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Legendary boxer ‘Sweet Pea’ Whitaker dies in accident

Legendary boxer ‘Sweet Pea’ Whitaker dies in accident

Pernell Whitaker, a former Olympic gold medalist and world boxing champion in four different categories, died after a car accident in Virginia, police confirmed.

The 55-year-old former boxer nicknamed “Sweet Pea” died after being struck by a vehicle at an intersection in Virginia Beach on Sunday, police said in a statement.

“When officers arrived at the scene, they located an adult man who had been hit by a vehicle,” the statement said. “The victim died at the scene as a result of his injuries.”

Police said the driver of the vehicle involved in the accident remained at the scene and was assisting with investigations.

Whitaker was considered one of the most talented boxers of his generation. Technically skilled, he enjoyed a successful professional career after winning gold as a lightweight at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles.

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He fought 46 times as a professional, winning 40 bouts with 17 knockouts. He suffered four losses, a draw, and a no contest before his retirement in 2001.

He won world titles at lightweight, light welterweight, welterweight, and light middleweight.

Nicknamed ‘Sweet Pea’, he was named the best boxer of the year by Ring magazine in 1989 and considered the best pound-for-pound boxer in the world between the early and mid-1990s.

In his career highlights a controversial battle with Mexican legend Julio César Chávez in 1993 in San Antonio, Texas. Many experts believed that Whitaker had won the fight, but it ended in a draw.

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The defensive-minded Whitaker would also lose another tough battle to Oscar de la Hoya in 1997, when he put his WBC welterweight title on the line.

After another loss to Felix Trinidad in 1999, Whitaker continued to fight until finally retiring after suffering another setback against Carlos Bojorquez in April 2001. AFP

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