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The Fight's the Thing
Richard Hoffer
February 04, 2002
Vernon Forrest's bruising upset of Sugar Shane Mosley should help redeem boxing
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February 04, 2002

The Fight's The Thing

Vernon Forrest's bruising upset of Sugar Shane Mosley should help redeem boxing

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Forrest, an ebullient sort, took none of it personally, but he chafed at his underdog status. "Everybody's so hyped on his hand speed," he said earlier in the week. "Julio César Chávez, he didn't have hand speed, and he ate fighters up." Plus, Forrest pointed out, he—like Chávez—did have a right hand.

On Saturday, in the biggest fight of his life, he used it early. It all had a déjá vu aspect for Forrest, who said that he had dreamed the entire fight the night before so vividly that he was surprised he wasn't sore when he woke up on Saturday morning. In the second round, after they had cracked heads, Forrest caught Mosley with a left-right and then a thunderclap of a right uppercut that sat Mosley down for the first time in his career. Forrest decked him again seconds later, but somehow Mosley survived the round and, still wobbly, the next round too.

Mosley never got close enough after that, even with a cleared head, to deliver meaningful combinations, and his heralded speed was nullified throughout by Forrest's jab and clinching. For emphasis Forrest delivered three shuddering left hooks to Mosley's ribs in the 10th, nearly folding him in two.

The bout wasn't always elegant, but the effort was remarkable and honest enough that for the moment, anyway, it seemed possible to enjoy a fight more than its press conference. That was good news, even if it was hard to find amid all the fiasco footage last week. Hey—idea!—what if we only went to the fights?

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