Born January 2, 1964 in Norfolk, VA. As an amateur boxer he compiled an amazing 201-14 (91 KOs) record and captured the Pan American Games title in 1982, the World Championship in 1983 and the gold medal at the 1984 Olympic Games.
“Sweet Pea” turned pro in 1984 at Madison Square Garden. In 1987 he defeated Roger Mayweather for the NABF lightweight title and two fights later added the USBA belt. In 1988 Whitaker challenged Jose Luis Ramirez for the WBC lightweight title and lost a controversial decision in his initial title bid. He won his first world championship via a 12 round decision over Greg Haugen for the IBF lightweight title on February 18, 1989. A measure of revenge followed with a rematch win over Ramirez in 1989 for the WBC belt. He unified the championship with a 1st round kayo over WBA titlist Juan Nazario on August 11, 1990.
After establishing dominance at lightweight, Whitaker set his sights higher and captured world titles in three additional weight divisions – IBF light welterweight (1992), WBC welterweight (1993-1997) and WBA light middleweight (1995). With brilliant hand speed, the elusive southpaw was a defensive marvel who utilized a stinging right jab and straight left hand to score wins over such formidable foes as Freddie Pendelton, Anthony Jones, Jorge Paez, Harold Brazier, James “Buddy” McGirt and Hall of Famer Azumah Nelson.
A showman in the ring, Whitaker was named “Fighter of the Year” in 1989 and was widely considered boxing's best “pound for pound” fighter during his championship reigns. “Sweet Pea” retired in 2001 after compiling a 40-4-1, 1NC (17 KOs) professional record.
Born: Jan. 2, 1964
Pernell (Sweet Pea) Whitaker