Azumah Nelson: Pernell Whitaker was a skillful and talented boxer

Author: Bernard Neequaye
A scene from Azumah Nelson and Pernell Whitaker during their fight in 1990
Pernell Whitaker outpointed Azumah Nelson in their championship fight in 1990

Legendary Ghanaian boxer, Azumah Nelson, has described the late Pernell “Sweat Pea” Whitaker as a skillful and talented retired pugilist with a good heart.

Nelson, who lost a unanimous decision fight to Whitaker in 1990, has mourned the American who was reported to have died after he was hit by a car in Virginia Beach, Virginia at the age of 55 years.

In a statement issued by Nelson, the former three-time world champion noted that he admired the late boxing hall of famer’s respect for him after their slugfest 29 years ago.

Sending out his heartfelt message about the sudden demise of the former lightweight king, Nelson said the entire boxing fraternity had lost a great boxing gem that will be missed by his family and enthusiasts of the sport.

“I have just learnt with deep sadness the sudden demise of boxing Hall of Famer Pernell “Sweat Pea” Whitaker through a car accident and I can only imagine what his family is going through now. May God be their comforter in this difficult moment.

“My heart goes out to the family and fans of this skillful and talented retired boxer who I had the privilege of fighting at a point during my career. I lost to him after an exciting 12rounds by a unanimous decision in the Lightweight division. I admired his respect for me after the decision was announced and how highly he referenced me in several media interviews. I was glad when he was inducted into the Hall of Fame two (2) years after my induction,” the statement read.

“With a highly admirable boxing career, Pernell delighted boxing fans around the world with his swift movement and foot works.

“The boxing fraternity has lost a great family member, his family has indeed lost a great dad and boxing fans will surely miss him. May he rest in perfect peace,” it continued.

Whitaker defeated Azumah Nelson in a lightweight championship at the Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas, Nevada to retain his World Boxing Council (WBO) and International Boxing Federation (IBF) titles.

The legendary Ghanaian fighter having dominated the featherweight and super featherweight divisions for six years decided to fight Whitaker by moving up to 135 pounds in a bout which saw the American making his second WBC title defence, as well as a fourth defence of his IBF crown.