Not Just A Client, But A Friend

By Kelly Swanson
Updated: July 27, 2009

WASHINGTON — I am grief stricken to learn of the tragic death of Vernon Forrest. Not only was he my client, he was my friend. He gave me a wonderful opportunity when he asked me to help him tell his story both in and out of the ring beginning in 2001.

The journey was terrific as not only was he a great champion, but he was a caring humanitarian who always stood up for what he believed to be the fairness of life.

Most importantly his work outside of the ring, particularly with his established foundation Destiny’s Child, which provided group housing for mentally challenged young adults in the Atlanta area, was the shining light of his life.

Seeing him with the kids was the essence of his being and showed me another side of his well-rounded and deeply passionate character. It was my pleasure to help tell his story.

These accomplishments earned him not only the Boxing Writers Association of America 2002 Fighter of the Year award, but also their 2003 Good Guy award, a first ever feat for an active fighter in the history of the organization.

Vernon was a feisty one and always, always, spoke his mind. It was this intense passion for truth and justice that fueled his presence, gave him character and instilled in him a mighty resolve to the end.

And yet, he was such a gentleman too, always giving back to those less fortunate and appreciating what others did for him. He would go out of his way to call and thank me profusely for the “coverage” he received. He was a great son and brother to his mother and siblings and a wonderful father to his young son Vernon Jr.

The tragedy of his untimely death is extremely hurtful as boxing has lost another great champion and a long-standing member of our sport’s community.

I will miss him dearly and he will forever hold a very special place in my heart. With sympathy to his family, friends and the entire boxing community, I pray for comfort for all of us during this terrible time.