Pernell Whitaker

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Name: Pernell Whitaker
Alias: Sweet Pea
Hometown: Norfolk, Virginia, USA
Birthplace: Norfolk, Virginia, USA
Died: 2019-07-14 (Age:55)
Stance: Southpaw
Height: 168cm
Reach: 175cm
Pro Boxer: Record
Amateur Boxer: Record

Amateur Achievements

1984 Los Angeles Olympics
  • Amateur Record: 201-14
  • Defeated 1 Olympic Gold Medalist: Angel Herrera.
  • 1982 National AAU Lightweight Champion. Results:
  • Lightweight Silver Medalist for the United States at the 1982 World Championships in Munich, Germany. Results:
    • Ismaldi Pineda (Colombia) W 3 (5-0)
    • Christopher Ossai (Nigeria) W 3 (3-2)
    • Hussein Khalili (Kenya) W 3 (5-0)
    • Milivoj Labudovic (Yugoslavia) W 3 (5-0)
    • Angel Herrera (Cuba) L 3 (2-3)
  • Lightweight Gold Medalist for the United States at the 1983 Pan American Games in Caracus, Venezuela. Results:
  • Lightweight Gold Medalist for the United States at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles, California. Results:

International Boxing Hall of Fame Record

International Boxing Hall of Fame Record

Professional Record

Sports Illustrated: October 10, 1994

Championship Record

Variant Records

Minor & Regional Titles

Awards & Recognition


  • Whitaker is often called Pete by his family and friends. When he was an amateur, they would chant "Sweet Pete" during his bouts. A local newspaper reporter misheard the chant and wrote that the crowd was chanting "Sweet Pea." After it appeared in the newspaper, the "Sweet Pea" nickname stuck.
  • Whitaker trained Zab Judah for his fights with Kaizer Mabuza and Amir Khan.
  • Going into his last 4 bouts his record was 40-1-1 (17 KO's). Both blemishes were highly controversial. He would go 0-3-0-1 in his last 4 bouts partly due to age and partly due his addiction to cocaine.


  • Whitaker died on July 14, 2019 after being stuck by a vehicle in Virginia Beach, Virginia. The accident occurred at approximately 10 p.m. at the intersection of Northampton Boulevard and Baker Road. Emergency personnel attempted to resuscitate Whitaker by performing CPR, but were unsuccessful. The driver of vehicle did remain on the scene to speak to police.

Preceded by:
Greg Haugen
IBF Lightweight Champion
1989 Feb 18 – 1992
Succeeded by:
Freddie Pendleton
Preceded by:
Julio Cesar Chavez
WBC Lightweight Champion
1989 Aug 20 – 1992
Succeeded by:
Miguel Angel Gonzalez
Preceded by:
Juan Nazario
WBA Lightweight Champion
1990 Aug 11 – 1992
Succeeded by:
Joey Gamache
Preceded by:
Rafael Pineda
IBF Light Welterweight Champion
1992 Jul 18 – 1993
Succeeded by:
Charles Murray
Preceded by:
James (Buddy) McGirt
WBC Welterweight Champion
1993 Mar 6 – 1997 Apr 12
Succeeded by:
Oscar De La Hoya
Preceded by:
Julio Cesar Vasquez
WBA Light Middleweight Champion
1995 Mar 4 – 1995
Succeeded by:
Carl Daniels