Pernell Whitaker, boxing great

I saw a reference in a BBC article to a boxer I know little about, Pernell Whitaker:

But even in the brutal world of boxing, there are some who are able to look both sweet and scientific. The beauty of Floyd Mayweather is that he manages to make the almost impossible – hitting without being hit – look simple. But perhaps boxing’s greatest beauty was Mayweather’s fellow American Pernell Whitaker, who won world titles at four different weights in the 1980s and 90s.

“Whitaker’s moves,” wrote boxing historian Bert Sugar, “were pure poetry in motion. Or, more correctly, pure poetry in many motions. Whitaker did for boxing what Edgar Degas did for ballerinas and Vincent van Gogh for sunflowers.” In truth, what Whitaker did defied description. Get on YouTube and see for yourself.

Whitaker was able to appear weightless in the most oppressive situations. He made fellow legends – Oscar de la Hoya and Julio Cesar Chavez among them – look like they were plodding after him in diver’s boots.

So I looked the guy up, and he’s remarkable. Shades of Ali & Sugar Ray Leonard in the way he ducks and sways and makes the other guy look a fool.

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