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Geoffrey Ciani , 3/9/2011 6:17:13 AM


Pernell Whitaker appeared on episode 114 of "On the Ropes Boxing Radio"

(Interviewed by Jenna J & Geoffrey Ciani) - This week’s 114th edition of On the Ropes Boxing Radio featured an exclusive interview with Hall of Fame boxer Pernell “Sweet Pea” Whitaker (40-4-1, 17 KOs) who was a four division champion. hitaker spoke his career and also shared his opinions on Manny Pacquiao, Julio Cesar Chavez, and more! Here is what he had to say:

On making the transition from boxer to trainer:

“For me? I mean I’m not a fighter or a trainer, I’m a scientist. I know the science of boxing and I don’t have an opinion. I got facts!”

On what it’s like being a trainer as opposed to being a fighter:

“I mean I haven’t really missed anything. It’s good to be on the other side and to see someone else go out there and present your style and add it to what it is with their own and be successful doing it. I’m not trying to do anything but help fighters to see. You know you can’t be Pernell Whitaker. There are no more Pernell Whitakers in our. I can only teach you the things that work for you and you only for your particular body. So you can forget me trying to teach you how to be like Pernell Whitaker because I don’t think I will be able to do that. You just got to be your own fighter and just believe and trust what I tell you.”

On which performance best defined his career:

“All of them! Every single fight I’ve ever laced up a pair of gloves in thirty years was special to me. I have no one fight I can pick out and go down the catalogue and pick which one of these guys fought the best. Every fight was important. Every fight was a great fight for me.”

On whether he had a single most memorable moment of his career that jumped out over the others:

“No and you guys probably would know that because every fight I ever had, even if it had controversy itself and it looked good itself. Every fight that jumped out at me was a good fight, was a great fight for me. I don’t know about the opponents but it was great for me.”

Regarding some of his more controversial fights:

“Every fight that I ever had that had anything to do with controversy was controversial. It wasn’t just a couple, but a fight’s a fight. I don’t complain about them. I don’t look back at them.”

His views on today’s top star in boxing like Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Junior:

“Well I think I like Pacquiao the best out of all of them personally myself. He’s more consistent as a fighter fighting good in the ring competing. He’s the one that stands out. I don’t know about a whole lot of other fighters. If you try and bring up names to me I’d have no clue because I really haven’t been following.”

On how he feels he would have matched up in a fight against Manny Pacquiao:

“Now you want me to go back talking and start sounding crazy? I have no clue. I haven’t watched him that much, but to me he is still a great fighter. If you’re asking me whether Pacquiao can beat me or not obviously I’m going to say no. I don’t think that they can beat Pernell Whitaker. There are no more Pernell Whitakers. Put it that way. That’s all it is.”

On what he considers to have been his best asset he brought into the ring during his peak fighting days:

“You guys probably watched me in the past and knew every time I stepped out there into that ring I gave 100% and every performance I put on showed something different and whatever it was, you guys used to call me a showboat and now you’re calling me the best pound-for-pound. So I have no clue how to satisfy you guys. You know not to say I’m glad to be out of the sport. I’m glad I did compete and competed very, very well. Like I said, the thing that you guys used to see when you called me a showboat, now guys do it and you think it’s the most positive thing on the planet. I will just say this. I had a great time in the boxing ring.”

His views on Julio Cesar Chavez as a fighter:

“Chavez was a great fighter. He was a great, great fighter. When I competed against him it was big. That was one of the good fights of mine, that along with the other fifty.”

His views on his fight against Oscar De La Hoya and the judges scoring:

“I was having so much fun in that boxing ring that night. Oscar is a good friend of mine and it’s not personal or anything. It’s never personal. I just thought I had done enough to win the fight. I had done a lot more to win than to let it get away from me. That’s fine. Like I said it wasn’t the first time I had been in a fight that was controversial like that. So I don’t look back at it. I don’t regret anything I’ve done. People just see it differently. Another thing is guys just wanted to see me lose one time. In my time nobody ever actually outboxed me or beat me so they were just waiting to see somebody get it done. The only person I think that got it done on me where it was just close enough to get away from me was Trinidad. So that’s the closest fight I ever had that I think was close enough to get away from me. The rest of them I think I won.”

