The Full Wiki

Sugar Ray Leonard: Wikis

  
  
  

Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.

Encyclopedia

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Sugar Ray Leonard
Ray Leonard.jpg
Ray Charles Leonard
Statistics
Real name Ray Charles Leonard
Nickname(s) Sugar
Rated at Welterweight
Super Welterweight
Middleweight
Nationality United States American
Birth date May 17, 1956 (1956-05-17) (age 53)
Birth place Wilmington, North Carolina, United States
Stance Orthodox
Boxing record
Total fights 40
Wins 36
Wins by KO 25
Losses 3
Draws 1
No contests 0
Olympic medal record
Men's Boxing
Gold 1976 Montreal Light Welterweight

Sugar Ray Leonard (born Ray Charles Leonard on May 17, 1956) is a retired American professional boxer [1]. Named Fighter of the Decade for the 1980s by Ring magazine, he is widely considered to be one of the best boxers of all time, winning world titles at multiple weights and engaging in contests with such celebrated opponents as Wilfred Benítez, Thomas Hearns, Roberto Durán and Marvin Hagler. He was named after the singing legend Ray Charles.

Contents

Career

Amateur

Before he was 20, Leonard had won three National Golden Gloves titles, two AAU championships and the 1975 Pan-American Games crown. Leonard earned a spot on the 1976 Olympic team, which included future heavyweight champions Michael Spinks and his brother Leon. Leonard, up to that point in his amateur career, had lost only five fights, among them a contested bout in 1974 against Kazimierz Szczerba of Poland.

A lot of amateur boxing observers thought that the great Cuban knockout artist Andrés Aldama would defeat the 20-year-old Leonard in the Olympic final. Aldama was virtually a pro and had scored 5 straight knockouts to reach the finals. Leonard brought Aldama to his knees with a left hook to the chin. Twice during the final round, the referee had required Aldama to take a standing eight-count to prove that he was able to continue the fight. Although Aldama persisted in the match, Leonard emerged the victor by a 5-0 decision and won the gold medal for the United States. It was Leonard's 145th victory as an amateur boxer.

After winning the Olympic gold Leonard announced to the press, "The journey is over, the dream fulfilled" and he retired from boxing, telling the public that he wanted to go to college. Leonard had hoped to cash in on endorsements but they never came. With the bills piling up and sickness in his family he decided to turn professional.

Achievements

  • 1972 National Golden Gloves Lightweight Champion
  • 1973 National Golden Gloves Lightweight Champion, defeating Hilmer Kenty
  • 1973 Runner-up in National AAU Light Welterweight Championships, losing to Randy Shields
  • 1974 National AAU Light Welterweight Champion
  • 1974 National Golden Gloves Light Welterweight Champion
  • 1975 National AAU Light Welterweight Champion
  • Won the Light Welterweight Gold Medal for the United States at the 1975 Pan American Games
  • Won the Light Welterweight Gold Medal for the United States at the 1976 Olympics in Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Olympic Results

  • Defeated Ulf Carlsson (Sweden) points 5-0
  • Defeated Valery Limassov (Soviet Union) points 5-0
  • Defeated Clinton McKenzie (Great Britain) points 5-0
  • Defeated Ulrich Beyer (East Germany) points 5-0
  • Defeated Kazimierz Szczerba (Poland) points 5-0
  • Defeated Andrés Aldama (Cuba) points 5-0

Professional

After this success, Leonard wanted to attend the University of Maryland. However, his father became ill and his family needed money. With no endorsement contracts coming his way, Leonard announced his intention to become a pro boxer.

Angelo Dundee, Muhammad Ali's trainer, was brought in to be Leonard's trainer and manager. Long-time coaches Janks Morton, Dave Jacobs and lawyer Mike Trainer made up the rest of Leonard's team. Promoted by ABC TV as their replacement for the aging Ali, Leonard made $40,000 for his first professional fight (then a record) against Puerto Rican Luis Vega. The fight was televised nationally on CBS-TV, and the novice Leonard won by a 6 round unanimous decision.

