Remembering Pernell “Sweet Pea” Whitaker

By: TC Martin

One of the greatest pure boxers of our time suddenly passed away last Sunday night at the age of 55.  Pernell “Sweat Pea” Whitaker was hit by an oncoming car while he was crossing an intersection in his hometown of Virginia Beach,  Virginia.

The sad news punctuates some of the bad luck, Whitaker had as a fighter.  Although he is a boxing hall of famer, he is known for his hard luck battles.

In one of the sport’s most controversial decisions, he thoroughly out boxed the legendary Julio Caesar Chavaz, who was 87-0 at the time, only to get a draw onthe judges scorecards. It was 1993 and they fought in front 60,000 fans at the San Antonio Alamodome.  They were considered the top two pound-for-pound fighters in the world.  It was one of the most famous scoring injustices that the Sports Illustrated Cover read “Robbed”.

“I mentally and physically beat him, ” Whitaker said after the fight . “I put an old-fashioned project beating on him. A housing authority beating. A ghetto beating.”  Everyone who saw the fight felt the same way.  He also fell victim to judges indiscretion, to a lesser degree in a loss to Oscar De La Hoya four years later.

Whitaker had many more memorable moments.  Fans connected with him at an early age when as a teenager, he won the hearts of Americans and fans worldwide by winning an Olympic Gold Medal in the 1984 Summer Games in Los Angeles.  His slick defensive style and aggressive offensive attack made him a fan favorite and then a world champion in four different weight classes as a professional.  He was the longest unified lightweight champion of all time and considered one of the top three lightweights in boxing history.

He had a special soft side as well.  Until his death, he was a caring and funny individual.  His longtime promoter, Kathy Duva along with her late husband Dan remember when he would come over their house and play with their kids.  He even taught the Duva daughters how to play Craps on the living room floor.

“Sweet Pea” will always be known as a master of the ring and for controlling a fight but more importantly, a person fans connected to because of his glowing personality and for fighting valiantly during a time when boxers didn’t duck quality opponents.  Pernell Whitaker will be missed and always remembered.  Rest in Peace!

Author: TC Martin

“The Doctor” TC Martin is back in Las Vegas where his sports talk radio career began. The TC Martin Show has informed and entertained millions of sports talk radio listeners both nationally and locally since 1992. The program is unique in so many facets. From TC’s high octane personality and diverse knowledge to innovative production elements and quality special guests, the show is truly one of kind. The show focuses on the hot daily sports topics with energetic commentary and live listener interaction with a call-in format. The program is high on information and entertainment while giving listeners the opportunity to hear from the biggest names in the sports and the entertainment industry. Listeners appreciate the wide range of guests, knowledge and topics that TC brings on a daily basis giving listeners a much needed reason to tune in everyday. The TC Martin Show has aired nationally in over 100 markets on the Sports Entertainment Network and Sports Fan Radio Network originating from the Las Vegas studios. In local markets TC worked at KVEG (Las Vegas), KHTK (Sacramento) WDUZ and WNFL (Green Bay) and WSSP (Milwaukee). He worked very closely with all the professional and collegiate teams in those markets including hosting pre and post game shows and players and coaches shows. TC has a unique entertaining and passionate style that immediately connects with listeners. He is known as one of the most entertaining and well-rounded knowledgeable sports talk show hosts in the country. The TC Martin Show is an addictive and fun experience for all sports fans. More about TC... Wrestling and Boxing fans in Las Vegas may remember that TC founded the NWC (National Wrestling Conference) in 1994 and hosted the locally produced television program “NWC Slammin”. The NWC sold out monthly shows at it’s home venues The Silver Nugget and Aladdin Hotel & Casino. The NWC featured the biggest names in professional wrestling including The Ultimate Warrior, Cactus Jack, Sabu, Terry Funk, Rob Van Dam, Jake The Snake Roberts, Junkyard Dog, Honky Man and so many more. TC also has been very involved in the boxing industry while announcing many boxing events in Las Vegas and promoting shows and managing world championship fighters.