History

On This Day: Supposed non-puncher Pernell Whitaker shows Juan Nazario how to score the perfect KO

Pernell Whitaker
Pernell Whitaker annihilates Juan Nazario to become the first undisputed lightweight king since Roberto Duran

PERNELL WHITAKER w ko 1 JUAN NAZARIO
August 11, 1990; Caesars Tahoe, Stateline, NV
PERHAPS the biggest untruth in boxing is that certain boxers, usually those who box smartly, can’t punch. Pernell Whitaker was one such case in point. Talented in the extreme, Whitaker was arguably the finest in the sport back in 1990, though his critics pointed to his habit of going 12 rounds and failing to excite. Juan Nazario had taken the WBA lightweight belt from Edwin Rosario and was matched with Whitaker and his WBC and IBF straps. Whitaker boxed smartly, as per, for almost three minutes before he spotted two irresistible openings: He sent a spiteful left hand to the body, whipped another over the top, and dropped his opponent for the count.

DID YOU KNOW? The event was marketed as a triple-header with Hector Camacho and Meldrick Taylor also fighting on the bill. When both scored dull, routine points wins (over Tony Baltazar and Primo Ramos respectively) it seemed the scene was set for Whitaker to do the same.

WATCH OUT FOR: The unsighted left hand that finished Nazario and crowned the first undisputed lightweight king since Roberto Duran left the division more than a decade before.

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