Pernell Whitaker, one of boxing's greatest southpaws and defensive masters, has passed away after reportedly being struck by a car. He was 55.
According to reports, Whitaker was struck by a vehicle in Virginia Beach, Virginia late July 14. Police are still investigating, but the individual who allegedly struck Whitaker remained at the scene with police and is cooperating with them.
Nicknamed "Sweet Pea" during his career, Whitaker was one of the premier champions throughout the 1990s, having held world titles at lightweight, junior welterweight, welterweight and junior middleweight. Thanks to his flawless defense and incredible counter punching, Whitaker would go on to beat some of the sport's greats, including Jose Luis Ramirez, Azumah Nelson, Juan Nazario, Jorge Paez, James McGirt and countless more. Even before turning pro, Whitaker enjoyed tremendous success in the amateur ranks, winning a silver medal in the 1982 world championships and a gold medal in the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles.
In his 24th pro fight, Whitaker became the undisputed lightweight champion by knocking out Nazario in the first round back in 1990. Whitaker retired with a 40-4-1 record with one no contest after a fight against Carlos Bojorquez back in 2001.
After his fighting days were over, Whitaker took some time and became a trainer, leading Zab Judah to a welterweight world title win in 2011 and Calvin Brock to a heavyweight title challenge against Wladimir Klitschko in 2006. In 2006, Whitaker was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame.