Former Boxer Champion Pernell “Sweet Pea” Whitaker passed away at the age of 55 after being struck by a car while crossing the street Sunday evening in Virginia Beach. According to the Virginia Beach Police Department, there will be a further investigation into the incident. There is not expected to be any arrests but the driver of the vehicle remained on the scene following the collision.
Pernell Whitaker, born in Norfolk, Virginia, was a decorated amateur and professional boxer. He began his career in the lightweight division, well-known for his slippery defensive skills and agility in the ring.
Before there was Floyd Mayweather
There was Sweet Pea
R.I.P Pernell Whitaker pic.twitter.com/FRGDPNMyun
— Undefeated Podcast (@podundefeated) July 15, 2019
As an amateur, he accumulated a record of 201-13 with 91 wins by knockout and won a gold medal in the 1984 Summer Olympics.
Pernell Whitaker turned pro in 1985 debuting against boxer Farrain Comeaux, defeating him by TKO on a card that also featured the debut of Evander Holyfield. As a lightweight, Whitaker would go on to hold the WBA, IBF, and WBC lightweight championships from 1988-1991. In 1989, Pernell Whitaker was named the Fighter of the Year by the Ring Magazine.
After briefly holding the IBF Super Lightweight championship in 1992, Whitaker transitioned to the Welterweight division where he held the WBC Welterweight championship from 1993-1997 with an WBA Super Welterwight championship reign in between.
Pernell would go on to finish his professional career with a record of 40-4-1 with 17 wins by knockout. In 2002, Whitaker was named the 10th Greatest Boxer of the Last 80 Years and in 2006, was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame.
Golden Boy is saddened by the death of one the greatest fighters to ever lace a pair of gloves, Pernell "Sweet Pea" Whitaker. The legendary boxer passed away late Sunday night at the age of 55. #RIPPernellWhitaker pic.twitter.com/FK0mcc64Sq
— Golden Boy (@GoldenBoyBoxing) July 15, 2019