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The Baltimore Sun

Sugar Ray Leonard

Sugar Ray Leonard is one of the legendary sports icons of the 20th century whose very name epitomizes boxing and conjures the image of a champion. He was host and mentor for the first three seasons of the series Contender on NBC & ESPN, by Dreamworks Television and Mark Burnett Productions. Ray recently appeared in the Paramount Pictures feature film The Fighter, and served as a consultant on the upcoming Walt Disney Pictures film starring Hugh Jackman, Real Steel, being released fall 2011. Ray will release his first autobiography (Viking Books) entitled The Big Fight: My Life In and Out of the Ring on June 7, 2011, developed with veteran author Michael Arkush. Having learned to box at age 14, Rays career includes three National Golden Gloves titles, two Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) championships and the 1975 Pan-American Games crown. After winning a gold medal in boxing at the 1976 Olympic Games, he turned professional to help his family deal with mounting medical bills incurred because of his fathers illness. The late Howard Cosell called Ray the new Mohammed Ali. In 1977, at age 20, he won his first professional fight, setting the stage for a collection of some of the most memorable fights in history. He went on to defeat some of the finest boxers of the modern era, including Wilfred Benitez, Roberto Duran, Thomas Hearns and Marvin Hagler, from whom Ray won the world middleweight title. During his 20-year professional career, he also won world titles in the welterweight, junior middleweight, super middleweight and light heavyweight divisions, becoming the first boxer to win world titles in five different weight classes, a record that stands to this day. Ray has been a successful television broadcaster for NBC, ABC, HBO and ESPN, and has fostered commercial endorsement relationships with companies including EA Sports, Track Inc., Ford, Carnation, 7-Up, Nabisco, Coca-Cola, Revlon and numerous others. He is also among the most sought-after motivational/inspirational speakers in the world. His speech, entitled POWER (Prepare, Overcome, and Win Every Round), is consistently booked with major Fortune 500 companies worldwide. Ray has always been devoted to the community and for many years has been the international chairman of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Walk for a Cure. He also participates in a variety of national and international causes benefiting childrens charities. Ray has four children and lives in Southern California with his wife, Bernadette.ABC/ADAM LARKEY