Pernell “Sweet Pea” Whitaker!
Pernell Whitaker Sr. (January 2, 1964 – July 14, 2019) was an American professional boxer who competed from 1984 to 2001, and subsequently worked as a boxing trainer. He was a four-weight world champion, having won titles at lightweight, light welterweight, welterweight, and light middleweight; the undisputed lightweight title; and the lineal lightweight and welterweight titles.
In 1989, Whitaker was named Fighter of the Year by The Ring magazine and the Boxing Writers Association of America. He currently holds the longest unified lightweight championship reign in boxing history at six title defenses. Whitaker is generally regarded as one of the greatest defensive boxers of all-time.
As an amateur, Whitaker won a silver medal in the lightweight division at the 1982 World Championships, followed by gold at the 1983 Pan American Games and 1984 Olympics. After his retirement in 2001, Whitaker returned to the sport as a trainer. In 2002, The Ring ranked him tenth in their list of “The 100 Greatest Fighters of the Last 80 Years”. In 2006, Whitaker was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame, in his first year of eligibility.
Whitaker had an extensive amateur boxing career, having started at the age of nine. He had 214 amateur fights, winning 201, 91 of them by knockouts, though he said that he had up to 500 amateur fights. He lost to two-time Olympic Gold medalist Ángel Herrera Vera at the final of the World Championships 1982 but beat him four other times, notably in the final of the Pan American Games 1983 in Caracas. He crowned his amateur career with an Olympic gold medal in 1984, beating Luis Ortiz to obtain it.
Whitaker was gaining momentum and boxing experts and fans felt that he needed to win against the pound for pound best boxer in the world: Julio César Chávez. The two met in a welterweight superfight simply named “The Fight” on September 10, 1993 in San Antonio, Texas. In the eyes of many of the spectators, Whitaker outboxed the Mexican legend. However, 2 of the 3 judges saw an even bout with the other judge scoring in favor of Whitaker, resulting in a majority draw.
Sports Illustrated featured a cover titled “ROBBED!” after the conclusion of this fight and believed that Whitaker had won 9 of the 12 rounds in the fight. The now defunct Boxing Illustrated magazine, whose editor-in-chief was boxing historian Bert Sugar, had a heading on the cover of its post-fight edition telling readers not to buy the issue if they really believed “The Fight” was a draw.
Whitaker continued on to dominate for the next few years, defending his welterweight title in a rematch against McGirt on October 1, 1994.