Pernell Whitaker
Personal information
Real name: Pernell Whitaker
Nickname(s): Sweet Pea
Nationality: American
Date of birth: (1964-01-02) January 2, 1964 (age 56)
Place of birth: Norfolk, Virginia, USA
Personal Statistics
Reach: 175cm
Boxing career information
Pernell Whitaker
Medal record
Competitor for Flag of the United States.svg.png United States
Men's Boxing
Olympic Games
Gold Los Angeles 1984 Lightweight
World Amateur Championships
Silver Munich 1982 Lightweight

Pernell Whitaker (born January 2, 1964 in Norfolk, Virginia), nicknamed "Sweet Pea," is a professional boxing trainer and retired American professional boxer. Whitaker was the lightweight silver medalist at the 1982 World Championships, followed by the gold medalist at the 1983 Pan American Games and the 1984 Olympics. Whitaker then embarked on a pro career in which he became world champion in four different weight divisions. During his career, he fought world champions such as Julio César Chávez, Oscar De La Hoya and Félix Trinidad. For his achievements, he was named the 1989 Fighter of the year by Ring Magazine.

Whitaker is also a former WBA Light Middleweight Champion, WBC Welterweight Champion, IBF Light Welterweight Champion, WBC, WBA & IBF Lightweight Champion and NABF Lightweight Champion. He is univerasally heralded as one of the top 5 lightweights of all time.

After his retirement, Whitaker returned into the world of boxing as a trainer. Among his trained boxers are Zab Judah, Dorin Spivey, Joel Julio and Calvin Brock. In 2002, Ring Magazine ranked him at number 10 in their list of 'The 100 Greatest Fighters of the Last 80 Years.' On December 7, 2006, Whitaker was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame, in his first year of eligibility.

Fighting style Edit

Whitaker was known for his outstanding defensive skills and for being a strong counterpuncher. He was not an over-powering hitter on offense but applied a steady attack while, at the same time, being extremely slippery and difficult to hit with a solid blow.

Amateur career Edit

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 says that he has 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 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.

Professional career Edit

Lightweight Edit

In just his eleventh and twelfth pro bouts, Whitaker beat Alfredo Layne on December 20, 1986 and former WBA Super Featherweight title holder Roger Mayweather on March 28, 1987. Whitaker won both bouts before hometown crowds at the Norfolk Scope, less than a mile from where he lived as a child in a Norfolk housing project. Whitaker would fight nine times in the Scope arena during his career.

On March 12, 1988, he challenged José Luis Ramírez for the WBC Lightweight title in Levallois, France. He suffered his first pro defeat when the judges awarded a split decision to Ramirez. The decision was highly controversial, with most feeling that Whitaker had won the fight with something to spare. In his 1999 edition of the 'World Encyclopedia of Boxing,' Harry Mullan stated that the decision in this bout was "generally considered to be a disgrace."

Undisputed Champion Edit

Whitaker trudged on, winning a decision over Greg Haugen for the IBF Lightweight title on February 18, 1989, becoming the first boxer to knock Haugen down by dropping him in the sixth round. He then added the vacant WBC belt by avenging his loss to Ramirez on August 20.

Now a champion, Whitaker proceeded to dominate boxing's middle divisions over the first half of the 1990s. In 1990, he defended his Lightweight title against future champion Freddie Pendleton and Super Featherweight Champion Azumah Nelson of Ghana. On August 11, 1990, he knocked out Juan Nazario in one round to win the vacant The Ring and WBA titles, becoming the first Undisputed Lightweight Champion since Roberto Durán. His highlight of 1991 was a win over Jorge Páez and a fight against European Champion Poli Díaz that ended in another win.

Light Welterweight Edit

In 1992, he began his ascent in weight, winning the IBF Light Welterweight title from Colombian puncher Rafael Pineda on July 18.

Welterweight Edit

On March 6, 1993, he decisioned James (Buddy) McGirt to become the Lineal and WBC Welterweight Champion.

Julio César Chávez Edit

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 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 scoring in favor of Whitaker. As in his first fight with José Luis Ramírez, Whitaker was not awarded a decision victory, this time having to settle for a draw. Sports Illustrated featured a cover titled "ROBBED!" after the conclusion of this fight[1] and believed that Whitaker had won 9 of the 12 rounds in the fight.[2] The now defuncted Boxing Illustrated magazine had a headline urging its buyers not to buy the current issue if they really believed the fight was a draw.[3] Chávez stated after the fight: "I felt I was forcing the fight ... he just kept holding me too much, he was throwing too many low blows too."[4]

Whitaker continued on to dominate for the next few years, defending his Welterweight title in a rematch against McGirt on October 1, 1994.

