Vernon Forrest absorbed plenty of brutal blows during his decorated boxing career. But for someone who made a living doing such a dangerous job, his life tragically ended in the midst of an ordinary task nobody would expect to turn fatal.
Less than six months after his 38th birthday, the former world champion boxer was murdered at a gas station after he stopped to put air in his tires. And while it took nearly a decade of patience, Forrest’s family finally got justice for his brutal death in 2016.
Vernon Forrest only lost three fights during his pro boxing career
A Georgia native, Vernon Forrest took up boxing at the age of 9. He quickly carved out a reputation as one of the best amateur boxers in the world. In fact, he earned a silver medal at the 1991 World Amateur Boxing Championships in Sydney, Australia.
Forrest turned pro in 1992 and wasted no time rising up the ranks. In his debut, he defeated Charles Hawkins by technical knockout. It took almost a decade of work, but Forrest finally achieved championship glory in 2001. In a rematch against Raul Frank for the IBF welterweight title, he won by unanimous decision.
During his 45-fight career, Forrest also had memorable showdowns against Shane Mosley, Ricardo Mayorga, and Sergio Mora. While he came out on top in both fights against Mosley, Forrest failed to defeat Mayorga in two attempts.
Although one of his three career losses came against Mora on June 7, 2008, he exacted his revenge two months later. Forrest became the World Boxing Council (WBC) 154-pound champion after he won by unanimous decision.
He never fought again.
The former world champion boxer was murdered at a gas station
Vernon Forrest overcame adversity to climb back on top in the boxing world. However, less than a year after he reclaimed his WBC 154-pound title belt, he took his last breath.
On July 25, 2009, Forrest stopped at a gas station in Mechanicsville, a neighborhood in the Atlanta area. Ironically, by taking a precautionary measure for the sake of safety, he ended up in a situation that cost him his life.
According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, three men robbed the boxing icon of a “4X World Champion” ring and a gold Rolex watch while he was pumping air into his tires. Armed with a firearm of his own, Forrest chased after them and exchanged gunfire. However, he got shot seven or eight times in the back.
Although Forrest died at just 38 years old, the situation could have been even worse.
His 11-year-old godson accompanied him to the gas station. But rather than getting caught in the crossfire, he didn’t even witness the shooting. He had gone inside the store to purchase snacks and use the bathroom right before the incident occurred.
Forrest’s brutal murder sent shockwaves through the boxing community. And for his family, the loss represented a massive blow on many levels. But the Forrest family finally got justice for the former world champion’s death in 2016.
His killer paid the price for his crime seven years later
A lengthy investigation eventually yielded three names in the murder of Vernon Forrest. In 2011, Demario Ware got convicted of felony murder for his role as the armed robber in the boxer’s brutal death. He later received a life sentence without the possibility of parole.
A year later, Jquante Crews, who drove the getaway car, received a life sentence without parole plus 10 years in prison.
Finally, on Oct. 28, 2016, the Forrest family got some semblance of closure.
On that day, Charmon Sinkfield got sentenced to life without parole just a few days after he got convicted of murder for fatally shooting the accomplished boxer.
Although prosecutors requested the death penalty, the Forrest family did not.