Sugar Ray Leonard
May. 17th, 1956
Wilmington, North Carolina, USA
Sugar Ray Leonard's Main TV Roles
Main Movie Roles2002 - I Spy
Guest TV Roles
Himself - Author
Himself - Restaurant Patron & Author: The Big Fight
Considered one of the best fighters of all time, Ray Leonard burst onto the international scene by winning the light-welterweight gold medal at the 1976 Olympic Games in Montreal. He turned professional with a lawyer, Mike Trainer, handling the business side of his career whilst hiring the legendary trainer Angelo Dundee to guide him towards the top. Dundee's success with Muhammad Ali (I) and Trainer's business savvy ensured that three years later, Sugar Ray Leonard was not only a millionaire, but ready for his first world title.
Puerto Rican Wilfredo Benitez, himself a world champion since the age of 17, surrendered the WBC welterweight title in 1979, and Sugar Ray was on his way. The next seven years saw Leonard engage in some of the most famous battles in ring history with his three most famous rivals; Thomas "The Hitman" Hearns, Roberto "Hands of Stone" Duran, and "Marvelous" Marvin Hagler. Duran was the victor in early 1980, taking the WBC crown after a brutal contest. However honor was restored later that same year, with the famous "No Mas" victory. Duran was out-boxed, out-sped, and humiliated and in the eighth round surrendered with the words "No Mas - No More".
1981 saw the WBA/WBC welterweight unification bout with Hearns. Victory came in the fourteenth round after a see-saw fight that saw both fighters hurt before Sugar Ray prevailed. Retirement followed, but in 1984 returned at light-middleweight, although he retired again soon after. Clearly he wasn't the same fighter as in his hey-day. However, the pull of the limelight was too much and in 1987 returned to the ring with an audacious challenge for the WBC world middleweight crown against the fearsome champion Marvin Hagler in Las Vegas. Despite being a heavy underdog, Leonard confounded the critics by beating Hagler for the first time since 1980, and taking his beloved world title. Hagler retired, claiming he was robbed.
Many dispute Leonard's victory, and opinion is divided, even to this day. Although he won the WBC super-middleweight & light-heavyweight titles, it was clear that Sugar Ray's best days were behind him. A hollow rubber match victory against Duran and a draw with Hearns carried little weight, and he took a beating in a WBC light-middleweight title against "Terrible" Terry Norris in 1991, getting knocked down twice and sustaining a nasty beating. Six years later, a non-title contest against Hector "Macho" Camacho finally persuaded Sugar Ray Leonard that his time was up.
After some years establishing himself as a top promoter, he joined forces with ex-British paratrooper & reality TV mogul Mark Burnett to create "The Contender". With movie star Sylvester Stallone also on board, "The Contender" gives an insight to the hopes & fears of young professional prize-fighters as they compete for a $1 million prize and a headline-grabbing main event in Las Vegas. It was of particular importance to Leonard, as he wanted the public to see that although he had all the trappings of success, such as wealth & glory, the road to the top was filled with setbacks and problems, both physically & emotionally, which he himself had to overcome in his boxing days. Ray Leonard still remains in the public eye to this day, and his legacy as one of the sport's greatest exponents means that his place in boxing history is forever secure.
- Olympic welterweight boxing gold medalist, 1976. Held various world boxing championships, welterweight through light heavyweight, 1979-1990. Inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame, 1997.
- Attended boxing matches with friend Michael J. Fox.
- Inducted into the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame, 1985.
- Inducted into the World Boxing Hall of Fame, 1996.
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