For good measure, in his next fight on March 4, 1995, Whitaker added Julio César Vásquez's WBA Light Middleweight title to his collection but remained at welterweight to successfully defend his WBC belt against Scotland's Gary Jacobs on August 26, 1995.

Oscar De La Hoya Edit

He met Oscar De La Hoya on April 12, 1997, in Las Vegas, Nevada. Whitaker succeeded in making De La Hoya look bad through his crafty defense, but he was unable to mount a sufficient offense to convince the judges. Despite receiving an official knockdown and outlanding De La Hoya in overall punches & connect percentage (according to CompuBox stats), De La Hoya won by a disputed unanimous decision. At the end of the fight, the judges' scores were 111-115, 110-116, 110-116.[5] Although the decision was controversial in nature, it wasn't considered to be a blatant robbery like the Chavez or Rimerez fights.

De La Hoya himself didn't seem too pleased with his performance and had hinted at a possible rematch to prove that he could do better. However, his promoter at that time, Bob Arum, declined the notion.[6]

Felix Trinidad and farewell fight Edit

On February 20, 1999, Whitaker suffered his first sound defeat against the much bigger, much fresher Félix Trinidad, gamely taking the Puerto Rican the distance.[7] The bout was for the latter's IBF Welterweight title. The fight began with both boxers displaying aggressive styles, which included excessive pushing. In the following rounds, both boxers used their jabs most of the time, with Trinidad gaining an advantage when Whitaker attempted to attack inside, eventually scoring a knockdown in round two.[7] In the fourth, fifth and sixth rounds the fighters exchanged combinations.[7] Later in the fight, both boxers fell to the floor in what were ruled as "accidental slips."[7] On the seventh round, Whitaker displayed more offense, trading power punches with Trinidad, but the champion retained control in the fight's tempo during the eight, ninth and tenth rounds.[7] In the last round, Whitaker, with a badly swollen right eye, displayed a purely defensive stance, avoiding his opponent throughout the round while Trinidad continued on the offensive until the fight concluded. The judges gave the champion scores of 117–111, 118–109 and 118–109.[7]

His last fight came on April 27, 2001, against journeyman Carlos Bojorquez. The former Undisputed Lightweight Champion jumped into the ring at 155 pounds. Whitaker broke his clavicle in round four and was forced to retire; at the time of the stoppage Whitaker was trailing in all the judges' scorecards by 28-29. Following this fight, Whitaker officially announced his retirement. He finished his professional career with an official record of 40-4-1 (17 knockouts).

In 2002, The Ring ranked Whitaker as the 10th Greatest Fighter of the Last 80 Years.

On December 7, 2006, Whitaker was inducted in the International Boxing Hall of Fame along with contemporaries Roberto Durán and Ricardo López. They were all elected in their first year of eligibility.

Nickname Edit

As a youngster, Whitaker was known to friends and family as "Pete" and when he began to emerge as a top amateur, fans in his hometown of Norfolk used to serenade him with chants of "Sweet Pete." This was misinterpreted by a local sportswriter as "Sweet Pea." When this erroneous report came out in the local newspaper, the new nickname stuck.

Personal life Edit

Pernell was married to Rovanda Whitaker until they divorced. They had four children together: Dominique, Pernell Jr., Dantavious and Devon.

After Boxing Edit

In June 2002, Whitaker was convicted of cocaine possession after a judge found he violated the terms of a previous sentence by overdosing on cocaine in March.

As of December 2005, Whitaker has taken on the role as trainer in his home state of Virginia. While the decline of speed and agility have pushed him into retirement, his knowledge of the ring and components have led him to seek out up-and-coming boxers and train them to fight the way he did.

His first fighter, Dorin Spivey, had several matches scheduled for 2006. Recently, he's been training heralded young prospect Joel Julio.

Pernell Whitaker is also the trainer for heavyweight Calvin Brock who, as recently as November 2006, fought for the IBF and IBO titles against Wladimir Klitschko, where Brock was knocked out in the 7th round.

In 2010, he was inducted into the Hampton Roads Sports Hall of Fame, honoring those who have contributed to sports in southeastern Virginia.

Recently, Whitaker also became the new head trainer of former Undisputed Welterweight Champion Zab Judah,[8] who defeated Kaizer Mabuza in March 2011 to win the vacant IBF Welterweight title.

