Sugar Ray Net Worth: Family, History & Success Story
Sugar Ray Net Worth
With so many titles to his record, such as Gold Medal boxing champion for the United States at the 1976 Montreal Olympics, being crowned ‘Boxer of the Decade’ in the 1980s, and becoming the first professional boxer to win more than $100 million in purses, he has a long list of accomplishments. Sugar Ray Leonard is an American motivational speaker and retired professional boxer with a net worth of $120 million. Leonard, like the original “Sugar Ray” Robinson, is regarded as one of the greatest boxers of all time. He won world titles in five different weight divisions throughout his 20-year career.
Life Before the Career
Sugar Ray wasn’t always the man he is now. Ray Charles Leonard was born in Wilmington, North Carolina on May 17, 1956. Ray, who was raised alongside six siblings, moved to Washington, D.C. with his family when he was three years old. Ray was named by his mother after the legendary singer Ray Charles. When Ray was ten years old, the family relocated to Palmer Park, Maryland. Ray earned a reputation as a quiet student while in high school. Instead of playing with other kids, Leonard preferred to stay at home and read comic books while playing with his dog. He was also an excellent student. When Ray’s mother was asked in an interview about the kind of student he was, his mother quoted that she never had to come to school to hear about any problems Ray might have had.
A Kick-Start to the Career
Ray began boxing in 1969, following in his older brother Roger’s footsteps. Leonard boxed in the Eastern Olympic Trials after a rough start, lying about his age in the same way Sugar Ray Robinson had done decades before. Despite barely reaching the semifinals, Ray drew the attention of an Olympic Team assistant coach, who described him as “sweet as sugar.” Leonard was dubbed “Sugar Ray” after people put two and two together. Leonard had won the National Golden Gloves Lightweight Championship and the Light Welterweight Championship before the end of his amateur career. He was also named to the United States Olympic Team. He earned the gold medal as the light welterweight representative of the United States in 1976.
Legacy in the Making
Leonard confessed in his book that he had been sexually abused as a child. He disclosed in his 2011 book that he had been abused by two distinct guys. The first was an Olympic trainer, and the second was a sponsor. Since then, he has branded himself a “poster child” for child molestation and actively urges other victims to come forward and expose their abuse.
Even so, he was able to achieve his goals, and as a result, Sugar Ray Leonard opted to become a professional boxer after the Olympics to support his first child. He subsequently began training with Angelo Dundee, who previously taught Muhammad Ali. The day he got into the ring; fortune was on his side. Sugar Ray made his professional debut in 1977 against Luis “The Bull” Vega. Leonard fought Floyd Mayweather, Floyd Jr.’s father, in another memorable battle in 1978. He has won the NABF Welterweight Championship in 1979.
The road to $100million purses
Not only was he able to capture the attention of the audience, but with his name and reputation, he was also on his way to amassing vast sums of money. Leonard earned his first world title in 1979, defeating Wilfred Benitez for the WBC Welterweight Championship. Sugar Ray was awarded a $1 million prize. To defend his title, Leonard knocked out Dave “Boy” Green in 1980. He later earned more than $9 million for his fight against Roberto Duran, which he lost handily. Sugar Ray, on the other hand, was given a rematch later that year, for which he was paid $7 million. Sugar Ray outboxed and tormented Duran until the Panamanian boxer simply quit out of embarrassment. Sugar Ray proceeded to defend his title and earned $11 million in a fight he won against Thomas Hearns. Leonard retired after suffering a detached retina in 1982. Despite reservations about his surgically healed eye, he announced a comeback in 1983. After a string of defeats, Leonard announced his retirement again. Sugar Ray made another return in 1986, when he faced Marvin Hagler, earning at least $11 million. He was victorious in that battle by a disputed split decision. Ray’s Biggest Enemy was not the people that stepped in the ring as his opponents but it was his old age. Despite his retirement, the adrenaline rush of being in the ring couldn’t keep him inside for long. As a result, Leonard made another return in 1988, when he received a guaranteed purse of at least $10 million for fighting Donny Lalonde. He won the battle and successfully defended his title against Thomas Hearns, earning a guaranteed $14 million. Leonard fought in what he promised supporters would be his final fight in 1991, losing to Terry Norris. Sugar Ray returned out of retirement five years later, at the age of 40, to fight Hector Camacho. Unfortunately, he was knocked out for the first fight in his career, and Leonard eventually chose to retire.