The boxing community has lost a real one.
Legendary four-division champion and Olympic gold-medal winning boxer, Pernell Whitaker died Sunday night after being hit by a vehicle in Virginia Beach, Virginia, according to TMZ. The 55-year-old was pronounced dead at the scene.
Whitaker, known famously as “Sweet Pea,” boxed for 17 years and held titles at lightweight, light welterweight, welterweight and light middleweight. His claim to fame was defeating Luis Ortiz to win the gold medal for the United States at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics. His career started at the early age of 9 and he had an extensive amateur career prior to compiling a stellar professional record of 40-4-1 with 17 knockouts.
Floyd Mayweather called Whitaker “one of the best to ever do it.”
“Sweet Pea” was also a member of the International Boxing Hall of Fame who helped to name him “Fighter of the Year” by Ring Magazine in 1989. He still holds the longest unified lightweight championship reign with six defenses. Whitaker began training fighters in his retirement, most famously heavyweight title contender Calvin Brock and former undisputed welterweight champion Zab Judah.
Social media is mourning the loss of the champion.
Our thoughts are with his friends and family during this time.