"If I had three wishes, they've already been granted." says Whitaker, moving into the kitchen after Von leaves the house on an errand. "I wished to win the gold medal. I wished I could buy my mother a house—a real house, a nice house. And I wished I could have a home and a family of my own. Fighting Ch�vez? Fighting Ch�vez is my—what do you call it?—my destiny."
Now that Ch�vez has the WBC and WBA titles, his handlers are talking about moving him up, possibly starting at the junior welterweight class and eventually fighting in the junior middleweight division. Meanwhile, Whitaker just waits. And while he waits, he must deal with all sorts of distractions. He doesn't worry.
"The cocaine pipe is here, and it's here to stay." he says. "Yeah, people have offered it to me. Walk through the Park. You can see the broken pipes on the ground where there used to be liquor bottles. Crack is everywhere. Women selling their bodies just so they can inhale something. Why don't they stop it? They got no hope. Smoking that stuff is the one way they can be like a movie star. So they say to me. 'C'mon, Pete, let's have a good time. Let's party. Nobody care but us, Pete. You just like us.' Man, the pipe is here to stay."
Whitaker stops, grows quiet and says, "Nobody will run me away. I'm strong. Somebody asks for something from me, even my own brothers and sisters, I say the best way is for you to get it yourself."
"He loves himself," says Wilson. "He managed that in spite of it all. He is a special boxer. But people don't expect someone special should or could come from the projects. Some minds are still being enslaved."
Whitaker pulls out a loaf of white bread, some slices of bologna and ajar of mayonnaise from the refrigerator and makes himself a sandwich. "I think my managers were surprised when I didn't trust them at first," he says. "Sometimes my brothers and sisters are surprised when I don't trust them. I trust nobody. I only trust me."
But if boxing has made Whitaker, then what will become of him if he doesn't get a shot at Ch�vez's title? " Ch�vez is the best, and everybody knows it," says Whitaker, "I'm the best, too. It's meant to be. If I don't fight him...I can't see not fighting him. I've never run from trouble in my life. I've heard people say, "We know Pete. He ain't gonna do nothing. He ain't no better than us." But I've got a surprise for everybody. I've always been around bullies. I always had to survive."