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  • "Pernell Whitaker was a better defensive fighter than Mayweather Jr," insisted elite trainer

"Pernell Whitaker was a better defensive fighter than Mayweather Jr," insisted elite trainer

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When fight fans think of the best defensive technicians of this or possibly any era in boxing, the names most frequently mentioned among enthusiasts of the sweet science are the names Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Pernell "Sweet Pea" Whitaker.

Although both pugilists are masters of the craft and absolutely impossible to hit cleanly, it's seemingly unfeasible to figure out which fighter possesses the better protective skills?

Because the two combatants fought in very different eras, this question is impossible to answer. But by examining respective opponents and resumes, fight fans for years have debated this issue and have participated in various threads of internet disputes.

To help shed some light on the "friendly" discussion, FightSaga.com asked expert trainer Ronnie Shields to help shed some light on the mythical contest.

"I have to be honest...I have to say Pernell Whitaker was the better defensive fighter of the two just for the simple reason that Pernell has fought the better competition," claims the world renowned fight trainer.

bless-2"Floyd Mayweather was not fighting the best competition in their prime. You know, Pernell fought everybody in their prime...people who were very highly regarded in the sport of boxing said the same thing after facing Pernell. They would all say that you couldn't hit him. If they did hit him, they would get hit back ten-fold."

Pernell Whitaker (40-4-1-1NC, 17 KO) began boxing at age nine and had 214 amateur fights, winning 201 of them. The defensive master won a Gold Medal at the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, CA, and began his professional career shortly after.

"Sweet Pea" Whitaker won world titles at 135, 140, 147, and 154 pounds, and only lost one controversial decision from 1984 to 1997. Although he lost a controversial bout to Oscar De La Hoya in 1997 and drew with Mexican legend Julio Cesar Chavez in 1993, the slick technician from Norfolk, Virginia, was listed as number ten in Ring Magazine's "Greatest Fighters of the Last 80 Years" in 2002.

After losing two consecutive bouts in 1999 and 2001, Pernell Whitaker decided to retire at the age of 37 and was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2006.


"I would have to say that Pernell Whitaker was a better defensive fighter than Floyd Mayweather Jr," affirms Ronnie Shields in April 2012.

Although there will never be a definitive response to this mythical debate, Pernell was indeed a very special fighter in his prime just as Floyd is a truly exceptional fighter in this era.

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