Sugar Ray Leonard
Born: May 17, 1956
Place of Birth: Wilmington, NC
Zodiac Sign: Taurus
Career and Life
Ray Charles Leonard aka "Sugar" Ray Leonard, is an American former professional boxer, motivational speaker, and occasional actor. Often regarded as one of the greatest boxers of all time, he competed from 1977 to 1997, winning world titles in five weight divisions; the lineal championship in three weight divisions; as well as the undisputed welterweight title. Leonard was part of "The Fabulous Four", a group of boxers who all fought each other throughout the 1980s, consisting of Leonard, Roberto Durán, Thomas Hearns, and Marvin Hagler.
"The Fabulous Four" created a wave of popularity in the lower weight classes that kept boxing relevant in the post-Muhammad Ali era, during which Leonard defeated future fellow International Boxing Hall of Fame inductees Hearns, Durán, Hagler, and Wilfred Benítez. Leonard was also the first boxer to earn more than $100 million in purses, and was named "Boxer of the Decade" in the 1980s. The Ring magazine named him Fighter of the Year in 1979 and 1981, while the Boxing Writers Association of America (BWAA) named him Fighter of the Year in 1976, 1979, and 1981. In 2002, Leonard was voted by The Ring as the ninth greatest fighter of the last 80 years; BoxRec ranks him as the 14th greatest boxer of all time, pound for pound.
Renowned for his flamboyant lifestyle outside the ring, Robinson is credited with being the originator of the modern sports "entourage". After his boxing career ended, Robinson attempted a career as an entertainer, but it was not successful. He struggled financially until his death in 1989. In 2006, he was featured on a commemorative stamp by the United States Postal Service.
Leonard married his high school sweetheart, Juanita Wilkinson, in January 1980. Their six-year-old son, Ray Jr., served as the ring bearer. In 1984, they had another son, Jarrell. They were divorced in 1990.
In 1989, Leonard was introduced to Bernadette Robi by Kenny G at a Luther Vandross concert. Robi is the daughter of Paul Robi, one of the original Platters, and she is the ex-wife of Lynn Swann. Leonard and Robi were married at Leonard's $8.7 million estate in Pacific Palisades, California in August 1993. At the wedding ceremony, the grounds were converted into a garden with 10,000 roses and blossoms of other flowers flown in from the Netherlands.
Leonard is also the godfather of Khloé Kardashian and has appeared on many episodes of Keeping Up With The Kardashians.
For many years, Leonard has been the International Chairman of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation's Walk for a Cure and is actively involved in raising both awareness and funds.
Leonard testified before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs in 2009. The Senate hearing was titled "Type 1 Diabetes Research: Real Progress and Real Hope for a Cure". He testified about the burden of diabetes and the need for continued research funding to find a cure.
Leonard and his wife, Bernadette, founded the Sugar Ray Leonard Foundation to support the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and its annual Walk for a Cure. In 2009, the foundation expanded to support programs that help people rebuild their communities in ten cities across the United States. It supports accessible housing, healthcare services, and educational services and job training.
In 2007 he was awarded The Ambassador Award of Excellence by the LA Sports & Entertainment Commission at the Riviera Country Club for his continued community involvement.
In his autobiography The Big Fight: My Life in and out of the Ring, published in June 2011, Leonard reveals that as a young boxer he was the victim of sexual abuse from an Olympic trainer as well as another man, a benefactor. He has since made public appearances to bring attention to the issue of child sex abuse, declaring himself a "poster child" for the cause and encouraging victims to report their abuse.