Leonard won his first 25 pro fights. In Sugar Ray's most impressive performance to date, he knocked out Pete Ranzany in 4 rounds to win the North American Boxing Federation (NABF) welterweight championship. This bout took place in August 1979. A month later, a 1st round KO of respected contender Andy Price followed. Price had won his last four bouts, three of them in 1979, but was decisively beaten by Leonard. Leonard then signed to meet the undefeated WBC World Welterweight Champion Wilfred Benítez in November.

First world title

In a highly competitive battle, Leonard became world champion with a technical knockout of Benítez in round 15, with the referee stopping the fight in Leonard's favor with six seconds left. Leonard led by 2, 4, and 7 points on the three judges' scorecard at the time of the stoppage.

The Ring Magazine named Leonard the Fighter of the Year for 1979.

In March 1980, Leonard won his 1st defense by easily beating British challenger Dave "Boy" Green with a devastating 4th round knockout in Landover, Maryland. Green had been a very busy fighter, having fought 6 times in 1979, winning 5 of them.

The Brawl in Montreal

Leonard returned to the Montreal Olympic Stadium to defend his title against former World Lightweight Champion and legendary boxer Roberto Durán, in the first superfight of the 1980s that was dubbed "The Brawl in Montreal" by Sports Illustrated. In a long, grueling contest, mostly fought against the ropes or in corners, the more experienced Duran outmauled Leonard in a very close fight and captured a unanimous decision. Leonard surprised many observers by standing flat-footed with the Panamanian slugger.

Their rematch was held in New Orleans on November 25, 1980. This time around, Leonard used far more lateral movement and jabs, staying off the ropes whenever possible. In round 7, Leonard taunted Duran, dropping his arms and winding up with a bolo punch. Neither fighter had absorbed much punishment, but Leonard had a narrow lead on all three scorecards after 7 rounds. In round 8, Duran turned around, walked to his corner and gave up. Although Duran is widely remembered for the now famous words, "no más", he never actually said them. It was actually commentator Howard Cosell who uttered the phrase, which inspired an angry comment from Duran in a 2005 article about the fight (however, the article makes it clear that Duran did quit, as he actually said the Spanish equivalent of "I can't continue"). Regardless, the sports world was stunned by Duran's actions. The controversy regarding this bout and Duran's motivation for quitting continues to this day. However, in an interview with ESPN, Duran had stated that he had started to get stomach cramps and felt it better to quit now than suffer through it. Trainer and TV commentator Gil Clancy opined that perhaps Duran was on the verge of defecating. [2] In an episode of FOX Sports's Beyond The Glory, Duran's trainer said that Duran had turned to him and said "I won't fight anymore with this clown." [3] Duran's manager, Carlos Eleta, said, "Duran didn't quit because of stomach cramps. He quit because he was embarrassed."

Leonard was a world champion again and, after avenging his only defeat, once more was on top of the boxing world.

In March 1981, Leonard scored a routine 10th round TKO of unheralded Larry Bonds in a welterweight title defense.

Second world title

On June 25, 1981, Leonard fought Ayub Kalule, the undefeated WBA World Junior Middleweight Champion. Kalule gave Leonard a tough fight, but Sugar Ray won via a 9th round TKO.

Undefeated arch-rival Thomas Hearns, meanwhile, was tearing apart the welterweight division and had won the WBA world title by knocking out Pipino Cuevas in the 2nd round. Hearns seemed unbeatable, having scored 30 KO's in 32 fights with no losses. A unification bout was set for September 16, 1981 at Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Hearns unexpectedly weighed in at a very light 145 pounds, causing many to speculate he over-trained. "The Showdown" was televised on closed-circuit and pay-per-view outlets throughout the world.

Hearns (32-0) controlled the early rounds with his jab, keeping Leonard (30-1) off-balance. In the middle rounds, Leonard got inside and seriously hurt Hearns with left hooks. From rounds 8-12, Hearns rebounded and took charge by becoming the boxer, using side-to-side movement, steady jabs and occasional right crosses. Leonard's left eye, injured during a sparring session two weeks earlier, began to swell up. By the end of round 12, it was almost completely closed.