On what it was like to make the decision to retire from professional boxing:

“Well my shoulder jumped out of place for some reason and that was just a sign I think that came from above and said enough is enough. Like I said I had to stay out for a year after breaking my jaw against Trinidad so when I decided to come back and tune up after a year layoff and my shoulder went out then that was enough. That was it. I thought that was enough and I thought the time had come. I had no regrets on letting it go. I’m not chasing no glory or anything. I think I had done enough to solidify myself.”

On who gave him the toughest match in his entire career:

“The toughest match? Every fight I have ever been in was tough. Fights are no tougher than what you make them. I try and make fights as easy as possible. I show guys how to make these fights as easy as possible. If you want to fight a tough fight then it’s easy to fight a tough fight, but if you just want to make the fight as easy as possible then there is a way to do that. So I don’t think I ever put myself in a position where I was in a tough fight. All of my fights, actually, I thought were very easy and win them.”

On how he first started using the nickname “Sweet Pea”:

“That’s the name they gave me when I was about 9 years old. I was just in the boxing ring and I had on my boxing shoes “Sweet Pete” and they misquoted it and as “Sweet Pea” and I couldn’t get it changed out of the papers so I just went with it and ever since then it stuck and it stayed with me and I guess it just grew on me, but it started when I was 9 years old.”

Regarding his favorite fighters when he was coming up in the sport:

“I had no favorite fighters. I had none, none whatsoever. Everybody liked Muhammad Ali. So he’s the greatest of all time but me personally, I have no particular one fighter that sticks out. I have my own style. Everything that I had done in that boxing ring was original. It was all mine. Everything I had done in that ring was original and done by Pernell Whitaker. It was done by Pernell Whitaker. It was designed by Pernell Whitaker only. I copied nobody’s style. I had my own. People want this style but they can’t have it.”

On how he would ultimately like to be remembered by boxing fans:

“I like the way remember me now, as one of the greatest fighters ever, as the best defensive fighter ever probably. I mean I would say that I’m the best defensive fighter ever. If you got somebody you know that’s better, please! I want to hear somebody tell me a name. Give me a name who could be better?”

On the current Olympic boxing format and the way Olympic boxing in America is seemingly in decline:

“Hey, it’s taking a lot out of boxing the way they score the amateur boxing now. I guess they do it to try and make it more competitive for other countries. I guess the United States and Cuba were more dominant than all of the other countries and winning all of the Gold Medals and they wanted to find ways for some of these other countries to win and that’s the format they came up with. Now I don’t even follow it. I couldn’t keep up with that computer system so there was no sense in me following it.”

Regarding some of his experiences during his amateur boxing career:

“Oh, that was my best! I think my amateur career was better than my whole professional career and everything else, because amateur boxing is all about having fun. It was just fun. You’d be with your teammates and you get to meet other people from different countries and you’re competing. It wasn’t business. It was just having fun and boxing.”

His views on the crowd from some of the top names from the amateur class of 1984:

“All of those guys were just fun guys. They were fun to be around. They were just fun guys around other guys looking for fun. They would be eating and sleeping and laughing and joking together. You can’t make that up.”

On whether he is currently working with any other fighters besides Zab Judah:

“I’m not working with anybody right now. If guys want to work with me then they can try and find me some kind of way, but I’m not working with anybody right now other than Zab. I only really want to work with one person at a time. I can’t be two or three places at the same time right now.”

On what he wants to say to all of his fans and supporters:

“Thank you for all of the support you’ve given me throughout my 30 years and tune in on March 5 and we can all have fun together. Thank you very much!”

***



For those interested in listening to the Pernell Whitaker interview in its entirety, it begins approximately one hour and nineteen minutes into the program.

RIGHT CLICK and 'SAVE AS' TO DOWNLOAD EPISODE #114

***

This article also appears on East Side Boxing

Contact the author at geoff@eatthemushroom.com .


About the author: Geoffrey Salvatore Ciani shall someday name his first-born son “Santino” because he fancies the name “Santino Ciani”.

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