Pernell Whitaker died tragically on Sunday night after being struck by a vehicle in Virginia Beach. Whitaker, who won boxing titles in four different weight classes in his 16-year career, was pronounced dead at the scene. The 2006 Boxing Hall of Fame inductee was 55-years-old.
The Virginian Pilot reported that the driver remained at the scene when police arrived and identified Whitaker as the victim. He was struck at the intersection of Northampton Boulevard and Baker Road around 10 p.m. Sunday evening. The road was shut down for a few hours for the investigation.
Whitaker is regarded as one of the greatest defensive boxers during his time in the sport. He retired from boxing in 2001; his last bout was against Carlos Bojorquez where he lost via TKO in the fourth round. Prior to that, he faced Felix Trinidad for the IBF welterweight title at Madison Square Garden in New York City in 1999, he lost by unanimous decision for Trinidad. He also went the distance against Oscar De La Hoya losing by decision and Julio Cesar Chavez where they fought to a draw.
Whitaker managed to stick around boxing when he retired as a trainer. He trained Dorin Spivey, Joel Julio, and was Zab Judah’s head trainer in 2011 when he faced Kaizer Mabuza for the vacant IBF junior welterweight title. Judah defeated Mabuza in a 12 round split decision. Judah was one of many boxers that looked up to Whitaker’s style of counterpunching from a southpaw stance. Floyd Mayweather posted a photo they took together from a day before his death saying Whitaker “was the best to ever do it.”
The Virginian Pilot reported they reached out Monday morning to his son, Devon Whitaker for a statement where said his father was, “a cool guy.”
What is your favorite memory of Pernell “Sweet Pea” Whitaker?