Warned by trainer Angelo Dundee that he was "blowing it", Leonard roared out in the 13th round and seriously hurt Hearns with a barrage of punches and knocked him down. Hearns barely survived the round. In the 14th, a combination of blows prompted the referee to stop the fight. At the time of the stoppage, all 3 judges had Hearns ahead on points. Leonard was now the undisputed welterweight champion, and had greatly increased his popularity and respect among some sports fans. Hearns's manager and trainer, Emanuel Steward, agreed with the stoppage. Steward said, "I was talking to Tommy and all of a sudden his head slumped down. He was out of gas. I knew right then it was over."[4]

Some disagreed with the judges' scorecards, arguing that rounds six and seven should have been given to Leonard by 10-8 margins. In those 2 rounds, Hearns was badly hurt but didn't go down. All three judges scored those rounds 10-9 for Leonard. [5]

Sugar Ray was later named Fighter of the Year by The Ring Magazine for 1981, and they also tabbed his fight with Hearns as Fight of the Year. In addition, Ray was named ABC's Wide World of Sports Athlete of the Year and Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year.

Retirement and return

In November 1982, after consulting with doctors, friends and family, Sugar Ray invited Hagler and other boxing dignitaries to a charity event in Baltimore, Maryland. Standing in a boxing ring with ABC's Howard Cosell nearby, Leonard announced his retirement, saying a bout with Hagler would unfortunately never happen. Leonard maintained his eye was fully healed, but that he just didn't want to box anymore. In retirement, Leonard continued to be a commentator for HBO & CBS boxing contests, and performed other assignments for them. He also did more endorsements.

Ahead were very difficult times: Leonard admitted to a stint with cocaine that lasted from 1982 to 1986. He fell victim to the drug, and reports surfaced of violence against his wife. Leonard admitted that his problems were caused by a need to be involved in the sport of boxing during the periods he was away from it, and immaturity.

Missing the limelight and the competition, Leonard announced in December 1983 that he was returning to the ring. This was the first of what would be several boxing comebacks during his career. Leonard boasted that he would re-claim his welterweight titles, and then take on Aaron Pryor, Donald Curry, Milton McCrory, Duran, Hearns and finally Hagler. This decision was met with a torrent of criticism from fans and the media, who felt Leonard was taking unnecessary risks with his surgically repaired eye.

A bout with Philadelphia's Kevin Howard was scheduled for February 1984 in Worcester, Massachusetts. This was postponed until May 11 when Leonard had minor corrective surgery on his right eye. This latest eye injury further fueled the flames of those who opposed Leonard's comeback.

The Leonard-Howard bout was televised live on HBO. Howard knocked Leonard flat on his back in the 4th round. It was the first knockdown of Leonard's professional career. The fight had a disputed ending, with some feeling that the referee stopped the fight prematurely. At the post-fight press conference, Leonard surprised everyone by announcing his retirement again, saying he just didn't have it anymore.

Marvin Hagler

In May 1986, Leonard shocked the sports world once again when he announced he would return to the ring for one more fight: against World Middleweight Champion Marvin Hagler. This announcement generated a lot of controversy because of Leonard's inactivity and eye injuries. Yet it also excited many sports fans, who had wanted to see this match for years. Hagler took a few months to decide, then agreed to the match, scheduled for April 6, 1987 at Caesars Palace, Las Vegas.

Leonard had a very long training camp for the Hagler fight. After the Hagler fight, it was revealed that Leonard had a number of full 12 round fights behind closed doors. These were officially sparring sessions, but with a few major differences. There were no headguards used, small gloves and the sparring partners were told to try their best to win over the full 12 rounds.

Two of the sparring partners were Quincy Taylor, future WBC World Middleweight Champion, and Anthony Fletcher (who was a southpaw). Taylor floored Leonard during one of these 'fights'.

The bout against Hagler was marketed by the promoters as "The Superfight". In exchange for more money, an over-confident Hagler agreed to a 12 round limit (which guaranteed WBC sanction) and Reyes gloves, and a 20 foot ring. The 12 round limit would haunt Hagler later on. Leonard-Hagler was broadcast on pay-per-view TV and closed-circuit outlets all over the world and was a huge money maker.

