Originally created 07/20/02

Weigh-ins provide first challenge



INDIANAPOLIS - Instead of a weigh-in Friday, the spectators at the Indiana Convention Center were treated to a strip tease.

Neither Vernon Forrest nor Shane Mosley could make the 147-pound welterweight limit with their clothes on, so both had to drop their britches before getting back on the scale.

After Forrest, only in his underwear, tipped the scale at 147.3 pounds, he removed his black boxer briefs and was covered by two officials holding a green tablecloth over his privates.

Still, it wasn't enough for Forrest to make his weight - he recorded a 147.2 - and was sent away to work off the extra ounces.

Then, after Mosley tallied a 147.1 on his first attempt, he slipped off his gray boxers and weighed in at 146.9. The feat garnered tumultuous applause.

Thirty minutes later, Forrest ended the controversy when, after walking around the block and getting naked again, he was marked at 147.0.

LETHAL LIKE THE "HIT MAN": Al Mitchell, Forrest's co-trainer, doesn't shy away from comparing his fighter to a boxing legend.

At Thursday afternoon's news conference, Mitchell said Forrest reminds him of Thomas "Hit Man" Hearns. The only difference, Mitchell said, is that Forrest is even better than Hearns, a six-time world champion.

"He's a 147(-pounder) that's as tall as Hearns and that's as strong as Hearns," Mitchell said. "But Vernon can box inside. Hearns couldn't box inside. And Vernon's aggressive when he gets hurt. Just ask Mr. Shane."

Although Mosley was knocked down three times in his last fight with Forrest, he snickered at the comparison to Hearns, who was 59-4-1 but lost to "Sugar" Ray Leonard twice.

"I consider (Forrest) a to be a decent fighter," Mosley said. "He's nowhere near the likes of Tommy Hearns."

Forrest agreed.

"I don't think I'm on that level," he said. "He's done way more than I could probably ever do in my career. The only thing I can say is that I beat the "Sugar" man of my generation. He didn't."

MATCH FOR REDEMPTION: Forrest-Mosley II isn't the only hotly contested rematch on tonight's 10-match undercard.

Antonio Tarver (19-1, 16 KOs) will look for revenge when he gets in the ring at 9:30 p.m. to face Eric Harding (21-1-1, 7 KOs) in a match that will be the only other bout televised by HBO.

Although Tarver is a 1996 Olympic bronze medalist, he lost a 12-round unanimous decision to Harding in June 2000 to soil his perfect record. The winner of the bout likely will get a shot at light heavyweight champion Roy Jones Jr., the only fighter to beat Harding.

"I'm just thrilled to death about the fight," Tarver said. "(Harding) is man enough to prove (the last fight) wasn't a fluke. I'm man enough to prove that it was."

TALKIN' TRASH: Here are some of the best barbs thrown by both fighters' camps at Thursday's press conference:

Jack Mosley, Shane's father and trainer: "We didn't get a chance to let Vernon feel the wrath of Shane's punches. He's laughing now, but he won't be laughing after he gets hit with those punches."

Al Mitchell, Forrest's co-trainer: "Shane's got a good chin. He had right hands going up against his head all night (in their first match in January), so he has to have a good chin. I just want to thank Shane for another big payday and a good easy fight."