Sugar Ray Leonard is a retired professional welterweight boxer. With a real name of Ray Charles Leonard, he was named after his mother’s favorite singer. Leonard was born in Rocky Mount, North Carolina in 1956 and grew up as a shy kid in a loving but financially strained family, relocating to different states three times throughout his childhood. However, his two older brothers are credited with introducing Leonard to the sport of boxing. After convincing him to come to their local recreational center and strap on a pair of boxing gloves with them, there was no turning back. Leonard immediately fell in love with the sport, and due to his quick and competent learning ability, along with his dedicated work ethic, Leonard went on to win three golden gloves, a gold medal at the Pan American games, and an Olympic gold medal all before the age of 20. Leonard had plans to attend college after cashing in at the Olympics, but due to outside factors and family strains, including fathering a son with his then high school girlfriend and his parents becoming ill, he had to keep boxing to make a living. Becoming a boxing legend, Leonard was the first boxer to earn more than $100 million, won world titles in five weight divisions, was named “Boxer of the Decade” in the 1980’s, and was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame. He is currently an occasional actor and a motivational speaker countrywide, talking about the hardships he has faced throughout his life and offering insight and advice to young ones on how to cope with and overcome them.
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