Boxing legend, Pernell “Sweet Pea” Whitaker was struck and killed by a car on Sunday in Virginia Beach, Virginia. He was 55.
According to the Virginia Police Department, as reported by ESPN, the incident occurred around 10 p.m., as Pernell was walking at an intersection. The driver stayed on the scene, but Pernell succumbed to his injuries. The incident is currently under investigation.
Often referred to as the best defensive fighter in history, Whitaker was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2006, after winning world titles in four weight classes throughout his career. He won a gold medal in 1984 and was the longtime pound-for-pound king for much of the 80s and 90s, during which time, he became the undisputed lightweight world champion.
Although Whitaker’s professional career ended with a record of 40-4-1, 17 knockouts, many believed he only truly lost twice, with him being robbed in the other two: the lightweight world title loss in ’88 to Jose Luis Ramirez and the ’97 in the welterweight loss to Oscar De La Hoya.
“I loved PW, and he loved me — there was no doubt,” Main Events promoter Kathy Duva said of Whitaker’s untimely death. “He was this person who was only comfortable in the ring. He had demons, but when he was in the ring, that was when he was in control and when he was happy and when he was the very best at what he did, and he wanted to show that to everybody.”
Our condolences to the Whitaker family!