Sugar Ray Leonard. Source: The Republic

Sugar Ray Leonard was an Olympic and professional welterweight boxing champion. He retired from boxing in 1997 and was inducted into the Boxing Hall of Fame the following year.

Source: The Independent

Sugar Ray Leonard is a former professional boxer from the United States. He earned a gold medal in light-welterweight boxing at the 1976 Olympics and turned professional the following year. His victory with “Marvelous” Marvin Hagler for the World Boxing Council’s middleweight belt in 1987 is regarded as one of the greatest professional boxing battles of all time. Leonard retired with a 36-3-1 record and was inducted into the Boxing Hall of Fame in 1997.

Early life

Sugar Ray Leonard, one of boxing’s most popular and successful fighters, was born Ray Charles Leonard on May 17, 1956, in Wilmington, North Carolina. Ray Charles, the fifth of Gertha and Cicero Leonard’s seven children, was named after his mother’s favourite singer.

Leonard and his family relocated to Washington, D.C. when he was three years old. Seven years later, they moved to Palmer Park, Maryland, for good. Leonard grew up in a loving home although money was often scarce. His father worked as a night manager at a store, and Gertha was a nurse.

Source: Pinterest

Leonard’s childhood was often difficult—as a boy, he saw the lives of those around him destroyed by crime and violence. Several of his high school classmates died as a result of violent crimes, and many more were imprisoned. Leonard, on the other hand, was adamant about not succumbing to his environment.

Leonard was merely a marginal athlete in team sports. His two older brothers, who had started boxing, persuaded him to go to the Palmer Park Community Center (their neighbourhood leisure centre) and put on some gloves. His life would never be the same after that.

Leonard quickly became enamoured with boxing and honing his talents in the sport. In 1979, he told Sports Illustrated, “For some reason, I wanted it to so bad,” “I felt it in me, and I had to keep going.”

Early career

Leonard was swift and nimble. What’s more, he was ready to learn. In 1973, the fruits of his labour began to bear fruit. That year, he won the National Golden Gloves, and a year later, he was elected national Amateur Athletic Union champion.

Source: AIBA

“When I first started, I used to fight like Joe Frazier,” Leonard once claimed. “I’d come in low, bob and weave, and knock out a lot of men that way. When I met Muhammad Ali and began studying Sugar Ray Robinson, I straightened out.” Leonard admired Robinson so much that he adopted the moniker “Sugar Ray,” which stuck.

Leonard won three National Golden Gloves titles, two AAU championships, and the 1975 Pan American title during his brilliant amateur career. He rose to celebrity status after overcoming significant hand injuries to win the gold medal in the light-welterweight (139-pound) division at the 1976 Olympic Games in Montreal, Canada.

Professional career

Leonard had no intention of ever becoming a professional boxer; he had wanted to cash in on his Olympic glory and never return to the ring again. But family circumstances, including both of his parents getting ill, forced his hand, and he began fighting again not long after the Olympics.

Source: The Boxing Magazine

Leonard achieved the same level of success as an amateur boxer as a pro. He won the World Boxing Council’s welterweight title in November 1979, and over the next decade, he competed in some of boxing’s most memorable fights, winning nearly all of them. Among his victories were victories over Roberto Duran and Thomas Hearns.

Leonard retired in 1984, but returned to the ring a few years later, in 1987, to defeat “Marvelous” Marvin Hagler for the middleweight title. To this day, the battle between Leonard and Hagler in 1987 is largely regarded as one of the best in boxing history.

Leonard officially retired from boxing in 1997, concluding his professional career with a 36-3-1 record and 25 knockouts. He was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame later that year.

Leonard appeared on the hit ABC show Dancing with the Stars (season 12) in 2011, competing against Ralph Macchio, Wendy Williams, and Hines Ward, among others. The Big Fight: My Life in and Out of the Ring, his memoir, was published the same year. He is also involved in philanthropy through the Sugar Ray Leonard Foundation, which he co-founded with his wife Bernadette in 2009. The charity generates funding for juvenile diabetes research and improves public awareness about the disease.

Professional boxing record

40 fights36 wins3 losses
By knockout251
By decision112
Draws1
Professional record summary

Personal life

In January 1980, Leonard married his high school love, Juanita Wilkinson. Ray Jr., their six-year-old son, was the ring bearer. Jarrell, their second son, was born in 1984. In 1990, they divorced. Juanita Leonard stated during divorce proceedings that her husband physically beat her while under the influence of alcohol.

He was also an occasional cocaine user, according to her. Leonard’s evidence verified his wife’s assertions and went on to explain that their marital difficulties were not caused by drug and alcohol use.

Source: Twitter

Kenny G introduced Leonard to Bernadette Robi at a Luther Vandross concert in 1989. Robi is the ex-wife of Lynn Swann and the daughter of Paul Robi, one of the original Platters. Leonard and Robi married in August 1993 at Leonard’s $8.7 million mansions in Pacific Palisades, California. The grounds were transformed into a garden for the wedding ceremony, with 10,000 roses and the blossoming of other flowers brought in from the Netherlands.

Leonard is also Khloé Kardashian’s godfather and has been on several episodes of Keeping Up With The Kardashians.

Rеаl Nаmе/Full NаmеRay Charles Leonard
Nісk Nаmе/Сеlеbrаtеd NаmеSugar Ray Leonard
Віrth РlасеWilmington, North Carolina USA
Dаtе оf Віrth/Віrthdау17 May 1956
Аgе/Ноw Оld65 years old
Неіght/Ноw ТаllIn Centimetres – 178 cm
In Feet and Inches – 5′ 10″
WеіghtIn Kilograms – 72 Kg
In Pounds – 159 lbs
Раrеntѕ NаmеFather – Cicero Leonard
Mother – Getha Leonard
ЅіblіngѕRodger, Sandy, Bunny, Sharon
NаtіоnаlіtуAmerican
Маrіtаl ЅtаtuѕMarried
WifeJuanita Wilkinson (1980-1990),
Bernadette Robi(1993-current)
Кіdѕ/Сhіldrеn NаmеRay Charles Jr, Camille, Daniel Ray,
Daniel Ray, Jarrel
РrоfеѕѕіоnFormer American Professional Boxer,
Motivational speaker, Actor
Nеt Wоrth$130 million
Lаѕt UрdаtеdЈuly 2021

Charity work

Leonard has served as the International Chairman of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation’s Walk for a Cure for several years, and he is actively involved in generating both awareness and finances.

In 2009, Leonard testified before the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee. The title of the Senate hearing was “Type 1 Diabetes Research: Real Progress and Real Hope for a Cure” He spoke about the diabetes burden and the necessity for continued research funding to find a cure.

Source: Sugar Ray Leonard foundation

Leonard and his wife, Bernadette, established the Sugar Ray Leonard Foundation to benefit the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation’s annual Walk for a Cure. The organisation expanded in 2009 to sponsor projects that assist individuals in rebuilding their communities in ten locations across the United States. It promotes accessible housing, healthcare, educational resources, and job training.

For his ongoing community commitment, he received the LA Sports & Entertainment Commission’s Ambassador Award of Excellence in 2007 at the Riviera Country Club.

Read more: Sugar Ray Leonard record: Early life, career, records of retired professional boxer

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