Last Updated: 15/07/19 3:59pm
Pernell Whitaker has died at the age of 55 after being hit by a car in Virginia on Sunday night.
‘Sweet Pea’ won Olympic gold in 1984 before becoming a four-weight world champion as a professional, winning lightweight, light welterweight, welterweight and light middleweight titles.
The American southpaw, who was widely considered one of the greatest defensive boxers of all time, retired from the ring with a 40-4-1 record in 2001.
“To everyone please respect my family’s privacy in this trying moment,” said Whitaker’s daughter Dominique.
“I want to inform people that today we lost a legend, truly one of boxing’s greatest pound-for-pound champions, my father Pernell ‘Sweet Pea’ Whitaker.”
Whitaker shared a ring with fellow legends Oscar De La Hoya and Julio Cesar Chavez and was rated by Ring Magazine as one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world from 1993 to 1997.
He holds the record for the longest unified lightweight championship reign with six title defences and was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2006.
“He will always be known as one of the greatest defensive fighters,” former cruiserweight and heavyweight champion David Haye told Sky Sports.
“He was like [Vasyl] Lomachenko today. He was so unorthodox, he was so hard to hit with a clean shot, you couldn’t hit him with a fistful of rice he was that elusive and one of the greatest fighters of all time.”
After hanging up his gloves he continued to work in the sport as a trainer and worked with former welterweight champion Zab Judah.
He is survived by his wife and five children.