crews – who drove the getaway vehicle – was sentenced to life in prison without parole plus an additional 10 years.
The third suspect (and alleged gunman), Charmon Sinkfield’s case is still ongoing, and prosecutors are seeking the death penalty. Given how well the Fulton County courts have handled the other two cases; I expect a conviction, as boxing fans try to close this sad chapter in the sport.
2009 was certainly a tough year for boxing, as the lives of Arturo Gatti, Alexis Arguello, and Vernon Forrest came to sudden ends. Fortunately, those involved in Forrest’s death are being held responsible, and I can only hope the same eventually happens for Gatti and Arguello.