Can this summer get any worse for the boxing fraternity?
Alexis Arguello, Arturo Gatti and now Vernon Forrest — all gone within a month. It’s crazy.
The boxing community had not yet come to grips with Arguello’s reported suicide and Gatti’s death when news of Forrest’s senseless murder emerged. He was apparently the victim of a robbery that escalated as he filled his tires with air at an Atlanta gas station Saturday night.
Forrest, who was 38 and left behind a son, Vernon Jr., didn’t enjoy nearly the fame or popularity of Arguello or Gatti, but he was one hell of a fighter inside the ring and a charitable man of substance outside of it.
As good as Forrest was inside the ropes, his legacy should start with what he did for people beyond them as a co-founder of Destiny’s Child, a group home that provides support and guidance for mentally challenged young adults in Atlanta.
I heard Forrest talk about it several times. He wasn’t a guy who just lent his name to something. He rolled up his sleeves and got involved on a personal level.
On the July 2002 night in Indianapolis when Forrest beat Shane Mosley for the second time, several of the people who lived in the home — people who admired Forrest as much as he admired them — were at ringside to cheer on “Uncle Vernon.”
“Not only was he a great champion, but he was a caring humanitarian who always stood up for what he believed to be the fairness of life,” said a grief-stricken Kelly Swanson, Forrest’s friend and publicist. “Most importantly, his work outside of the ring, particularly with his established foundation Destiny’s Child, which provided group housing for mentally challenged young adults in the Atlanta area, was the shining light of his life.
“Seeing him with the kids was the essence of his being and showed me another side of his well-rounded and deeply passionate character. It was my pleasure to help tell his story.”
What makes this more Machiavellian is the fact that Vernon Forrest posted the following on his twitter account last week: