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Boxing Legend Pernell ‘Sweet Pea’ Whitaker, 55, Dies After Being Hit By A Car In Virginia Beach

Pernell 'Sweet Pea' Whitaker

Boxing legend Pernell ‘Sweet Pea’ Whitaker has died. He was 55.

The internationally renowned boxer was struck by a car in his hometown of Virginia Beach. 

Authorities responded to reports of an accident at the intersection of Northampton Boulevard and Baker Road just after 10.04pm Sunday. 

There they found a man who had been struck by a car and was seriously injured. His identity and death were later confirmed by the family, WTKR reported.  

An investigation is ongoing about the cause of the crash, but the other driver stayed on the scene.

He is co-operating with police and it is unclear whether he was arrested.  

Boxing Legend Pernell 'Sweet Pea' Whitaker, 55, Dies After Being Hit By A Car In Virginia Beach
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Whitaker spent over three decades in the ring. 

As an amateur boxer, he won a gold medal at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles, He also won another gold at the 1983 Pan American games.

He triumphantly clinched championships in four different WBC weight classes: Lightweight, Light welterweight, Welterweight and Light middleweight.

But his glittering career was defined by many controversial decisions – both on and off the ring. 

Boxing Legend Pernell 'Sweet Pea' Whitaker, 55, Dies After Being Hit By A Car In Virginia Beach
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Arguably his most memorable fight was his epic 1993 bout with Mexican legend Julio Cesar Chavez.

The fight ended in a majority draw after two judge scored the fight even.

But many felt like Whitaker deserved the win. Sports Illustrated’s even released an issue with Whitaker on the cover with the caption: “Robbed.”

Boxing Legend Pernell 'Sweet Pea' Whitaker, 55, Dies After Being Hit By A Car In Virginia Beach
Getty

Whitaker retired in 2001 with an impressive professional record of 40 wins, four losses and one draw. 

He stayed in his hometown of Virginia Beach and became a boxing coach. He married Rovanda Anthony in the boxing ring at Virginia Beach Pavilion Convention Center in December 1985. 

The couple had four children together and later divorced. He also had another daughter from a previous relationship.  

Boxing Legend Pernell 'Sweet Pea' Whitaker, 55, Dies After Being Hit By A Car In Virginia Beach
Sports Illustrated

In June 2002, Whitaker was convicted of cocaine possession. A judge determined he violated the terms of a previous sentence by overdosing on the drug.

Then in February 2014 he made headlines when he evicted his mother, Novella Whitaker, from the home he’d bought for her 40 years earlier.  

Whitaker purchased the house in Norfolk, Virginia, for $400,000 in 1984 at the height of his career.

In order to pay off debts, he asked his mother and two siblings who were living in the house to help contribute to the upkeep or move out. 

Boxing Legend Pernell 'Sweet Pea' Whitaker, 55, Dies After Being Hit By A Car In Virginia Beach
Getty

“It’s sad for him to have to take action against his mother, but none of the family would contribute to the real estate and he had no alternative but to use the court process,” his attorney Bruce Gould told ABC News.

In 2002, Whitaker was ranked as the 10th greatest boxer of the last 80 years by Ring Magazine.    

He was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in Canastota, New York, in 2006, in his first year of eligibility. 

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Written by Christine Haveford

Christine loves all things cinema, and she's been that way ever since she was a little girl. In fact, she is so passionate about cinema that she decided to pursue cinematography as a full-time career, and is now pursuing film studies at the New York Film School. Originally from Florida, she is still exploring the new city, people, places, and the culture, loves the new weather, going ice skating during winters, and spending time with her fellow classmates and friends from college.

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