VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) – The champion is gone, but the memory and legacy of Pernell “Sweet Pea” Whitaker will always live on at the spot he trained for so many years.
Late Sunday night, Whitaker, a Norfolk native and four-time world champion boxer, was struck and killed by an automobile off Northampton Blvd. in Virginia Beach.
Inside a quiet Wareing’s Gym on Monday afternoon, hung some of Whitaker’s old boxing robes from his world title glory years. “I think he’s one of the best our time has ever seen, maybe all time,” said Mike Wareing.
Mike and his brother Tony are the gym’s co-owners. Both credit their late brother, Bob, for helping Whitaker reach his status as one of the best in history.
“They were inseparable as a team,” said Mike. “‘Pea’ was part of the family and they were like brothers.”
Mike and Tony will certainly miss the man who won the medals, but more so, they’ll miss the man, and the friend. “He could get along with anybody, whether you were a prince or a pauper,” said Tony.