“Sugar” Ray Leonard vs. Pernell “Sweet Pea” Whitaker!

By Boxing News - 01/23/2023 - Comments

By Ken Hissner: First, we have in this corner the 1975 Pan Am Gold and 1976 Olympic Gold Medalist, WBC and WBA Welterweight, WBA Light Middleweight, WBC Super Middleweight and WBC Light Heavyweight World champion “Sugar” Ray Leonard, of Palmer Park, MD.

In the other corner, we have 1983 Pan Am Gold and 1984 Olympic Gold Medalist, IBF, WBC, WBA Lightweight, IBF Light Welterweight, WBC Welterweight, and WBA Light Middleweight World Champion southpaw Pernell “Sweet Pea” Whitaker, of Norfolk, VA.

Both Leonard and Whitaker won Pan Am and Olympic Gold Medals. As pros, both won world titles in four weight divisions.

Leonard, 36-3-1, with 25 stoppages and stopped once, made six world title defenses, and Whitaker, 40-4-1, 1NC, with 17 stoppages and stopped once, made 14 world title defenses.

Leonard was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1997. Whitaker was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2007.

Equipped with speed, ability, and charisma, “Sugar” Ray Leonard, filled the boxing void when Muhammad Ali retired in 1981. With the public in search of a boxing superstar, Leonard came along at precisely the right time.

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With brilliant hand speed, Pernell “Sweet Pea” Whitaker, the elusive southpaw, was a defensive marvel and utilized a stinging right jab and straight left hand to score wins. He was a real showman in the ring.
These comments come from the International Boxing Hall of Fame bios.

Leonard won against Wilfred Benitez, Roberto Duran (twice), Ayub Kalule, Thomas Hearns, Marvin Hagler, and Donny Lalonde. He drew with Thomas Hearns. He lost against Roberto Duran, Terry Norris, and Hector Camacho.

Whitaker won against Alfredo Layne, Roger Mayweather, Greg Haugen, Jose Luis Ramirez, Fred Pendleton, Azumah Nelson, Juan Nazario, Jorge Paez, Rafael Pineda, Buddy McGirt twice, Julio Cesar Vasquez, Jake Rodriguez, and Diosbelys Hurtado. He lost against Jose Luis Ramirez, Oscar De La Hoya, and Felix Trinidad. He drew with Julio Cesar Chavez.

There you have it comparing two of the greatest pound-for-pound boxers in modern times. If you like an offensive crowd-pleaser, then it’s “Sugar” Ray Leonard. If you like a defensive wizard, then it’s Pernell “Sweet Pea” Whitaker.

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