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Pernell Whitaker

Biographical information

Medals OG
Gold 1
Silver 0
Bronze 0
Total 1
TypeCompeted in Olympic Games
SexMale
Full namePernell•Whitaker
Used namePernell•Whitaker
Nick/petnamesSweet Pea
Born2 January 1964 in Norfolk, Virginia (USA)
Died14 July 2019 in Virginia Beach, Virginia (USA)
Measurements165 cm / 60 kg
AffiliationsNorfolk State Spartans, Norfolk (USA)
NOC United States

Biography

Pernell “Sweet Pea” Whitaker won a silver medal at the 1982 World Championships, then won gold at the 1983 Pan American Games and 1984 Olympics. He had 214 recorded amateur bouts, winning 201, 91 by knockout. Whitaker turned pro shortly after the Los Angeles Olympics and had one of the great professional careers. He won professional titles in four different weight classes and for multiple organizations, holding, at one time, the WBA light-middleweight, WBC welterweight, IBF light-welterweight; WBC, WBA & IBF lightweight; and NABF lightweight titles. He is usually considered among the greatest ever lightweight boxers. In 1989 Whitaker was named Fighter of the Year by Ring Magazine.

Whitaker was undefeated as a pro until March 1988 when he fought José Luis Ramírez for the WBC lightweight title in Levallois, France, losing a split decision. In February 1989 he won his first professional title, defeating Greg Haugen for the IBF lightweight title, and in August 1989, added the WBC title by avenging his defeat to Ramírez. Whitaker went up in weight in the early 90s and won several other titles. Finally, in September 1993, the bout everyone wanted came about – Whitaker against Julio César Chávez, considered at the time the best pound-for-pound boxer in the world. Although Whitaker was ahead on judges’ card, the other two judges called the fight even, and it was declared a draw. In April 1997, Whitaker fought another much heralded bout, against Oscar De La Hoya, with De La Hoya winning a unanimous decision.

Whitaker fought through 2001, retiring with a record of 40 wins (17 by KO), 4 losses, and 1 draw. In 2002 he was ranked by Ring Magazine as the 10th greatest boxer of the last 80 years. Whitaker was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2006. He later became a boxing trainer in his home state of Virginia. He was killed in Virginia Beach when he was walking on a street and was struck by a car.

Results

Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal As
1984 Summer Olympics Boxing USA Pernell Whitaker
Lightweight, Men (Olympic) 1 Gold

Special Notes