KGB Radio: Pernell Whitaker Tribute

Pernell "Sweet Pea" Whitaker hoists his championship belt from The Ring over his head (Credit: Getty Images)

The last few weeks have made it difficult to be a boxing fan. While eventually losing our favorite fighters is something all of us must prepare for, Pernell Whitaker’s recent death was as surprising as it was awful. At only 55-years-old, Whitaker still had plenty to offer this planet.

Trained by the likes George Benton and Lou Duva, Whitaker represented a link between the old and new schools. And he was also a member of the U.S.’ last great Olympic boxing team in 1984.

A delighted Pernell Whitaker celebrates his 1984 Olympic gold medal at the podium ceremony in Los Angeles

There’s also a fair bit of nostalgia there, however, because Whitaker was active recently enough that many of us actually remember watching his fights live. “Sweet Pea” had also recently started looking for youth to mentor and train in local fight gyms. So yeah. We’re sad.

But Whitaker’s life wasn’t just a series of somber moments; he was one of the greatest fighters in the last few decades, and truly an all-time great lightweight. Whitaker also faced — and in the eyes of many, soundly defeated — fellow great fighters of his generation.

Pernell Whitaker tags Julio Cesar Chavez with a left hand in their controversial 1993 encounter (Credit: Richard Mackson/Sports Illustrated)

On this episode of Knuckles and Gloves Boxing Radio, Compubox operator Aris Pina and boxing historian Patrick Connor remember the life and career of Whitaker on another of their well-received boxing history podcasts.

Find (and rate) Knuckles and Gloves on your favorite podcasting app, or click here to listen to this episode in your internet browser. Or, if you prefer, listen via the app below.

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