Keynote Speaker

Sugar Ray Leonard

Sugar Ray Leonard

Legendary Boxing Champion

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. Having learned to box at the age of fourteen, Leonard's illustrious 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 defer mounting medical bills incurred because of his father's illness. Blinding speed, tremendous power and great charm turned Leonard into an immediate media favorite. The late Howard Cosell called Leonard the "new Muhammed Ali."

In 1977, at the age of 20, Leonard won his first professional fight, setting the stage for a collection of the most memorable fights in history. He went on to defeat some of the finest boxers of the modern era, including Wilfred Benetiz, Roberto Duran, Thomas Hearns and Marvin Hagler, from whom Leonard won the world middleweight title. During his 20-year professional career, Leonard also won world titles in the welterweight, junior middleweight, super middleweight, and light heavyweight divisions. He was the first boxer to win world titles in five different weight classes.

Leonard published his first autobiography (Viking Books) entitled THE BIG FIGHT: My Life In and Out of the Ring on June 7, 2011. In this unflinching and inspiring autobiography, the boxing legend faces his single greatest competitor: himself. Leonard's brutally honest and uplifting memoir reveals in intimate detail for the first time the complex man behind the boxer. The Olympic hero, six-time champion and beloved athlete waged his own personal battle with depression, rage, addiction, and greed. With honesty, humor, and hard-won perspective, Leonard comes to terms with both triumph and struggle-and presents a gripping portrait of remarkable strength, courage, and resilience, both in and out of the ring.

Leonard's sincere, charismatic personality coupled with his ring experience led to a successful career as a television broadcaster for NBC, ABC, FOX, HBO and ESPN. Leonard served as international commentator for the record breaking Mayweather vs. McGregor fight and served as FOX Sports analyst for their supporting programming. He also served as an analyst on Premier Boxing Champions on NBC Sports. His additional television credits include host and mentor for the first three seasons of the critically acclaimed series, Contender and competing on the hit ABC series, Dancing with the Stars.

Leonard appeared in the critically acclaimed Paramount Pictures feature film The Fighter and served as a consultant on DreamWorks and Walt Disney Pictures’ hit film starring Hugh Jackman Real Steel.

Leonard has always been devoted to the community and to helping those in need. In 2009, Leonard and his wife, Bernadette established The Sugar Ray Leonard Foundation, which funds life-changing care & research for pediatric type 1 & type 2 diabetes. The Foundation is also committed to helping children lead healthier lives through diet and exercise. Leonard serves as co-chair for the Ambassadors of Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA) and is 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 children's charities.

Leonard has four children and lives in Southern California with his wife Bernadette.


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