RIP Pernell “Sweet Pea” Whitaker, One Of The Best To Ever Do It

Boxing legend Pernell Whitaker was killed Sunday night after he was hit by a car in his native Tidewater, Virginia area of Virginia Beach, VA.

He was 55 years old.

According to TMZ, who reported his death, officials received a call around 10:04pm in response to an accident at the intersection of Northampton Boulevard and Baker Road. When the police arrived, they located Whitaker, who was in horrible shape.

Whitaker later succumbed to his injuries and died.

A Legacy Like None Other

Pernell “Sweet Pea” Whitaker is one of the greatest boxers of all time. The four weight class world champion was also an Olympic Gold Medalist, capturing the lightweight title at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles.

Whitaker will forever be known as the first boxing defensive genius before Floyd Mayweather, Jr. took that crown. His slips and ability to avoid being hit are legendary and a trademark many have tried to imitate. “Sweet Pea” also possessed some of the fastest hands of all time.

He was part of the class that produced nine gold medal winners, which included Paul Gonzales (light flyweight), Steve McCrory (flyweight), Meldrick Taylor (featherweight), Jerry Page (light welterweight), Mark Breland (welterweight), Frank Tate (light middleweight), Henry Tillman (heavyweight), and Tyrell Biggs (super heavyweight).

Whitaker was one of the most prolific fighters in the early 80s and through the 90s. He took home his first world title in February 1989 when he won a unanimous decision over Greg Haugen to gain the IBF lightweight title.

A short six months later, Whitaker unified the IBF, WBC and The Ring lightweight titles in his native Norfolk, Virginia. He ran the lightweight division through the early 90s until he jumped to the junior welterweight division, winning the IBF title in 1992.

However, it was his next move to the welterweight division that made it the money-weight ranks, to borrow a term from Deontay Wilder, “til’ this day.”

Whitaker won the lineal and coveted WBC welterweight title against James “Buddy” McGirt and retained it with a high profile draw over Julio Caesar Chavez and wins over Gary Jacobs, Wilfredo Rivera, and a KO of Diosbelys Hurtado.

Whitaker lost his welterweight titles to Oscar de la Hoya in April 1997 and last fought for a world title against Felix Trinidad in 1999, where he lost a unanimous decision. He retired in 2001 after being knocked out for the first time in his career.

Whitaker is survived by his 5 children and legions of fans who will never forget the bright lights that brought out the in-ring beast that was “Sweet Pea”.

RIP Sweet Pea.

Rhett Butler is a Boxing Writer Association of America Journalist, Play-By-Play Commentator, Combat Sports Insider, and Former Mixed Martial Arts and Boxing Promoter. The New York City native honed his skills at various news outlets including but not limited to: TIME Magazine, Money Magazine, CNN's Wolf Blitzer Reports, and more. RhettĀ hosts the PRITTY Left Hook podcast, a polarizing combat sports insider's take featuring the world's biggest names.