Former four-weight world champion and defensive master Pernell Whitaker has tragically died, aged 55, after being hit by a car
In tragic news, former four-weight world champion Pernell Whitaker, one of the finest defensive fighters of all time, has died, aged just 55, after being struck by a car last night (July 14). The boxer formerly known as "Sweet Pea" was hit at an intersection in Virginia Beach and was reportedly pronounced dead on the scene.
Whitaker, who reigned from lightweight all the way up to super-welter, was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2007, his first year of eligibility. A fast and evasive southpaw, Whitaker beat such luminaries as Buddy McGirt (twice), Azumah Nelson and Roger Mayweather. The only blemishes during his peak are widely considered robberies against Jose Luis Ramirez (later avenged) and a draw with Julio Cesar Chavez. His first genuine defeat came when he was on the downslide aged 33 and against a prime Oscar De La Hoya, who was also naturally the bigger man.
For the majority of his time at elite level, Whitaker was virtually untouchable and, while more of a purists’ favourite than a crossover megastar, his influence has been felt ever since he retired in 2001.
An Olympic gold medallist in 1984, Norfolk, Virginia’s Whitaker was in the mid-1990s a longtime consensus pound-for-pound No. 1. He moved into training later in life and worked with Zab Judah, among others.