Former four weight division world boxing champion, Pernell “Sweet Pea” Whitaker, passed away on July 14, 2019 after being hit by a car while crossing the street around 10:00 PM on Northampton Boulevard and Baker Road in Virginia Beach, VA.
Whitaker, 55, was an Olympic gold medalist at the 1984 Olympic games in Los Angeles. He was best known for being a very elusive southpaw with slick defensive moves.
He retired from boxing in 2001, after a TKO loss to Carlos Bojorquez, in the fight he broke his clavicle in the fourth run and couldn’t continue.
He was inducted to the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2006 in his first year of eligibility as a first ballot hall of famer.
He fought some of the greatest fighters of his era from Roger Mayweather, Jose Luis Ramirez, Greg Haugen, James “Buddy” McGirt, Azumah Nelson, Julio Cesar Chavez, Wilfredo Rivera, Oscar De La Hoya, and Felix “Tito” Trinidad.
His most famous moment came when he fought Julio Cesar Chavez at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas on September 10, 1993. The fight ended in a controversial draw, many boxing pundits and reporters were so disgusted by the decision and felt Whitaker won the majority of the rounds.
He fought at lightweight (135lbs), light welterweight (140lbs), welterweight (147lbs), and junior middleweight (154lbs) winning a title in each division. He was one of the throwback fighters at only 5 feet 6 inches tall but willing to fight much bigger men to prove he was the best in the world.
Whitaker was a colorful an confident personality during his boxing years. He was known to party before fights and many times his talent was so great he would win fights partying the night before big matches.
During his retirement he became a boxing trainer training some local talent and established pros like heavyweight contender Calvin Brock and former world champion Zab “Super” Judah.
Rest in Peace Sweet Pea (January 2, 1964 – July 14, 2019)