May 6, 2000
Recently at the Lennox Lewis vs. Mike Grant, heavyweight championship bout at Madison Square Garden, top-welterweight contender, Vernon Forrest was on hand to answer some tough questions about his future at 147 pounds. In addition, Forrest was able to shed some light as to his views on the up-coming Oscar De La Hoya-Sugar Shane Mosley, WBC welterweight championship fight on Saturday, June 17 in Los Angeles.
At age 29 with an impressive record of 31-0, 25KOs, Forrest, a native of Augusta, Georgia, turned pro on November 1992. However, although Forrest has proven himself to be legitimate top-10 challenger, has yet to receive a world title shot. As an amateur fighter with a record of 225-16, Forrest was also a former member of the US Olympic team (1990-92).
As a professional, Forrest has spent his entire career out-classing a number of dangerous, but over-matched foes. Namely, Santiago Samaniego ( TKO 7), the nephew of the legendary Roberto Duran, and Vince Phillips, a former IBF junior welterweight, 140-pound champion ( W 12).
Francis Walker: You fight at 147 pounds, the same weight-class as Oscar De La Hoya and Sugar Shane Mosley. Both of who will be meeting one another on Saturday, June 17 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. Who do you like in that fight?
Vernon Forrest: I like the winner of that fight.
FW: You fought along with Mosley on January 22 on HBO Boxing After Dark double-header. Were you satisfied with your performance? Were you disappointed that you did no knockout Vince Phillips?
Forrest: I was somewhat disappointed. I thought that I could have fought better. With me
fighting on HBO for the first time, I tried to force a KO. I threw a lot of wild shots and I fractured my right hand in the fight. I really could not get the power in my right hand, but on a scale of 1-10 I'd give myself a 7.
FW: Has there been any offers made for you to fight any of the top fighters at welterweight? WBA welterweight champ, James Page? The winner of De La Hoya-Mosley? How about a leap to 154 to fight WBA champ, Felix Trinidad?
Forrest: After I get this title, I'm gonna try to secure a fight with De La Hoya. If De La Hoya don't wanna secure a fight, I'll try to secure a fight with James Page. Or I'll just go up to junior middleweight and try to fight one of the champions up there.
FW: Since Trinidad vacated the IBF title after unifying the WBC crown by defeating De La Hoya last September, you recently moved into the No. 2 spot in the International Boxing Federation's rankings. Any word, as to when you are going to have a purse bid in order to meet the No. 1 challenger, Raul Frank?
Forrest: What they are looking at is a tentative date in August, but I want to fight sooner than that. I have not fought since January 22, and I don't want to wait from Jan. 22 to August to fight.
FW: How much do you know of Raul Frank?
Forrest: I really don't know much of him. I know that he has worked hard to get into the position that he is in. He's trying to be the world champion. He might even throw skills aside because, think its going to go down to a war.
FW: We know styles make fights… With De La Hoya-Mosley are we going to see a high-impact, high explosive boxing extravaganza? Or will De La Hoya-Mosley be a big
disappointment like Trinidad-De La Hoya?
Forrest: Since those guys know each other, I think that [De La Hoya-Mosley] is going to be very exciting. I don't think that we are going to see a lot feeling out. I think that we are going to see a lot of explosive combinations; an action-packed fight.
FW: Has De La Hoya lost face since his loss to Trinidad?
Forrest: No, think he came back with a devastating knockout of [Derrell] Coley. He may have faded in the end, but he won the fight (Referring to Trinidad-De La Hoya).
FW: With Mosley standing at a short 5' 7," and De La Hoya tall at 5' 10," would body shots be a decisive factor in the fight?
Forrest: Well, I think both fighters throw good body shots. I think Shane was able to get a lot of body shots in guys who allowed him to get in close. When you don't make guys pay for getting inside then he could do as much damage as he wants to you. I don't think it would be easy for Shane to land those body shots inside.
FW: How would you're style plays into the mix of meeting either De La Hoya or Mosley?
Forrest: Well, I'm a boxer - a long-range boxer. That's a question you may want to ask those guys. See how their style sticks with mines. With my style, on style fits all. I won't have a problem. Its whether they will be able to adapt to my style.