"I knew this might happen,"
Whitaker said quietly. "But still it was like a
bad dream. Last night it was like someone put a knife in me and twisted it."
Now, from the balcony of his hotel room, in the clear light of a new day,
the man they call Sweet Pea had only to hope that the message he had
delivered 12 hours earlier was as unmistakable as he had intended it to be.
He then waved a hand at everyone
beyond the balcony railing and said, "I want to tell the world that I beat
the unbeatable. From now on they're all going to look at me and say,
'There's the guy who beat
Julio C�sar Ch�vez . He has been beaten.
Pernell Whitaker beat him up.' I'm not a
tormentor; I'm not a tormentor. But I whipped his ass last night. And
easily. I mentally and physically beat him. I put an old-fashioned project
beating on him. A housing authority beating. A ghetto beating. Everyone
tried to build him up, but I condemned the building. Pound for pound,
Pernell Whitaker is the best fighter in the world.
I'm not just a runner; I can fight. Give me credit. Give me the respect I
deserve. Give I me this one!"
Last Friday night
Whitaker put on one of the most dazzling ring
performances in recent years. Yet, within minutes, two of the three judges
reduced this magnificent show to a mockery by scoring the 12-round bout a
draw. The third judge gave the fight to
Whitaker , but the official result was declared a
"majority draw"—a judgment so violently in contempt of plausibility that
even a number of
Ch�vez 's partisans in the largely
Mexican-American crowd of 65,000 appeared embarrassed as they quietly left
Whitaker 's boxing exhibition was a tactical and
technical virtuosity that at times led
Ch�vez on a bewildered, groping circuit of the
ring, as if
Ch�vez were chasing wisps of ringside smoke. That
Whitaker , in a perverse reward for his
brilliance, needed to plead for respect and recognition underscored how
badly justice had been served. Expressions of outrage from
Whitaker 's camp were immediate and to the point.
"The rat bastards!" said
Lou Duva ,
Whitaker 's co-trainer, as he plunged headlong for
the exit. "I told you we were going to whip him. Then they stole the fight
--William Nack, Sports Illustrated
(Sept. 20, 1993)