Shine Forbes

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Shine Forbes
  • Name: Shine Forbes
  • Birth Name: Kermit Forbes
  • Nickname: " Battln Geech "
  • Hometown: Key West, Florida
  • Birthdate:  ?/?/1916
  • Died: 2/16/2000
  • Height: 5 feet 6 inches
  • Weight: 135-165lbs.
  • Stance: Southpaw
  • Cornerman: Jeff Baker (1996 Exhibition)
  • Record: 18-2-0 *unconfirmed (combined amateur/pro fights?)



According to an article written by Margaria Fichtner in the Miami Herald newspaper on July 18, 1999, Kermit "Shine" Forbes was a former boxer who had worked as a sparring partner for famed writer Ernest Hemingway.

Forbes met Hemingway on Thanksgiving eve in 1936; Forbes was working the corner of novice Alfred "Black Pie" Colebrooks at a fightcard in Bahama Village, in Key West. Colebrooks was taking a beating from Cuba's Joe Mills and Forbes threw in the towel, however, the referee threw the towel back out. An argument broke out between Forbes and the referee; ending up with the ring official being slugged. Shine later learned that the referee that he had hit was famed writer Ernest Hemingway. Forbes went to Hemingway's home to apologize, and the two became friends. Forbes said he sparred with Hemingway numerous times, and that the legendary writer even paid Forbes to box local fighters James "Iron Bear" Roberts, Alfred "Black Pie" Colebrooks, Eka Sweeting, and Victor Laurie.

According to an article in the London, England newspaper, The Independent, Forbes said that he boxed James "Iron Baby" Roberts in a ring on Hemingway's coral rock mansion on December 25, 1938. Among those viewing the match, was former world heavyweight champion, Gene Tunney. Forbes said that he and Roberts split a purse of two hundred dollars.

Forbes was an up-and-coming prospect who fought in such Key West locations as the Cuban Club, or the Strand on Duval Street. Ringside seats were a dollar and general admission was 75 cents. Lorian Hemingway, grand-daughter of Ernest Heminway, said in an article in Outside Magazine, " Shines a professional fighter with a lifetime of experience." In the same article, Forbes remarked, " Amateur fights, pro fights, didn't matter." He went on to say, " I fought 20-some real fights. Only lost 2."

Forbes said his first job was as a dock diver. After the 1935 hurricane he took a job on Conch Key helping to widen the bridge. Forbes served in the U.S. Army during World War II, and according to the book, Hemingway's Key West, Forbes was a ranking lightweight boxer in Army Boxing Tournaments. After the war, he worked at Key West's old Naval Hospital for 32 years as a cook. For a number of years, Forbes trained a host of boxers from Alfred "Black Pie" Colebrooks in 1936, to Ron Casey (Florida) in the 1960s.

Forbes became a well-known figure in the city of Key West, Florida. He was extremely popular among fans during the Ernest Hemingway Festival.

Forbes had a series of exhibitions throughout the years. He had one with Micheal Palin of PBS television. Also, on the Hemingway Day Festival in 1996, Forbes scored a 3rd round knockout (Time 0:20) over 220 pound Randy Wayne White at Ocean Key House Docks near Sloppy Joe's in Key West, Florida. The exhibition was scheduled for 3 one minute rounds with 10 ounce gloves. White was decked in round three and referee Jeffrey P. Lindsay stopped the fight.

On Wednesday, June 30, 1999, according to PR Newswire, Forbes fought Randy Wayne White at the Hooters Restaurant on Duval Street in Key West, Florida. The result of this match is unknown.


In the same Miami Herald article of July 19, 1999, the 83 year old Forbes fought a scheduled 3-round exhibition at the Hooters Restaurant on Duval Street in Key West, Florida, against Randy Wayne White to honor the 100th Birthday Celebration of his old friend Ernest Hemingway. It was Forbes 4th meeting with the 48-year-old White. As in their previous matches, Forbes overcame a series of knockdowns to score a victory. In their July 19th match, Forbes was knocked down once in the 1st round and once in the second round. In the third, Forbes connected with a strong right and White was counted out by referee Bob Smith.

On Wednesday, February 17, 2000, Shine Forbes died of pancreatic cancer at the Lower Keys Medical Center; he was 84-years-old.

The citizens of Key West honored the memory of Forbes; The Kermit "Shine" Forbes Award is presented each year to a writer with a unique and courageous storytelling voice, at the Hemingway Day Festival.


  • Hemingway's Key West, 2002, pages 25, 26, 88, 182, by Stuart B. McIver.
  • Remembering Ernest Hemingway, 168pp., softcover/hardcover, by James Plath and Frank Simons.
  • Last Flight Out:True Tales of Adventure, Travel, and Fishing, by Randy Wayne White.
  • Outside Magazine, November 1996: AND IN THIS CORNER, THE GHOST OF ERNEST HEMINGWAY, by Randy Wayne White.
  • PR Newswire, Monday, June 28, 1999: Forbes to fight again at Hooters.
  • Miami Herald, Sunday, July 18, 1999, page 26A: HEMINGWAY'S LAST CHUM SPARRING PARTNER REMEMBERS PAPA ON FAMED WRITER'S 100TH BIRTHDAY, by Margaria Fichtner (Miami Herald Book Editor).
  • Keynoter, ?/?/1999: SHINE ON MR. FORBES, SHINE ON, by Jessica Machetta.
  • The Independent, February 19, 2000: OBITUARY: SHINE FORBES, by Rubert Cornwell
  • Miami Herald, February 18, 2000, 4B Local: HEMINGWAY DAYS 'SHINE' FORBES DIES.
  • Miami Herald, February 18, 2000, Keys, page 1B: "SHINE" FORBES, HEMINGWAY DAYS FESTIVAL STAR, DIES.
  • Miami Herald, February 24, 2000: Keys, page 1B: KEY WEST FUNDS BEING RAISED FOR FORBES FUNERAL.
  • This Week News, Thursday, June 10, 2004: RANDY WAYNE WHITE: TAMPA BURN, by Craig McDonald.