Sugar Ray Leonard is one of only a hand full of men who merit their name being mentioned in the same breath as the great Sugar Ray Robinson.
Born Ray Charles Leonard, on 17th May 1956, in Wilmington, South Carolina, USA. The young Leonard had an outstanding amateur career winning 145 of 150 bouts. Then in 1976, he won Gold representing his country at the Olympic Games in Montreal, Canada.
With this, the young Olympian became a household name. In addition, at this early stage, he showed his savvy business head. Before turning professional he recruited lawyer, Mike Trainer, to see over all business deals, and hired the world’s best trainer Angelo Dundee. Promoters and others have exploited all too many fighters, but Leonard was determind not to have his name added to the long and growing list, and negotiated advertising among other ventures, his future was secured before he entered the ring for his first professional fight.
Leonard started his professional career with twenty-seven victories, and his extraordinarily self-belief was being portrayed as arrogance. In 1979, Leonard won the welterweight title in his first attempt, by stopping Wilfred Benitez in the final seconds of the fifteenth round. He defended the title successfully against England’s Dave Green in 1980. Next, he would face Panamas Roberto Duran; Duran was the antithesis of Leonard in fighting style and personality and questioned the champion’s masculinity, insulted him endlessly trying to goad the champion into ditching all his attributes to engage in a brawl. The tactic worked and Leonard lost his title in an epic encounter. It was his first defeat in the pro ranks and in their rematch five months later Leonard battered Duran to submission in the eighth, in a notorious and controversial incident that witnessed the macho Panamanian saying no mass, no mass (no more, no more).
In June 1981, Leonard climbed to the light-middleweight division where he knocked out Ayub Kalule in round nine, winning the WBA title. Resolute to become undisputed champion Leonard returned to the welterweight division and faced Thomas Hearns the WBA champion, the fight was a classic, Leonard came from behind to stop Hearns in the fourteenth. He defended his title once before he retired (the first of several temporary retirements) in 1982 due to a detached retina.
He made a brief comeback the following year but again announced his retirement immediately, this time Leonard would stay away from the ring until an offer to face middleweight champion Marvin Hagler proved irresistible. The fight was held in a temporary outdoor arena in the cark park of Caesars Palace, in April 1987, and is reported as grossing $100 million. With no tune up fight and only one contest in the previous five years, Leonard won a sensational and hotly disputed decision. The following year Leonard would force a stoppage when fighting Donny Lalonde winning the WBC super-middleweight & light heavyweight title, making him one of only three boxers to win titles in five different weight categories. Two of the three defeats on Leonard’s record came in his last two fights when he lost to Terry Norris in 1992 and again in a comeback against Hector Camacho in 1997.
In 2005 Sugar Ray Leonard was the host of the boxing reality TV serious The Contender. This program would bring together a group of fighters who lived together and fought one another in an elimination-style competition. While their lives and relationships with each other and their families are depicted. The show was a huge success in its Infancy and introduced a whole new generation of fans to the sport.
|5 Feb||Luis Vega||W 6||Baltimore, Maryland|
|14 May||Willie Rodriguez||W 6||Baltimore, Maryland|
|10 Jun||Vinnie DeBarros||W TKO 3||Hartford, Connecticut|
|24 Sept||Frank Santore||W KO 5||Baltimore, Maryland|
|5 Nov||Augustine Estrada||W KO 5||Las Vegas, NV|
|17 Dec||Hector Diaz||W KO 2||Washington DC|
|4 Feb||Rocky Ramon||W 8||Baltimore, Maryland|
|1 Mar||Art Mcnight||W TKO 7||Dayton, Ohio|
|19 Mar||Javier Muniz||W KO 1||New Haven, Connecticut|
|19 Mar||Bobby Hayman||W RTD 3||Landover, Maryland|
|13 Apr||Randy Milton||W TKO 8||Utica, New York|
|13 May||Rafael Rodriguez||W 10||Baltimore, Maryland|
|3 Jun||Dick Ecklud||W 10||Boston, Massachusetts|
|18 Jul||Floyd Mayweather||W TKO 10||Providence, Rhode Island|
|9 Sept||Randy Shields||W 10||Baltimore, Maryland|
|3 Nov||Bernardo Prada||W 10||Portland, Maine|
|9 Dec||Armando Muniz||W RTD 6||Springfield, Massachusetts|
|11 Jan||Johnny Gant||W TKO 8||Landover, Maryland|
|11 feb||Fernand Marcotte||W TKO 8||Miami Beach, Florida|
|24 Mar||Daniel Aldo Gonzalez||W KO 1||Tucson, Arizona|
|21 Apr||Aldofo Viruet||W 10||Las Vegas, NV|
|20 May||Marcos Geraldo||W 10||Baton Rouge, Louisiana|
|24 Jun||Tony Chiaverini||W RTD 4||CP, Las Vegas, NV|
|12 Aug||Pete ranazy||W TKO 4||CP, Las Vegas, NV|
|28 Sept||Andy Price||W KO 2||CP, Las Vegas, NV|
|30 Nov||Wilfred Benitez||W TKO 15||CP, Las Vegas, NV|
|31 Mar||Dave Green||W KO 4||Landover, Maryland|
|20 Jun||Roberto Duran||L 15||Quebec, Canada|
|25 Nov||Roberto Duran||W TKO 8||New Orleans, Louisiana|
|28 Mar||Larry Bonds||W TKO 10||Syracuse, New York|
|25 Jun||Ayub Kalule||W TKO 9||Houston, Texas|
|16 Sept||Thomas Hearns||W TKO 14||CP, Las Vegas, NV|
|15 Feb||Bruce Finch||W TKO 3||Reno, NV|
|11 May||Kevin Howard||W TKO 9||Worcester, Massachusetts|
|6 Apr||Marvin Hagler||W 12||CP, Las Vegas, NV|
|7 Nov||Donny Lalonde||W TKO 9||CP, Las Vegas, NV|
|12 Jun||Thomas Hearns||D 12||CP, Las Vegas, NV|
|7 dec||Roberto Duran||W 12||Mirage, Las Vegas, NV|
|9 Feb||Terry Norris||L 12||MSG, New York, NY|
|1 Mar||Hector Camacho||L KO 5||Atlantic City, New Jersey|