Hagler was a heavy favorite, the odds starting at 4-1, then settling at 3-1. Leonard had only fought once in five years, and had never fought as a middleweight. It was only Hagler's third fight in two & a half years as he entered the twilight of a glittering career. Leonard used the same tactics as he did in the 2nd Duran match, lateral movement, jabs and clinching when he was in trouble. Hagler had trouble keeping up with the fleet-footed Leonard. In general, Hagler landed the harder blows and Leonard landed more punches and the flashier ones. Neither fighter was knocked down. Leonard was warned repeatedly for holding by the referee, but no points were deducted. The decision went to Leonard via split decision. Hagler bitterly protested the result, and many boxing fans and writers have argued about the decision since he had retired.

Don Lalonde

On November 7, 1988 Leonard came back and fought Don LaLonde. Leonard suffered a 4th round knockdown and was cut on the nose. Yet he recovered and knocked out Lalonde in the ninth round to win two world titles in one fight, the newly created WBC Super Middleweight Championship, and Lalonde's WBC Light Heavyweight Championship. This arrangement was somewhat controversial because light-heavyweight LaLonde had to weigh-in at or below the super-middleweight limit of 168 pounds.

In 1989, Leonard fought two old rivals. In June, he battled Hearns again at Caesar's Palace. In an exciting battle, Leonard was knocked down twice, but the decision by the officials was a twelve round draw. It was controversial, as most onlookers thought Hearns deserved the decision. Years later, Leonard said he too thought Hearns won the fight and he considered their rivalry tied at one win each. Nevertheless, the draw decision enabled Leonard to retain his WBC Super Middleweight title. Six months later, in December 1989, Sugar Ray fought Roberto Durán for a 3rd time. This matchup took place at the new Mirage Hotel in Las Vegas. Leonard used constant lateral movement and won by a lopsided twelve round unanimous decision over a listless Duran. In a fight that many considered to be very boring, both fighters were booed often by the fans and many left the arena before the decision was announced. Pat Putnam of Sports Illustrated wrote, "Leonard gave them artistic perfection when they wanted heated battle, and they booed lustily. Most fight fans would not spend a dime to watch Van Gogh paint Sunflowers, but they would fill Yankee Stadium to see him cut off his ear."

Terry Norris

Leonard offered Hearns a 3rd fight, but Hearns said he could no longer make the weight and he moved up to the light heavyweight division.[6] Leonard was inactive in 1990, but came back in February 1991 to fight World Junior Middleweight Champion Terry Norris at Madison Square Garden. Norris knocked Leonard down twice and won a lopsided unanimous decision. After the verdict was announced, a battered Leonard took the microphone and once again announced his retirement.

Around this time, Leonard's job as a boxing commentator with HBO came to an end. His association with CBS had ended a few years earlier.

Héctor Camacho

In 1997, at age 40, Leonard launched what was his final boxing comeback against former lightweight champion Héctor Camacho. Years past his prime, Leonard was stopped by the smaller, usually light-hitting Camacho in 5 rounds.

Personal life

Leonard married his high school sweetheart Juanita Wilkinson, from Parkdale High and had two sons. Leonard and Wilkinson later divorced, and in 1994, he married Bernadette Robi, the daughter of Paul Robi. In 1997, Leonard was inducted into the International Boxing Hall Of Fame. Ray's older brother, Roger Leonard, was also a professional boxer, as well as an amateur standout. He frequently fought on the undercard of Ray's bouts.[7] He is also the godfather of Khloe Kardashian.

Professional ventures

For a short time, Leonard headed a boxing promotion company that included world cruiserweight champion Vassiliy Jirov and rising heavyweight Joe Mesi.

He was a recurring cast member of the American action television series, L.A. Heat in the role of Det. Benny Lewis. He also played an undertaker in one episode of Tales from the Crypt.

He is currently involved in the TV reality boxing series, The Contender and has served as host and boxing mentor to the aspiring fighters. His former co-host Sylvester Stallone was one of the executive producers, along with Mark Burnett.

June 1,2009 He visited Charles Carroll Middle School in New Carrollton Maryland to talk 2 the 7th and 8th graders and get to meet them and the principal of the school.

