Local boxer remembers ‘Sweet Pea’ Whitaker


NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Dorin Spivey is a tough guy.

“My record was 50 wins, 6 losses and 34 knockouts.”

On Monday, the former professional boxer took a blow when he learned of the death of Pernell “Sweet Pea” Whitaker.

“It was tough cause I’m a guy who holds his emotion,” he told 10 On Your Side.

Sprivey has a long history with Sweet Pea. He remembers, as a child, watching Whitaker win a gold medal in 1984.

“And that just really motivated me to see a guy from this area to do so well, I just watched him in the Olympics and he just dominated. It was just amazing for me, completely amazing.”

At age 19, Spivey started his own boxing career. “Got a couple of wins you know, thought I was something special, then I went to Wareing’s Gym and
worked with Sweet Pea Whitaker.”

He watched Whitaker in awe, telling WAVY.com, “he’s the best defensive fighter in the history of the sport.”

He would learn a lot from Whitaker, but not for another decade.

At age 32, Spivey sought out Whitaker to train him. “He not only became a trainer, but he became a good friend with me. I would go hang out with
him, we would go eat together, hang out his place, just laugh and joke, talk about different things.”

In their two years working in the ring, Spivey soaked in Sweet Pea’s defensive style.

“Whitaker would stand right in front and make you miss — it was like he was the Matrix, just moving right in front, I’ve never seen nothing like that
in my life.”

His mentor was a motivator that he will miss. “He would always tell me too, as long as you get in there and give it your best, you’re a winner in my eyes, he would tell me that.”

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