Hundreds remember deceased boxer Vernon Forrest as soft-spoken champ

The Associated Press ~ staff The News
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ATLANTA - Three-time boxing champion Vernon Forrest was remembered Monday by some 1,500 friends, family and fellow athletes as a soft-spoken, modest competitor defined more by his work helping others than his victories in the ring.
The 38-year-old Forrest, a former two-division champion who gained notoriety when he became the first boxer to defeat "Sugar" Shane Mosley, was shot and killed July 25 in Atlanta. Police have said he exchanged gunfire with at least two robbery suspects before being shot several times in the back.
"I believe in God and the justice system," his brother Alfonso Forrest told about 1,500 people at New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Lithonia, just east of Atlanta. "We want justice fulfilled to the fullest within the law. It will happen."
Notable athletes in attendance included former heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield and boxers Antonio Tarver, Robert Allen and Buddy McGirt. Former NFL players Ray Buchanan and Jamal Anderson also attended.
Holyfield said before the service that Forrest was one of the "great men" whose community service work should be celebrated. Forrest has been lauded since his death for his help launching the Destiny's Child group homes in Atlanta, which work to provide homes for the mentally disabled.
"He's great and what he did for the community was great," said Holyfield, who said he had known Forrest since he was 12.
Numerous photos flashed of Forrest on two large TV screens during the service of him posing with Muhammad Ali, Evander Holyfield and him flexing his arms while wearing his title belt.
Three family members wore Forrest's championship belts at the service.
Forrest, a native of Augusta, Ga., who lived in Atlanta, was a member of the 1992 Olympic team along with Oscar De La Hoya. The popular fighter later won welterweight and junior middleweight titles and compiled a professional record of 41-3 with 29 knockouts.

Organizations: Baptist Church, NFL, Destiny's Child

Geographic location: ATLANTA, Lithonia, Augusta, Ga.

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