How Whitaker outpointed Azumah in his prime

Author: Bernard Neequaye
The late Pernell Whitaker (left) against Azumah Nelson in 1990
The late Pernell Whitaker (right) against Azumah Nelson in 1990

Ghanaian boxing enthusiasts would remember the late former American world boxing champion, Pernell Whitaker, for his unanimous points victory over legendary Azumah Nelson in the US on May 19, 1990.

The late Whitaker scored 116-114, 115-113, and 116-111 over Azumah in the Ghanaian’s maiden lightweight fight which saw the American retaining his World Boxing Council (WBO) and International Boxing Federation (IBF) titles.

The boxing world was stunned on Monday, July 15, when the former boxing great’s death was announced by the Virginia Beach Police Department after he was hit by a car and killed on Sunday night in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

Legend: Pernell 'sweet Pea' Whitaker

Whitaker, also known as ‘Sweet Pea’, died at the age of 55, 29 years after breaking the hearts of Ghanaians with that decisive victory which ended Azumah’s then 18-fight unbeaten run, following his decision to move up in weight to challenge for the two world titles.

The American's win ended Nelson's then 18-fight unbeaten run

Graphic Sports Online takes its readers through that much-publicised fight between Whitaker and Azumah at the Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Having dominated the featherweight and super featherweight divisions for six years, Azumah 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.

Pernell Whitaker landed more punches than Azumah Nelson

Whitaker was a 3-1 pre-bout favourite against Azumah and statistics proved that he landed 464 of 989 punches (47%) as compared to the Ghanaian’s 179 out of 739 (24%).

Referee Mills Lane deducted a point from Whitaker in the final round after he lifted Azumah’s leg with his right hand and tapped him on the head with his left.

After an exciting 12 rounds of boxing, judges Harry Gibbs, Sid Nathan and Dalby Shirley scored in favour of Whitaker, leaving Azumah with no choice than to return to his more favourable super featherweight division.


The Ghanaian moved up weight to fight Pernell Whitaker