… another senseless death, another tragedy.
This time, it was Vernon Forrest (you can read a little about his bio and how he was killed in Atlanta last Saturday night right here in the AJC). And again, another boxer dies violently, tragically. A few weeks ago, Arturo Gatti was killed (allegedly by his wife, though some reports now question whether he took his own life). Now, Forrest – a good fighter, a good champion and a good ambassador to those in need – is gone.
Forrest was from Augusta, Ga., and since I worked at the Augusta Chronicle from 2002-04, I had the opportunity to cover two of his big fights. The first occurred in Indianapolis for his second matchup with Shane Mosley – Forrest won a unanimous decision – and it was the first big travel trip I made while working for a newspaper. The second happened in Temecula, Calif., where Nicaraguan crazy man Ricardo Mayorga knocked out Forrest in the third round.
Forrest hated my paper – he actually didn’t associate himself much with Augusta much after he left and moved to Atlanta – and I don’t think he thought much of me and my knowledge of boxing. I came to that conclusion when he informed me, “Man, you don’t know shit about boxing,” when I interviewed him in his hotel suite a couple days before the Mayorga tussle.
But his charity work was impressive, and many people who knew him raved about his generosity.
At one point, he was one of the best fighters in the world, beating Mosley twice and winning three world titles. Now, he’s gone. But not forgotten by those who knew him and loved him. And not forgotten by me.
That night in the hotel suite while I interviewed him, I asked him a rather innocuous question to which I should have known the answer before I began our talk. He basically chastised me for being unprepared. It was not a great interview, and most of that was my fault. But I learned a valuable lesson from him that night. Be prepared. Know what the hell you’re talking about before you go in for the interview. Don’t ask a stupid question if it’s something you can look up beforehand. It’s something I’ll always remember.