Vernon Forrest's nationally televised championship fight is a testament to Augusta's history of producing fine boxers, said Augusta native and UConn basketball standout Ricky Moore.
"This is good for the city," said Moore, who attended Friday night's bout at Bell Auditorium. "The boxing programs they have in Augusta have been very successful."
Moore was first introduced to Forrest, the North American Boxing Federation Welterweight champion, at the Augusta Boys Club. Gold Gloves champion Ricky Jones introduced the two athletes.
Although Moore had not kept in touch with Forrest over the years, he has kept an eye on the boxer's development.
ESPN2's Friday Night Fights brought their cameras to Augusta for live coverage of the championship, rewarding Augusta's boxing tradition.
Moore was not taken in the June NBA draft and is conducting workouts with several teams. He said he'll know his professional status by mid-September.
Moore's former Westside High teammate, William Avery was also in attendance Friday. The former Duke guard and first-round NBA selection of the Minnesota Timberwolves spent a day with Forrest this week.
Forrest, who defended his NABF championship against Santiago Samaniego, offered the 20-year-old millionaire some advice. He warned Avery to be weary of people who are suddenly his best friend.
"He taught me some things," Avery said. "He told me to look out for certain things and certain people. He's been a professional for a couple of years now and has experienced a lot of things."
Avery is working out everyday in preparation for his first NBA season. He'll head to rookie transition camp in October.
Heavyweight boxing champion Evander Holyfield arrived at Bell Auditorium midway through the seven-bout card. On Friday, he signed a deal to face Lennox Lewis in a Nov. 13 unification rematch in Las Vegas.
Jimmy DeButts can be reached at (706) 823-3221.
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