FLOYD Mayweather has paid tribute to late Hall of Fame boxer and American great Pernell Whitaker who died, 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 with 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. – MailOnline