Pernell Whitaker the boxer who dealt Azumah Nelson title hopes a serious blow has died

Pernell Whitaker, famously known in Ghana as the boxer who dealt Azumah Nelson's title hopes a serious blow, has died. The retired boxer, who held world titles at four weight classes, died after being hit by a car, Virginia Beach police said Monday.

Pernell Whitaker the boxer who dealt Azumah Nelson title hopes a serious blow has died
LAS VEGAS - MAY 19,1990: Pernell Whitaker (L) throws a punch against Azumah Nelson during the fight at the Caesars Palace, on May 19,1990 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Pernell Whitaker won by a UD 12. (Photo by: The Ring Magazine via Getty Images)

Pernell Whitaker, famously known in Ghana as the boxer who dealt Azumah Nelson's title hopes a serious blow, has died.

The retired boxer, who held world titles at four weight classes, died after being hit by a car, Virginia Beach police said Monday.

An emergency call came in Sunday night about a vehicle-pedestrian accident and when officers arrived at the scene, they located an adult male who was hit by a vehicle, police said in a news release.

Whitaker was in his prime, while Azumah was 32. Crucially, the Ghanaian great had received news of his ailing wife just days before the bout in Las Vegas.

In a 2014 interview, Azumah admits to that circumstance being a big distraction for him. His wife, Beatrice Tandoh, died shortly after the bout.

Nelson never had the chance to fight the brilliant American again.

Floyd Mayweather leads the tributes to boxing great Pernell 'Sweet Pea' Whitaker with a picture of duo taken just two days before he died at 55 after being hit by a car

American boxing great Pernell Whitaker was hit by a vehicle in Virginia Beach  
He was a world champion in four divisions and retired from boxing in 2001  
Whitaker is in the International Boxing Hall of Fame and tributes poured in
Floyd Mayweather had a picture taken with 55-year-old two days before death

Floyd Mayweather has paid tribute to late Hall of Fame boxer and American great Pernell Whitaker after he was killed aged 55 after being hit by a car.  

The late former US world champion nicknamed 'Sweet Pea' was struck in Virginia Beach, according to police.

Mayweather posted a photo with Whitaker from two days ago, writing the caption: 'RIP champ, one of the best fighters to ever do it. This photo was taken 7/13/19.'

Mayweather was heavily influenced by the supreme defensive skills 'Sweet Pea' exhibited throughout his stellar career.  

He was a world champion in four divisions - WBC lightweight, IBF light welterweight, WBC welterweight and WBA light middleweight.

He retired in 2001 after compiling a 40-4-1 record including 17 knockouts and later worked as a trainer.

A member of the International Boxing Hall of Fame, Whitaker was named boxer of the year by Ring magazine in 1989. He also won an Olympic gold medal in 1984.

Whitaker was pronounced dead at a Virginia Beach intersection on Sunday night after police were called to the scene of an accident, a police report said.

The driver of the vehicle remained at the scene and the accident is still under investigation.

Michael Buffer, Magic Johnson and Michael Spinks joined Mayweather in posting a touching tribute to Whitaker on social media.

Buffer, the legendary ring announcer, tweeted: 'I’m having a hard time dealing with this loss! Pernell was one of the best I’ve ever seen..of all the times I introduced him in the ring it was always best in Virginia Beach..he entered the ring w/a full college marching band once-oh god, it was spectacular! Love You Pete'.

Basketball icon Johnson added: 'Pernell “Sweet Pea” Whitaker was in the class of Muhammad Ali and Sugar Ray Leonard as one of the most entertaining fighters in my lifetime. I’m praying for his family during this difficult time. Rest in Peace my friend.'

'I was just with #PernellWhitaker on Saturday at an autograph show in Virginia. I'm just sorry he's gone. I had a lot of good laughs with him. I'll miss him', wrote former heavyweight champion Spinks.