NORFOLK, JULY 25 -- Hometown hero Pernell (Sweetpea) Whitaker scored a sixth-round technical knockout over Miguel Santana today and claimed the U.S. Boxing Association lightweight title.

Referee Al Rothenberg stopped the fight at 1:10 of the sixth round as the crowd at the Scope roared its approval. Whitaker danced from corner to corner, climbing each turnbuckle, waving to the crowd and throwing imaginary punches.

He is 14-0. He had entered the fight as the North American Boxing Federation lightweight champion. He was ranked No. 4 by the World Boxing Council, No. 5 by the World Boxing Association and No. 4 by the International Boxing Federation.

Santana is 20-2-1. He was ranked No. 6 by the WBC and No. 7 by the IBF.

The bell rang at the start of the sixth round with the crowd chanting "Sweetpea, Sweetpea." Whitaker responded by landing jabs and crosses. He scored to Santana's midsection, nearly doubling him over, and followed with a left hook to the head. Rothenberg stopped the fight seconds later.

Whitaker opened the fight taking the offensive as he promised. He pressed steadily and counterpunched well.

In round two, he cut Santana's face near his right eye. After ending a fierce series of exchanges, Whitaker knocked down Santana. Just before the bell he dropped Santana a second time.

Round three may have been Santana's best. He slowed the pace and kept Whitaker away.