Boxing Legend Pernell Whitaker Dies at 55, Hit by Car

Acclaimed boxer Pernell Whitaker passed away this weekend after he was hit by a car. The athlete was reportedly walking in Virginia Beach at the time of the accident, and died on the scene. Whitaker was just 55 years old.

Police in Virginia Beach were called about a car accident at 10:04 p.m. ET, according to a report by TMZ Sports. They arrived at the intersection of Northampton Boulevard and Baker Road to find a pedestrian who had been hit by a vehicle in critical condition. Sources told the outlet that the victim was Whitaker.

Emergency responders tried to resuscitated Whitaker with CPR and other treatments, but little could be done. The boxing legend passed away on the scene due to injuries suffered in the crash.

The driver who hit Whitaker reportedly stayed on the scene and talk to police, but it is unclear whether or not they were arrested. Authorities noted that this is not a hit and run, and it is unclear what Whitaker was doing on foot in that particular area of town, which does not have much of a night life scene. This would seem to suggest that Whitaker was not out partying.

Whitaker was one of the most adaptable fighters in the sport of boxing. In his time as pro, he won world titles in four different weight classes, including lightweight, light welterweight, welterweight and light middleweight. He sometimes went by the nickname Sweet Pea.

Whitaker took on some of the biggest names in the sport during his time in the ring, including Oscar De La Hoya and Julio Cesar Chavez. His professional career spanned from 1984 to 2001, and ended with a 40-4-1 record. Whitaker had 17 knockouts to his name in the ring, and even won a gold medal at the 1984 Olympics, which were held in Los Angeles, California.

(Photo: Instagram @floydmayweather)

Whitaker was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2006. Many consider him one of the greatest fighters of all time, and to this day they argue that his losses were simply poor decisions made by judges. In the mid-1990s, Whitaker was considered the number one fighter in the world pound-for-pound. He was named Ring Magazine's Fighter of the Year in 1989.

Whitaker was mourned online by fellow boxers and other athletes, as well as fellow Virginia natives. Floyd Mayweather posted a photo of himself with Whitaker on Instagram, apparently taken just one day before Whitaker passed.


"R I P champ, one of the best fighters to ever do it," he wrote.

Whitaker is survived by five children.