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Baldomir-Forrest: Does Vernon Have Anything Left?

By Sean Mcdaniel:forrest9382323.jpg In a battle between two 36-year-old former welterweight champions, Carlos Baldomir (43-10-6, 13 KOs) meets up with Vernon Forrest (38-2, 28 KOs) on Saturday, July 28, at the Emerald Queen Casino in Tacoma, Washington. Baldomir is coming off an eight-month layoff since losing his WBC welterweight title to Floyd Mayweather Jr. in November 2006. However, not one to take things easy, Baldomir is showing his extraordinary courage by choosing Vernon Forrest, a former IBF and WBC welterweight champion, as his first bout back rather than an easy tune-up fighter.

However, both fighter’s time in the sun may well have past them by, as the welterweight division is now one of the toughest in all of boxing, with named fighters, such as Paul Williams, Antonio Margarito, Floyd Mayweather Jr., Miguel Cotto, Shane Mosley, Carlos Quintana, Kermit Cintron and Andre Berto among the ranks, to name just a few. Nevertheless, each of them can be beaten, but it will take a lot of talent, and ability to do it, in particular for fighters as old Baldomir and Forrest.

For perhaps that reason, this fight will be held at light middleweight, and believe it or not, it will be for the vacant WBC light welterweight title. Unlike the welterweight division, the light middleweight division is one of the softest in all of boxing, which makes it the safest place for aging boxing stars like Forrest, De La Hoya and Baldomir.

For his part, Forrest has been inactive for the past 11 months, last fighting in August 2006, when he won a unanimous 10-round decision over Ike Quartey. The fight was extremely close, and many boxing fans felt it could go either way. What made it even worse for Forrest, however, was that it was only Quartey’s fourth fight after being away from boxing for more than five years. Clearly, Forrest has slipped badly since shocking the world in 2001 when he defeated WBC welterweight champion Shane Mosley, then considered one of the best pound-for-pound boxers in all of boxing. To show that the win wasn’t a fluke, Forrest repeated the performance by again beating Mosley by unanimous decision, this time in 2002.

However, after that fight, the wheels fell off the Forrest express, as he was destroyed in three rounds by Ricardo Mayorga in January 2003. He met up with Mayorga again later that year, in August, this time losing by 12-round majority decision. Yet, it appeared that Mayorga simply had his number, and likely would beat him always if they were to fight again. Following this loss, Forrest was away from boxing for two years, dealing with injuries. When he returned to boxing in 2005, he looked visibly slower than he had two years earlier, despite stopping his first opponent back Sergio Mora in the 2nd round. In October 2005, Forrest stopped Elco Garcia in the 10th round, showing that Forrest was going to take his time before increasing the level of his competition.

As things stand, both Forrest and Baldomir cannot afford to lose right now, due to their advanced age, and the time that it would require to rebuild after a loss like this. The loser, no doubt, will be facing a severe uphill climb to try and resurrect his career. As to the winner, I would have easily picked Forrest if this fight were two years ago. However, he’s badly faded since then and only looks like a fraction of former self, not nearly good enough to beat Baldomir, who is aged much better and is still at the peak of his career, despite his recent loss to Mayweather. Look for Baldomir to pressure Forrest early and often, perhaps knocking him down once or twice along to way to an easy 12-round decision.

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