Forrest tops Mosley to retain WBC title

Posted: Sunday, July 21, 2002

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- WBC welterweight champion Vernon Forrest won a unanimous 12-round decision Saturday night over Shane Mosley, beating him for the second time in six months.

Forrest, who took Mosley's title in a unanimous decision Jan. 26 at Madison Square Garden in New York, proved it was no fluke in the rematch -- but not by much.

In a fight that featured lots of hugging but not head-butting, the 31-year-old Forrest landed enough punches to the lightning-quick Mosley to win over the judges.

Judge Tony Castellano scored it 117-111, Jerry Roth had it 115-113 and Gary Merritt had it 116-112.

The loss left Mosley (38-2) to pick up the pieces of what had been an unblemished career and seems now, suddenly, to be on the ropes.

Forrest, of Atlanta, improved to 35-0 with a performance far less convincing than his dismantling of Mosley in the first fight.

The champion started slowly compared to Mosley, who looked as if he'd been shot out of a cannon when the opening bell rang.

Mosley, 30, of Pomona, Calif., fairly ran at Forrest, hitting him with a left and a right to the face before wrestling Forrest into a corner and pushing him along the ropes until referee Laurence Cole stepped in.

But Forrest gradually found a rhythm, nailing Mosley squarely with counterpunches when the quicker fighter moved in to attack.

There were no knockdowns in the fight.

''He definitely came out with a different style for this fight,'' Forrest said. ''But I got shots in, even though he had a great strategy. When two great fighters are in the ring together, you can't fight with reckless abandon.''

Forrest didn't, but he was effective.

In the third round, he connected on two solid rights to Mosley's face and landed a crushing left early in the fourth round as Mosley came at him.

But Mosley, who did a lot of complaining about Forrest holding, head-butting and hitting low in the first fight, was the one who used some of the those tactics this time around.

He resorted to holding when his punches didn't land. Once, he hit Forrest in the back of the head with both hands during a clinch. In the ninth, he was warned by Cole after running the laces of his glove over Forrest's face during a clinch.

''The Rematch of the Century'' it wasn't: Whole rounds went by when neither fighter landed a solid punch. In the 11th round, the crowd of 15,775 at Conseco Fieldhouse booed the fighters for all the hugging.

Mosley, who predicted he would win by knockout, said he came into the fight hoping to keep his distance from Forrest instead of letting him fight inside, the way Forrest did in the first fight.

''My plan was to move in and catch him with a hard shot. I didn't get a chance to get that shot. It was a lot of clinch, move, clinch move,'' Mosley said.

He thought he won. But he said Forrest -- the only man to beat him -- might just have his number. Forrest also beat him as an amateur, in the 1992 U.S. Olympic trials.

''Things like that happen. You have your day in the sunshine. Evander Holyfield lost. Sugar Ray Leonard lost and now I've lost twice.''

Forrest made about $3 million, and Mosley took home $2.7 million.

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