1. VERNON FORREST was born in Augusta, Georgia on January 12 1971, and he began boxing nine years later. The pinnacle of an outstanding amateur career was expected to be a medal at the 1992 Olympics (he had beaten American countryman Shane Mosley in the trials) but he lost to Great Britain’s Peter Richardson in the first round. Forrest claimed he was weakened by food poisoning.
2. HE turned professional in 1992, halting an overmatched Charles Hawkins in the opening round. Forrest made steady progress over the coming years, picking up minor belts, but it seemed for a while like he might not get the chance to shine.
3. IN 2000, he eventually got a shot at a world title when he fought Raul Frank for the vacant IBF welterweight belt relinquished by Felix Trinidad who had moved up to the light-middleweight division. The sharp-shooting Forrest was a big favourite to triumph, but the bout ended in round three due to a cut from an accidental head clash, and it was called a no-contest. The return was set for May 2001 at New York’s Madison Square Garden. Forrest dominated as expected and took the title via unanimous decision over 12 largely one-sided rounds. Further up the bill was the aforementioned Trinidad, by now up at 160lbs, who battered William Joppy into defeat to claim the WBA crown. Also appearing was heavyweight Chris Byrd, who decisioned Maurice Green to land the USBA championship.