Boxing Legend Pernell ‘Sweet Pea’ Whitaker Dies at 55

By Angela Jones

Photos by Keith Cephus
Photo Credit: Keith Cephus
Norfolk native and boxing legend, Pernell Whitaker was killed when a vehicle struck him on Sunday, July 14, 2019 in Virginia Beach. According to a statement released by the Virginia Beach Police Department, a call came in to Emergency Communications at 10:04 pm to report the incident. The investigation is still ongoing. 

Whitaker apparently succumbed to the injuries he received at the intersection of Northampton Boulevard and Baker Road. He was 55 years old.

Born on January 2, 1964, Whitaker attend Booker T. Washington High School in Norfolk. He won a gold medal for boxing at the Summer Olympics in Los Angeles in 1984. In his 46 career fights, Whitaker won 40 of the first 42 fights and captured belts in the lightweight, light welterweight, welterweight, and light middleweight divisions. Seventeen of his wins were knockouts.

Whitaker’s career spanned from 1984 to 2001. He was named Fighter of the Year by the Boxing Writers Association of America and The Ring Magazine in 1989.