Professional boxing record Edit

40 Wins (17 knockouts, 23 decisions), 4 Losses (1 knockouts, 3 decisions), 1 Draw, 1 No Contest[9]
Res. Record Opponent Type Rd., Time Date Location Notes
Loss40-4-1Mexico Carlos Bojorquez TKO 4 (10), 0:27 2001-04-27 United States Caesars Tahoe, Stateline, Nevada
Loss40-3-122x20px Félix Trinidad UD 12 1999-02-20 United States Madison Square Garden, New York, New York For IBF Welterweight title.
NC 1 NC22x20px Andrey Pestryaev ND 12 1997-10-17 United States Foxwoods Resort Casino, Mashantucket, Connecticut WBA Welterweight Title Eliminator.
Whitaker's post-fight test positive for cocaine.
Loss40-2-1United States Oscar De La Hoya UD 12 1997-04-12 United States Thomas & Mack Center, Las Vegas, Nevada Lost WBC & Lineal Welterweight titles.
Win40-1-122x20px Diosbelys Hurtado TKO 11 (12), 1:52 1997-01-24 United States Atlantic City Convention Center, Atlantic City, New Jersey Retained WBC & Lineal Welterweight titles.
Win39-1-122x20px Wilfredo Rivera UD 12 1996-09-20 United States James Knight Convention Center, Miami, Florida Retained WBC & Lineal Welterweight titles.
Win38-1-122x20px Wilfredo Rivera SD 12 1996-04-12 22x20px Atlantis Casino, Cupecoy Bay, St Maarten Retained WBC & Lineal Welterweight titles.
Win37-1-122x20px Jake Rodriguez KO 6 (12), 2:45 1995-11-18 United States Atlantic City Convention Center, Atlantic City, New Jersey Retained WBC & Lineal Welterweight titles.
Win36-1-122x20px Gary Jacobs UD 12 1995-08-26 United States Historic Atlantic City Convention Hall, Atlantic City, New Jersey Retained WBC & Lineal Welterweight titles.
Win35-1-1Argentina Julio César Vásquez UD 12 1995-03-04 United States Atlantic City Convention Center, Atlantic City, New Jersey Won WBA Light Middleweight title.
Win34-1-1United States James McGirt UD 12 1994-10-01 United States The Scope, Norfolk, Virginia Retained WBC & Lineal Welterweight titles.
Win33-1-122x20px Santos Cardona UD 12 1994-04-09 United States The Scope, Norfolk, Virginia Retained WBC & Lineal Welterweight titles.
Draw32-1-1Mexico Julio César Chávez MD 12 1993-09-10 United States Alamodome, San Antonio, Texas Retained WBC & Lineal Welterweight titles.
Win32-1United States James McGirt UD 12 1993-03-06 United States Madison Square Garden, New York, New York Won WBC & Lineal Welterweight titles.
Win31-1United States Ben Baez KO 1 (10), 0:37 1992-12-01 United States Virginia Beach, Virginia
Win30-122x20px Rafael Pineda UD 12 1992-07-18 United States The Mirage Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada Won IBF Light Welterweight title.
Win29-1United States Jerry Smith KO 1 (10) 1992-05-22 Mexico El Toreo de Cuatro Caminos, Mexico City, Distrito Federal
Win28-1United States Harold Brazier UD 10 1992-01-18 United States Pennsylvania Hall, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Win27-1Mexico Jorge Paez UD 12 1991-10-05 United States Reno-Sparks Convention Center, Reno, Nevada Retained IBF, WBC, WBA & The Ring Lightweight titles.
Win26-122x20px Policarpo Díaz UD 12 1991-07-27 United States The Scope, Norfolk, Virginia Retained IBF, WBC, WBA & The Ring Lightweight titles.
Win25-1United States Anthony Jones UD 12 1991-02-23 United States Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, Nevada Retained IBF, WBC, WBA & The Ring Lightweight titles.
Win24-1United States Benjie Marquez UD 10 1990-11-22 22x20px Sports Palace, Madrid, Comunidad de Madrid
Win23-122x20px Juan Nazario KO 1 (12), 2:59 1990-08-11 United States Caesars Tahoe, Stateline, Nevada Retained IBF, WBC and won vacant The Ring & WBA Lightweight titles.
Win22-122x20px Azumah Nelson UD 12 1990-05-19 United States Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, Nevada Retained IBF & WBC Lightweight titles.
Win21-1United States Freddie Pendleton UD 12 1990-02-03 United States Atlantic City Convention Center, Atlantic City, New Jersey Retained IBF & WBC Lightweight titles.
Win20-1Mexico Martin Galvan TKO 3 (?) 1989-12-11 22x20px Paris, France
Win19-1Mexico Jose Luis Ramirez UD 12 1989-08-20 United States The Scope, Norfolk, Virginia Retained IBF and won vacant WBC Lightweight titles.
Win18-1Mexico Louie Lomeli TKO 3 (12), 2:43 1989-04-30 United States The Scope, Norfolk, Virginia Retained IBF Lightweight Title.
Win17-1United States Greg Haugen UD 12 1989-02-18 United States The Coliseum, Hampton, Virginia Won IBF Lightweight title.
Win16-1United States Antonio Carter TKO 4 (10), 2:37 1988-11-02 United States Virginia Beach, Virginia
Loss15-1Mexico Jose Luis Ramirez SD 12 1988-03-12 22x20px Stade de Levallois, Levallois-Perret, Hauts-de-Seine For WBC Lightweight title.
Win15-0Mexico Davey Montana TKO 4 (10), 2:14 1987-12-19 22x20px Paris, France
Win14-022x20px Miguel Santana TKO 6 (12), 1:02 1987-12-19 United States The Scope, Norfolk, Virginia Retained NABF and won USBA Lightweight title.
Win13-0United States Jim Flores KO 1 (?) 1987-06-28 United States Las Americas Arena, Houston, Texas
Win12-0United States Roger Mayweather UD 12 1987-03-28 United States The Scope, Norfolk, Virginia Won vacant NABF Lightweight title.
Win11-022x20px Alfredo Layne UD 10 1986-12-20 United States The Scope, Norfolk, Virginia
Win10-0Mexico Rafael Gandarilla UD 10 1986-10-09 United States Felt Forum, New York, New York
Win9-022x20px Rafael Williams UD 10 1986-08-16 United States Sands Casino Hotel, Atlantic City, New Jersey
Win8-0United States John Montes UD 10 1986-03-09 United States The Coliseum, Hampton, Virginia
Win7-0United States Jesus De la Cruz KO 1 (8), 2:22 1985-11-12 United States Norville, Texas
Win6-0United States Teddy Hatfield KO 3 (8), 2:42 1985-08-29 United States The Omni, Atlanta, Georgia
Win5-0United States John Senegal TKO 2 (8), 1:29 1985-07-20 United States The Scope, Norfolk, Virginia
Win4-0United States Nick Parker UD 6 1985-04-20 United States Memorial Coliseum, Corpus Christi, Texas
Win3-0United States Mike Golden TKO 4 (6), 2:54 1985-03-13 United States The Scope, Norfolk, Virginia
Win2-0United States Danny Avery TKO 4 (6) 1985-01-20 United States Harrah's Marina Hotel Casino, Atlantic City, New Jersey
Win1-0United States Farrain Comeaux TKO 2 (6), 2:50 1984-11-15 United States Madison Square Garden, New York, New York Whitaker's professional debut.

