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Was Pernell “Sweet Pea” Whitaker On Drugs His Entire Career?

Posted on 04/28/2017

Was Pernell “Sweet Pea” Whitaker On Drugs His Entire Career?
By: Ken Hissner

Pernell “Sweet Pea” Whitaker, 40-4-1 (17), held the WBC, IBF, WBA lightweight titles, IBF super lightweight title and the WBC welterweight title.


Whitaker lost 3 of his last 4 fights and within them his win over Andrey Pestryaev, 20-1, on October 17, 1997 was reversed to a ND when he was found to test positive for cocaine. He was given a 6 month suspension for his bout in Foxwoods Resort, in Mashantucket, CT, and agreed to random testing and again was found positive for cocaine. He then entered a drug & alcohol rehabilitation center.

In talking with one of the most prominent Philadelphia boxing trainers he made the remark to this writer “the best boxer P4P ever was Pernell Whitaker. Just think if he hadn’t been on drugs how good he would have been”. I first thought “what is he smoking?” Forget the drugs but we all know “Sugar” Ray Robinson was the best P4P boxer that ever lived.

About a week later at a “signing show” one of Whitaker’s 1984 Olympic team members was there and I told him what I heard. He remarked “Ken, someone took his piss tests after every fight!” The Whitaker showed up late at the signing show and was his usual arrogant self after I asked him “what was your toughest fight” and he replied “all of them!”
We even today have boxers such as Cuban Luis “King Kong” Ortiz and Russian Alexander Povetkin; both heavyweight contenders failing drug tests.

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