See also

External links

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Wilfred Benítez
The Ring Welterweight Champion
30 Nov 1979 – 20 Jun 1980
Succeeded by
Roberto Durán
Preceded by
Roberto Durán
The Ring Welterweight Champion
25 Nov 1980 – 9 Nov 1982
Retires
Vacant
Title next held by
Donald Curry
Preceded by
Ayub Kalule
The Ring Junior Middleweight Champion
25 Jun 1981 – 25 Jun 1982
Retires
Vacant
Title next held by
Thomas Hearns
Preceded by
Marvin Hagler
The Ring Middleweight Champion
6 Apr 1987 – 11 Nov 1988
Retires
Vacant
Title next held by
Sumbu Kalambay
Preceded by
Wilfred Benítez
WBC Welterweight Champion
30 Nov 1979 – 20 Jun 1980
Succeeded by
Roberto Durán
Preceded by
Roberto Durán
WBC Welterweight Champion
25 Nov 1980 – 9 Nov 1982
Retires
Vacant
Title next held by
Milton McCrory
Preceded by
Ayub Kalule
WBA Junior Middleweight Champion
25 Jun 1981–1981
Vacates
Vacant
Title next held by
Tadashi Mihara
Preceded by
Thomas Hearns
WBA Welterweight Champion
16 Sep 1981 – 9 Nov 1982
Retires
Vacant
Title next held by
Donald Curry
Vacant
Title last held by
José Nápoles
Undisputed Welterweight Champion
16 Sep 1981 – 9 Nov 1982
Retires
Vacant
Title next held by
Donald Curry
Preceded by
Marvin Hagler
WBC Middleweight Champion
6 Apr 1987 – 27 May 1987
Retires
Vacant
Title next held by
Thomas Hearns
Preceded by
Donny Lalonde
WBC Light Heavyweight Champion
7 Nov 1988 – 21 Feb 1989
Retires
Vacant
Title next held by
Dennis Andries
Inaugural Champion WBC Super Middleweight Champion
7 Nov 1988 – 15 Dec 1990
Retires
Vacant
Title next held by
Mauro Galvano
Awards
Preceded by
Muhammad Ali
Ring Magazine Fighter of the Year
1979
Succeeded by
Thomas Hearns
Preceded by
Thomas Hearns
Ring Magazine Fighter of the Year
Shared award with Salvador Sánchez

1981
Succeeded by
Larry Holmes

Quotes

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Ray Charles Leonard (born 17 May 1956) is an American former professional boxer. He was one of the leading boxers in the world in the 1970s and 1980s.

Sourced

  • I know exactly what it takes to beat this man, but people say, 'Well, Ray, two years of inactivity, you'll be rusty.' No, no. He will eliminate the rust because he is what I want and I am what he wants. And boxing needs that kind of fight.
  • Tommy Hearns seemed like an indestructible machine, so to beat him, I think that was my defining moment, the pinnacle.
    • Sugar Ray Leonard, Oct 6, 2006 interview [[2]]
  • I tried the gloves on, and it just felt so natural. From that moment I became so embedded in boxing. I found a friend in boxing.
    • Sugar Ray Leonard on his first taste of boxing[[3]]
  • I had a drug problem. I'd go to parties, take a leak, and there was cocaine right there. I was 25 when it started, rich, famous, and retired.
    • Sugar Ray Leonard talking about drugs[[4]]
  • Duran quit in frustration. People were laughing and he couldn't deal with that.
  • Inactivity is the biggest sin in boxing.
    • Sugar Ray Leonard[[6]]

Sugar Ray Leonard on other boxers

  • Tommy Hearns seemed like an indestructible machine, so to beat him, I think that was my defining moment, the pinnacle.
    • Sugar Ray Leonard, Oct 6, 2006 interview [[7]]
  • The Ricky Hatton that beat Kostya Tszyu in 2005 can beat Floyd Mayweather, he was so focused and in such amazing physical shape that he would have given anybody at that level a tough time.
  • That name, 'Manos de Piedra', is true, Hands of Stone. Every punch, and I'm not exaggerating, every punch that he hit me with, from the body to the head, felt like bricks, stone, rocks. He knocked my teeth back. My front, my first 3 or 4 teeth, he knocked them back because he was just so possessed. He was a demon.

External links

Wikipedia
Wikipedia has an article about:







Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address
Message