Pernell Whitaker, a well-known, much admired Olympic gold medallist and four-division champion died at the age of 55. As per to the reports, he has died after being hit by a car in Virginia.
According to the Police in Virginia Beach, the former fighter was hit by a car on Sunday night. The driver of the car has also remained on the scene. The police also said that they are investigating the circumstances of the death.
Pernell was considered to be one of the best defensive fighters ever and was also popularly known by his nickname Sweet Pea and it also fits perfectly.
He made his pro debut on national television after which he advanced very quickly. He started fighting for a major title by his 17th fight, a defeat to Jose Luis Ramirez that he would hit back the following year.
At the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles, Whitaker won a gold medal which was one of nine U.S. boxing champions that year. Whoever has seen his fight, they must be fully known that he was a master of hitting and not getting hit back, a southpaw which hardly ever gave an opponent any chance to land a clean shot.
But Whitaker was not only known for his success but also as the victim of one of the most horrible decisions in boxing, a draw that permitted Julio Cesar Chavez to go on undefeated in their welterweight fight before a crowd of more than 60,000 at the Alamodome in San Antonio in the yea 1993.
Kathy Duva, who was his longtime promoter, said, “When you see the list of greatest boxing robberies in history they were both No. 1 and No. 2 on the list,”
“And every list of top 10 fighters of all time he was on, too.”
Jim Lampley, who is the long-time HBO boxing announcer, said in a phone interview, “He could stand in front of you and you couldn’t find him,”
He added, “He would smile at you and demonstrate to you while smiling, how remarkably easy this was for him.”
Whitaker was a winner and champ in four weight classes, where he won his first one with a 1989 decision over Greg Haugen at lightweight, in a professional career that crossed 17 years. He ended with a record of 40-4-1 and was also a first-ballot choice into the International Boxing Hall of Fame.
Many people, close friends, and boxing community have also reacted on his sudden death. Oscar De La Hoya tweeted, “I’m deeply saddened by the loss of this great champion, who gave a tremendous amount of joy to those who watched him.”
Oscar De La Hoya, in another tweet, said, “It was an honor to share the ring with him. In terms of his defense and ring generalship, Pernell Whitaker was the best fighter that I ever fought. On behalf of everyone at Golden Boy, we send our prayers and condolences to his family and friends.”
Mike Tyson tweeted, “I’m truly lost for words to hear Pernell “Sweet Pea” Whitaker is no longer with us. He was a flawless fighter. Condolences to his family.”
Magic Johnson tweeted, “One of the greatest boxers of my lifetime and my good friend Pernell “Sweet Pea” Whitaker passed away last night. During his long and successful career, I never missed one of his fights. To me, he was one of the top five greatest boxers ever!”
His other tweet reads, “Pernell “Sweet Pea” Whitaker was in the class of Muhammad Ali and Sugar Ray Leonard as one of the most entertaining fighters in my lifetime. I’m praying for his family during this difficult time. Rest in Peace, my friend.”