Pernel Whitaker, the gold medal boxer and four division champion died on Sunday after he was hit by a car in Virginia Beach, Virginia. According to the report by the Virginia Beach Police Department, Whitaker died at the scene of the accident at the age of 55.
He had a career of 17 years in a lightweight, light welterweight, welterweight, and light middleweight and had many titles over those 17 years. Whitaker’s fame rose when he defeated Luis Ortiz as he won the gold medal for the United States at the Olympic Games held in Los Angeles back in 1984. He started boxing at an early age (9), as he had a big amateur career with a professional record of 40-4-1 with 17 knockouts. He was known by the name of Sweet Pea.
According to CBS Sports, Whitaker was known as one of the best defensive fighters of all-time, the southpaw was widely considered the pound-for-pound best boxer in the world during the mid-1990s as he racked up a 40-1-1 mark before losing his welterweight titles to rising star Oscar De La Hoya on April 12, 1997. Whitaker would never officially win another fight and retired four years later.
A lot of celebrities on social media paid their respect to the boxing legend with some of them being:
Floyd Mayweather: “RIP champ, one of the best fighters to ever do it.’’
Michael Vick: “Sweet Pea’ Whitaker was our hometown legend and the greatest of all time. My prayers are with his family and loved ones.’’
Earvin Magic Johnson: “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!’’
Eddie Hearn: “Rest in eternal peace Pernell ‘Sweet Pea’’ Whitaker – IMO the greatest defensive fighter of all time.’’
Terrence Crawford: “Wow I can’t believe this!!! Somebody that I’ve always loved to watch and wanted to meet so bad and not it will never happen. SMH RIP SWEET PEA you will forever be one of the greatest to ever lace em up.’’
Lou DiBella: “Oh no, no, no… Sweat Pea was one of the greatest fighters to ever lace up gloves. Waking up to this news just has me GUTTED. #Boxing has lost one of its best and I’ve lost a friend. Loved him. No matter what he was going through, Pete had a great heart. #ripsweetpea.’’