Popular Tulsa boxing figure Cecil Pettigrew dies at 64 | Sports News

Relatives and associates report on Facebook that Cecil Pettigrew, one of the more well-known and popular figures in Tulsa boxing history, died on Thursday night at the age of 64.

Pettigrew’s wife Carrie recently indicated to the Tulsa World that Pettigrew had been contending with a variety of health issues.

After his retirement from the fight game, Pettigrew was a combat-sport trainer, an in-demand personal trainer and the coach of youth-league football teams. The news of his passing resulted in scores of Facebook tributes to a sweet-natured man whose boxing nickname was “Lethal Cecil.”

This tribute was posted by the East Central Senior High Memorial Page account: “Please join us in prayers and (extending) condolences to the friends and family of Cecil Pettigrew, class of 1977.

“He was a beloved man to so many in the community and he will be missed terribly.”

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Boxrec.com, considered to be the online authority on boxers’ records, reports Pettigrew’s professional record as having been 41-17-2.

“Cecil had a great boxing record, but he was way better than his record showed,” former kickboxing champion Dale “Apollo” Cook said. “He took fights against world-ranked guys on short notice, and most (of those) fights were on the road. He proved himself first by winning the Tulsa Toughman boxing tournament.”

During a 17-year pro career that began in 1981, Pettigrew fought 31 times in Tulsa but was also involved in bouts conducted in New York City, Las Vegas and Atlantic City, New Jersey.

“Cecil was the best boxing sparring partner I ever had,” said Cook, now a promoter of mixed martial arts shows. “He showed up every day, (and) even when I didn’t want him to. During those hard sparring days, pushing each other made us better men.

“He could take a punch and hit like a mule. With his East Central wrestling background, he would have been a great MMA fighter.”

“We shed blood, sweat and tears together, and a lot of laughs,” Cook added. “He was a good man who brought out the best in those around him. He will be missed.”

In the main event of the Tulsa Charity Fight Night show in 1996, Pettigrew was matched with a Louisiana super middleweight, Timmy Rabon, who was 4 inches taller. Pettigrew sustained a cut left eyelid and was wobbled during the third round, but recovered to record a fifth-round knockout victory.

Watching from ringside that night were former heavyweight champions Floyd Patterson, Ingemar Johansson and Tommy Morrison, along with Roy Jones Jr., who at that time was the unbeaten super middleweight champion and considered the world’s best fighter pound-for-pound.

Longtime Tulsa boxing trainer Ronnie Warrior says Pettigrew was “well known for his conditioning, physical toughness and endurance. Long live the Lethal one.”


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