2014-2015 Speakers


"Sugar Ray" Leonard


Boxing Legend, Successful Entrepreneur, and Author

April 7, 2015
7 p.m.


Sugar Ray Leonard is one of the legendary sports icons of the 20th century whose very name epitomizes boxing and conjures the image of a champion.

Leonard published his first autobiography (Viking Books) entitled THE BIG FIGHT: My Life In and Out of the Ring on June 7, 2011. In this unflinching and inspiring autobiography, the boxing legend faces his single greatest competitor: himself. Leonard's brutally honest and uplifting memoir reveals in intimate detail for the first time the complex man behind the boxer. The Olympic hero, six-time champion and beloved athlete waged his own personal battle with depression, rage, addiction and greed. With honesty, humor and hard-won perspective, Leonard comes to terms with both triumph and struggle-and presents a gripping portrait of remarkable strength, courage and resilience, both in and out of the ring.

In fall 2013, Leonard debuted his new contemporary athletic men's collection with Starting Lineup available at Saks 5th Avenue and startinglineupclothing.com. Through his online community www.sugarrayleonard.com Leonard connects with fans through the sport of boxing, general fitness and philanthropy. The site features everything you need to know about Leonard’s exciting boxing career and the sport in general, as wells as updates from the Sugar Ray Leonard Foundation, which helps fight diabetes and child obesity. Leonard also shares photos and video footage from his personal archives.

Leonard was host and mentor for the first, second and third seasons of the critically-acclaimed series, Contender, on NBC & ESPN. Contender was produced by DreamWorks Television and Mark Burnett Productions. Leonard recently appeared in the critically acclaimed Paramount Pictures feature film The Fighter. Leonard also recently served as a consultant on DreamWorks and Walt Disney Pictures’ hit film starring Hugh Jackman Real Steel.

Having learned to box at the age of fourteen, Leonard's illustrious career includes three National Golden Gloves titles, two Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) championships and the 1975 Pan-American Games crown. After winning a gold medal in boxing at the 1976 Olympic Games, he turned professional to help his family defer mounting medical bills incurred because of his father's illness. Blinding speed, tremendous power and great charm turned Leonard into an immediate media favorite. The late Howard Cosell called Leonard the "new Muhammed Ali."

In 1977, at the age of twenty, Leonard won his first professional fight, setting the stage for a collection of the most memorable fights in history. He went on to defeat some of the finest boxers of the modern era, including Wilfred Benetiz, Roberto Duran, Thomas Hearns and Marvin Hagler, from whom Leonard won the world middleweight title. During his twenty-year professional career, Leonard also won world titles in the welterweight, junior middleweight, super middleweight and light heavyweight divisions. He was the first boxer to win world titles in five different weight classes.

Leonard's sincere, charismatic personality coupled with his ring experience led to a successful career as a television broadcaster for NBC, ABC, HBO and ESPN. His television credits also include competing on the hit ABC series, Dancing with the Stars. In addition, his celebrity status and tremendous cross-over appeal fostered commercial endorsement relationships with numerous companies including EA Sports, Vartec Telecom, Track Inc., Ford, Carnation, 7-Up, Nabisco, Coca-Cola and Revlon. Leonard is also among the most sought after motivational/inspirational speakers in the world today. His speech, titled "POWER" (Prepare, Overcome, and Win Every Round), is consistently booked with major Fortune 500 companies in the United States and abroad.

Successful business ventures aside, Leonard has always been devoted to the community and to helping those in need. For many years, Leonard has been the international chairman of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Walk for a Cure. He also participates in a variety of national and international causes benefiting children's charities.

Leonard has four children and lives in Southern California with his wife Bernadette.


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