History | Jul 15 2019

Pernell Whitaker: 1964-2019

The great Pernell Whitaker died tragically on Sunday at the age of 55
Pernell Whitaker
reu_1334333  |  Action Images/Reuters/Steve Marcus

INJUSTICE was a theme of Pernell Whitaker’s career. No one should have beaten him until he met a rising star Oscar De La Hoya in 1997 at welterweight. On paper though his first defeat was recorded in 1988, at lightweight, against Jose Luis Ramirez in Paris. Whitaker may have baffled the Mexican in the ring but he in turn was left flummoxed at the judges’ decision after the contest.

Unfairly denied a world title at the first attempt he picked up the IBF’s portion of the lightweight crown from Greg Haugen. Justice was served when he brought Ramirez to his home turf in Virginia a year later and added the WBC belt to his waist, widely outpointing Ramirez and rewriting that blip on his record.

It wouldn’t be the only time Whitaker had trouble getting the right decision against a Mexican in a WBC title fight. He fought the great Julio Cesar Chavez in Texas but left disappointed with only a draw, a result widely disputed at the time.


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