Forrest Wins WBC Super Welterweight Title

By Francis Walker
Updated: July 29, 2007

NEW YORK — Vernon Forrest can be called a world champion once again. In a solid fight between two 36 year-olds, Forrest (39-2, 28 KOs) won the WBC super welterweight championship following a hard-fought, 12-round unanimous decision against Carlos Baldomir (43-10-6, 13 KOs) at the Emerald Queen Casino in Tacoma, Washington on Saturday.

It was Forrest’s second world championship in as many weight classes. “ I wouldn’t say I’m back,” Forrest said afterward. “I’m just back on top”. His battle with Baldomir, a former WBC welterweight champion who is best-known for victories against Zab Judah and Arturo Gatti before losing to Floyd Mayweather last year, was exciting.

Forrest threw more punches (663-669) and outjabbed Baldomir (107-42). He was much taller than the durable 5-foot-7 Baldomir and was dominant as the scorecards clearly reflected in his performance.

All three judges scored the bout 118-109 (twice) and 116-111. Baldomir stunned Forrest in the ninth round. Forrest was also docked one point in that same round for a low blow.

“He pushed me to the limit,” Forrest said of Baldomir. “I’m just happy I got a victory. I needed some body like that to push me. I fight up or down to the level of my opposition.”

Although Forrest won the WBC 154-pound championship, it remains to be seen as to whether he’ll move back down to 147 for a big fight. The welterweight division is where the money is, as WBA welterweight champion Miguel Cotto will face “Sugar” Shane Mosley in the fall.

WBC welterweight champion Floyd Mayweather, Jr. has agreed to face Ricky Hatton in the winter as well. Also, Oscar De La Hoya is eying an eventual return to the welterweight class and is currently walking around at approximately 150 pounds.

Also, IBF champion Kermit Cintron, newly crowned WBO champion Paul Williams, who just defeated Paul Williams, Joshua Clotty, former undisputed world welterweight champion Zab Judah, former WBA welterweight champion Ike Quartey, and upcoming prospects Andre Berto and Shamone Alvarez round out the 147-pound class.

It doesn’t make any sense for Forrest to move up to middleweight. Unbeaten WBC/WBO middleweight champion is going to move up to 168 after his September 29 defense against undefeated No. 1-ranked challenger Kelly Pavlik. Also, it wouldn’t make sense for IBF champion Arthur Abraham and WBA champion Felix Sturm to want to fight Forrest.

IBF junior middleweight champion Cory Spinks, newly crowned WBA 154-pound champion Joachim Alcine, Travis Simms, and Roman Karmazin are all good fighters. However, they are not the best fighters and no one will be interested in watching them fight Forrest.

While De La Hoya made millions fighting Pernell Whitaker, Ike Quartey, and Felix Trinidad in the late 1990s, Forrest (along with Winky Wright) was intentionally left out of the loop. At 6-feet, Forrest was a taller welterweight who could move, box, and had good timing.

Forrest was always known throughout the boxing community, but didn’t become a superstar until he unified the WBC/IBF welterweight titles by handing Mosley the first two losses in his professional career in 2001.

Forrest’s career began to sag after a pair of shocking losses to Ricardo Mayorga the following year. Forrest was inactive from boxing during 2003-2005, as he had surgeries on both shoulders.

Since returning to boxing in July 2005, he’s 4-0, with 2 KOs. The combined record of his opposition is (116-16-7). Prior to Baldomir, Forrest won a disputed 10-round decision against Quartey in August 2005.

It will be very interesting to see where Forrest can go following the Baldomir fight and whether anyone would be willing to fight him.