Sugar Ray Leonard: biography
Multiple world boxing champion Sugar Ray Leonard is even popular with people who are not connected with the world of sports. Throughout his career, he showed excellent results in the ring, for which he is often regarded as one of the greatest boxers of all time. Few modern fighters have succeeded in repeating such a success.
Childhood and youth
Sugar was born in May 1956 in the city of Wilmington, North Carolina, and spent his childhood there. He was the fifth child in the family, and the parents had seven sons and daughters. The boy's mother, Getha, worked as a nurse, and his father, Cicero, was a manager in a supermarket.
In childhood, Leonard sang in a church choir, although he was a shy child who spent a lot of time at home reading comics and playing with a dog. At school, he behaved faultlessly, and according to his mother, the teacher never complained about her son.
Leonard became interested in boxing at the age of 14. At that time, he lived in Palmer, a poor suburb of Baltimore, where coaches saw the young man’s natural talent and wanted to train him. The first amateur fight took place in 1972, and he won the Golden Gloves Championship in 1973 and 1974. In 1976, Sugar went to Montreal to represent the United States at the Summer Olympics, where he won a gold medal.
One year later, Leonard made his professional debut. Sugar mastered boxing techniques under the guidance of Angelo Dundee (he also trained Muhammad Ali). The first significant opponent of the boxer was Floyd Mayweather, who lost in the tenth round by technical knockout. A year later, the man first fought with Wilfred Benítez for the WBC Welterweight Championship and won it.
Later, the boxer had more than one victory, including the title defense. He knocked out Dave Green, won the fight against Roberto Durán, and then also easily defeated Larry Bonds. He demonstrated courage in battles against Ayub Kalule and Marvin Hagler.
Leonard decided to quit boxing in 1992, after the victory of Terry Norris. Fans had already said goodbye to the legendary athlete, but after five years, he unexpectedly returned to face Héctor Camacho in the ring. The opponent knocked out Sugar, and the battle was over. After that, the American athlete finally left the sport.
His refined technique and unique style helped Sugar to win numerous bouts. The man’s reach was 74 in (188 cm), his height was 5.8 ft. (177 cm), and weight did not exceed 176.37 (80 kg) at the end of his career.
Leonard began his acting career when he left boxing. Being a famous person, he first appeared in commercials and starred in sports television shows. Sugar made a movie debut in the TV series Married... with Children, in which the man got a small role. Then he appeared in the TV series Renegade and the 1993 horror film Tales From The Crypt.
In 1996, Leonard got the leading role in the action movie Riot. His acting in the TV series L.A. Heat. and Independent Lens was no less memorable. Sugar portrayed a minor character in Betty Thomas’s 2002 movie I Spy. In 2010, director David O. Russell invited the boxer to the biopic The Fighter. After five more years, the man starred in the TV series The Comedians. Besides, he regularly appears on television shows.
The boxer’s personal life has not always been successful. His first wife was Juanita Wilkinson, who gave birth to a son. This pregnancy was unintended, and the young people were short of money. Moreover, the couple constantly quarreled, and it made Leonard return to boxing more than once. Over time, the man became addicted to alcohol and drugs, which his wife did not like, and she filed for divorce in 1990.
Now Sugar is married to another woman; her name is Bernadette. In total, Leonard has four children, two from his previous marriage and two from the second one. The former athlete lives in California and keeps fit. He is an active user of social networks, has an Instagram page, and regularly posts photos.
Sugar Ray Leonard now
Although he quitted sports long ago, Sugar is still famous; the man is often invited to television and sports programs. In 2019, he appeared in Antoine Fuqua’s documentary What's My Name: Muhammad Ali, in which he gave comments on the career of his colleague, alongside other eminent athletes.
Sugar Ray Leonard has a net worth of $120 million.
Awards and achievements
- 1975 – Pan American Games Light Welterweight Gold Medalist
- 1976 – Olympic Light Welterweight Gold Medalist
- 1979-1980 - WBC Welterweight Champion
- 1981 – WBC Light Welterweight Champion
- 1981-1982 - WBC Welterweight Champion
- 1987 - WBC Middleweight Champion
- 1988-1989 – WBC light heavyweight Champion
- 1988-1990 - WBC Super Middleweight Champion
- 1993 – Tales From The Crypt
- 1996 – Riot
- 1996 – L.A. Heat
- 2002 – I Spy
- 2009 – How Bruce Lee Changed the World
- 2010 – The Fighter
- 2015 – The Comedians