Latham 1 Tim Latham Ms. Melnick Academic English 5 March 2002 The Accomplished Sugar Ray Leonard One of the most successful boxers of the 1980's was Sugar Ray Leonard. He has had many accomplishments, both professional and personal in his life. Sugar Ray was not only known for his clean style of boxing but also for his clean cut charming life outside the ring.
"Born May 17, 1956, in Wilmington, North Carolina, Ray Leonard did not have an easy start in life. He was the fifth of seven children. His mother Getha and father Cicero, though both employed provided a humble beginning for him." (Goldstein 45) "Ray was naturally shy and did not like doing anything physical." (Goldstein 48 - 49) "His older brother Roger eventually got him interested in boxing." (Goldstein 48) "At the 1970 Olympics in Montreal, Ray Leonard won a gold medal." (Goldstein 45) "He later married his high school sweetheart Juanita and had a son Ray Jr.,
born on November 22, 1973." (Goldstein 45, 85) Sugar Ray went on to win numerous boxing matches and titles. He achieved all this despite several moves and a poor childhood.
Along with winning a medal in the Olympics, Sugar Ray Leonard had many other achievements in his lifetime. "He got to meet President Ford at the White House reception for Olympic Medalists." (Goldstein 128) "Sugar Ray won the National Golden Gloves title in 1972." By 1976 Leonard was the undisputed Amateur King of America.." (Goldstein 55) "He presented the "Athlete of the Century" award to Muhammad Ali." (Goldstein 13) "Sugar Ray was the welterweight champion in 1980." (Goldstein 299) "That same year he lost the title and also regained it in November 1980." (Goldstein 299, 28) "Later in his career he formed "Sugar Ray Latham 2 Leonard Inc.," where one of the main programs he supported was"D.A.R.E." (Goldstein 92; ECA Magazine 3) "Lastly, in his career he was able to boast of a boxing record of 28 wins, 1 loss, and 19 KO's." (Goldstein 298) Throughout Sugar Ray Leonards life he had several reasons to be viewed as outstanding.
First, he was a loyal and devoted son. "Taking care of his parents, financially after they both became ill, was a major factor in his decision to enter professional boxing." "In the world of boxing, Leonard was viewed as clean cut and charming outside the ring as he was cunning and lethal within it." "He regarded himself not as a brutal gladiator but as an artist in a sport of precision." (Wilson Web 1) His lifetime commitment to the "D.A.R.E." program also showed the kind of person Sugar Ray was. "The champion regularly lectures boys clubs and civic groups on such subjects as Good Sportsmanship, Brotherhood and The Importance of Staying in School." (Wilson Web 4) Several quotes from Sugar Ray showed the proper, quiet, play by the rules, kind of guy he was. He stated, "In my heart all I ever wanted was a chance at a straight life. I wanted to set an example and I have." (Wilson Web 2) He has also been said to say, concerning his life, "It is about being involved as a constructive citizen and being an all around responsible individual." (ECA Magazine 3) This seemed to be how Sugar Ray wanted to be remembered in his life.
Equipped with speed, ability, and charisma, Sugar Ray provided the world with many years of exciting boxing. He was named fighter of the decade of the 1980's. He entered the decade a champion and left a champion. "Suffering from a detached retina, Sugar Ray retired from the ring." (IBHOF 1) "He returned to boxing several times only to retire for good in 1977." (IBHOF 2) A look back at Sugar Ray Leonard's life is proof that with hard work, determination Latham 3 and a positive sense of values, good guys can finish first.