He won world titles at lightweight, light welterweight, welterweight and light middleweight.
Boxing champion and Olympic gold medallist Pernell Whitaker, who was regarded as one of the greatest defensive fighters ever, has died after being hit by a vehicle in Virginia.
Police said the driver of the vehicle involved in the accident remained on the scene and was helping with inquiries. The police also said that they are investigating the circumstances of the death.
Promoter Eddie Hearn said: "Rest in eternal peace Pernell "Sweet Pea" Whitaker - IMO the greatest defensive fighter of all time".
He made his pro debut on national television after which he advanced very quickly.
Whitaker won a gold medal in the lightweight division at the 1982 World Championships and the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles. He was a master of hitting and not getting hit back, a southpaw who slipped in and out of the pocket and rarely gave an opponent an opportunity to land a clean shot. He suffered four defeats, one draw and a no-contest before his retirement in 2001.
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"And every list of top 10 fighters of all time he was on, too". On August 20, 1989, Whitaker beat Ramirez in a rematch in Norfolk, VA and became the WBC lightweight champion.
The wider boxing family was also shattered.
Whitaker also enjoyed Olympic success as an amateur.
Oscar De La Hoya, in another tweet, said, "It was an honor to share the ring with him".
"R I P champ, one of the best fighters to ever do it", he wrote on Monday. "On behalf of everyone at Golden Boy, we send our prayers and condolences to his family and friends". He was a flawless fighter. After a career successfully worked as a coach in particular, was a mentor to Calvin Brock, when he in November of 2006 fight with Wladimir Klitschko and absolute champion in the Welterweight Zab Judah.
Whitaker once said it was the most lovely feeling in the world to hit the other guy and not get hit.