See also Edit

References Edit

External links Edit

Honorary titles
Preceded by
Mike Tyson
Ring Magazine Fighter of the Year
Succeeded by
Julio César Chávez
Preceded by
Mike Tyson
BWAA Fighter of the Year
Succeeded by
Evander Holyfield
Preceded by
Riddick Bowe
BWAA Fighter of the Year
Succeeded by
George Foreman
Sporting positions
Preceded by
Greg Haugen
IBF Lightweight Champion
February 18, 1989 – 1992
Succeeded by
Freddie Pendleton
Preceded by
Julio César Chávez
WBC Lightweight Champion
August 20, 1989 – 1992
Succeeded by
Miguel Ángel González
The Ring Magazine Lightweight Champion
August 11, 1990 – January 14, 1992
Succeeded by
Floyd Mayweather, Jr.
Preceded by
Juan Nazario
WBA Lightweight Champion
August 11, 1990 – 1992
Succeeded by
Joey Gamache
Preceded by
Rafael Pineda
IBF Light Welterweight Champion
July 18, 1992 – 1993
Succeeded by
Charles Murray
Preceded by
Buddy McGirt
WBC Welterweight Champion
March 6, 1993 – April 12, 1997
Succeeded by
Oscar De La Hoya
Lineal Welterweight Champion
March 6, 1993 – April 12, 1997
Preceded by
Julio César Vásquez
WBA Light Middleweight Champion
March 4, 1995 – 1995
Succeeded by
Carl Daniels
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