Saturday, February 04, 2023  |



Pernell Whitaker’s sons hope to gather support in planned park to honor their late father

Photo from The Ring archive

The following is an official statement from the family of Pernell Whitaker.

Three years ago to the day, the world lost one of the greatest boxers of our time. July 14, 2019, Pernell “Sweet Pea” Whitaker was tragically struck by an automobile along Northampton Boulevard. A boxer who was so incredibly elusive in the ring had his life abruptly cut short by an unexpected occurrence. Norfolk lost a legend. We lost our dad.

If our father taught us anything in life, though, it was how to take a punch and how to then get back on your feet. Our dad may be gone, but his spirit is very much with us. We read recently that the “spirit” of Norfolk was lost. In fairness that was in reference to a cruise ship, but it could have aptly applied to the rise in violence, lack of development and community leadership that is vital for cities to thrive.

To reinject a sense of community spirit and to honor our late father, we hereby affirm our commitment to developing a public private partnership with the City of Norfolk in the furtherance and development of the Pernell Whitaker Park – a world-class outdoor park in the heart of Norfolk, Virginia that will be dedicated to local icons and designed to cultivate a new generation of Tidewater legends. In the coming days, we will provide greater details and information regarding this effort, including the introduction of a dynamic Advisory Board that will work closely with us in bringing this dream to light.

In closing, it is worth recalling a 1985 HBO documentary, in which Pernell Whitaker reflected on Norfolk and offered the following portrayal of his hometown: “It’s rough now and it was rough back then, but I beat it. You can beat the street … I still feel like I am part of this project. I will always feel like I am part of this project because this is what I call home. This is real. This is real life. We are all so close together that we have to love each other.

READ MORE HERE: Pernell ‘Sweet Pea’ Whitaker’s sons hope to gather support in planned park to honor their late father