Former boxing champ Vernon Forrest shot and killed

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(AP Photo/Jeff Zelevansky, File)


ATLANTA (AP) — Former boxing champion Vernon Forrest was shot and killed during an apparent robbery in Atlanta, police said Sunday.

Atlanta Police Sgt. Lisa Keyes said in an e-mail Sunday that Forrest may have been robbed and was shot “multiple times in the back” Saturday night in Atlanta.

Keyes said there are no suspects.

“Vernon was one of the few decent people in boxing,” promoter Gary Shaw said Sunday.

“I mean really decent. He cared about mentally challenged adults. He cared about kids. I just can’t believe it.”

Mark Guilbeau, an investigator with the Fulton County Medical Examiner’s office, said an autopsy is planned for Sunday.

Forrest, who lived in Atlanta, was a member of the 1992 U.S. Olympic team. He was also a former WBC super welterweight champion.

“He was one of the most gracious and charitable fighters in boxing and he will be missed by the entire boxing community and all of his friends at HBO,” HBO Sports president Ross Greenburg told The Associated Press.

Greenburg helped put on eight of Forrest’s fights.

“It is time for the needless loss of life to end,” Greenburg said. “Maybe Vernon’s lasting legacy will be for Americans everywhere to rise up and end this kind of senseless violence.”

Forrest worked to provide housing for the mentally challenged through his involvement in the Destiny’s Child group home.

Forrest, 38, took two wins over Sugar Shane Mosley in 2002. On Sept. 13, 2008, Forrest reclaimed his WBC 154-pound title by beating Sergio Mora.

The win over Mora was Forrest’s last fight. He injured a rib while training for an April fight against Jason LeHoullier. That fight was canceled, and Forrest had to vacate his title.

There were tentative plans for a title fight against Sergio Martinez, perhaps in October, according to Shaw.

Forrest, who had a 41-3 career record with 29 knockouts, is the third prominent boxer to die this month.

Former two-time champion Arturo Gatti, who retired in 2007, was found dead July 11 at a Brazilian resort. Gatti’s wife, Amanda Rodrigues, is being held as the prime suspect.

Another former champion, Alexis Arguello, was found dead on July 1 at his home in Managua, Nicaragua. He was elected mayor of Nicaragua’s capital last year.

AP Sports Writer David Skretta in New York contributed to this report.

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