Games & medals
|#1||Boxing||Light-Welterweight (≤63.5 kilograms)|
Ray Charles LEONARD biography
Sugar Ray Leonard was one of the most popular fighters of our time. He was christened Ray Charles Leonard, because, he explains, "I was supposed to be a singer." But he turned out to be quite a boxer. Sugar Ray held numerous titles by the time he made it to the Olympics. He was twice (1974-75) North American amateur champion, twice (1973-74) Golden Gloves champion, twice (1974-75) AAU champion, and he won a gold medal at the 1975 Pan American Games. He won his gold in Montréal rather easily. Leonard originally stated he would not turn pro, but instead accept a scholarship to attend the University of Maryland. But the financial lure of professional boxing was too much and he turned pro in 1977. Leonard immediately became one of the top welterweights and a media favorite with his good looks, quick smile, and pleasant personality. In 1979 Ray Leonard won his first world title by defeating Wilfred Benitez for the WBA version of the welterweight championship. He lost the title in 1980 to Roberto Duran in what would prove to be his only loss as a professional. In a re-match later in 1980, Leonard regained the title from Duran by a TKO in the eighth round. In 1981 Leonard fought Tommy Hearns to take the WBC version of the welterweight crown and unify the title. He won the fight and realized the largest payday ever for a professional athlete when he took home an estimated $10 million. Leonard later also won the light middleweight title in 1981 by defeating Ayub Kalule. Leonard fought his "last" fight in early 1982. While training for a subsequent fight he noticed vision problems and his doctors diagnosed a detached retina. Surgery corrected this problem but rather than risk future damage, Sugar Ray retired from the ring. The retirement was short-lived and Leonard returned to the ring in May 1984. In May 1986, in another "superfight", Leonard won a controversial decision over middleweight champion, Marvelous Marvin Hagler, winning the WBC middleweight title. Leonard then retired but came back briefly in 1988 and fought thru 1991, winning both the WBC super-middleweight and light-heavyweight titles. After another "retirement" Leonard came back in 1997 and was decisively beaten by Hector "Macho" Camacho. Leonard eventually claimed professional world titles in five weight classes.