Sugar Ray Leonard
Sports legend Sugar Ray Leonard was widely regarded as one of the greatest boxers of all time, becoming the first professional boxer to earn over $100 million in purses, as well as being named "Boxer of the Decade" for his accomplishments during the 1980s. Born Ray Charles Leonard on May, 15, 1956 in Rocky Mount, NC to parents Cicero and Gertha Leonard, he grew up in the areas of Washington, D.C. and Maryland, and, at the urging of his older brother, Roger, began boxing at the age of 14 at a local recreation center. Leonard excelled as a fighter. Soon after fighting in the 1972 Olympic trials - after lying about his age to qualify and despite early loses to more seasoned fighters - gained a reputation as a contender and the nickname "Sugar Ray" after the man many considered the greatest boxer of all time, Sugar Ray Robinson. In 1976, he won a gold medal in the light welterweight division, immediately announcing his retirement and plans to attend college after the bout. However, his father's illness and mounting medical bills, along with a newborn child, soon altered Leonard's plans. In 1977, he fought, and won, his first professional showdown, setting the stage for an astounding series of title belts and victories over the likes of Roberto Duran, Thomas Hearns, and Marvin Hagler. Over the course of his professional career Robinson went on to become the first boxer to win title belts in five different weight classes, a long-standing world record.