Sugar Ray Leonard Discusses His New Partnership With Skechers And Says No Fighters Today Could Last In His Era On Boxing Insider Radio
With his Hall of Fame career long behind him, Sugar Ray Leonard still works out consistently. The all-time great sits down with the crew to discuss how Skechers have been able to assist him in doing just that.
While it may appear as though Leonard is still in fighting shape, he has no intentions of stepping foot inside the ring. But as a vivid watcher of the sport he once dominated, Leonard broke down who amongst them could compete in his day. He also took the time to address how fighters continue to say their the best without actually proving it. To tune in and hear the full conversation, subscribe to Boxing Insider Radio on iTunes, Spotify or simply head over to Boxinginsider.com.
Once the lights dim and the gloves come off for good, most professional boxers let loose. The shredded abs have turned into beer bellies and the hulking biceps have gotten considerably flabbier. After spending countless years as both an adolescent and a full-grown adult preparing their bodies for war in the ring, once they’ve had enough, they often sit back and enjoy the fruits of their labor.
Yet, even at the age of 65, Sugar Ray Leonard continues to train on a daily basis. In his prime, his workout regimen was far more strenuous than it is today. In fact, simply wearing boxing shoes can become too painful to bear. But, to prevent him from having those issues, Leonard has teamed up with Skechers.
“I have an exciting campaign launching this fall with Skechers,” said Leonard during an interview on Boxing Insider Radio. “Not one, but two new commercials for Skechers Arch Fit because they’re that comfortable. I wear them all the time for the arch support, especially on days I know I’ll be on my feet for a while. Skechers can make all the difference, especially to your walking routine.
“I’m still hitting the bag, jumping rump. I’m too old to use boxing shoes so these feel much, much better for me. I’m just in that fight mode. Being in shape for boxing is the best feeling in the world. Your mind is sharp, movement is sharp, everything is sharp.”
Although Leonard spends plenty of his time in the confines of a boxing ring, he’s fully aware that things aren’t the same. Hitting the heavy bag doesn’t produce the same thud that it once did in his prime. The punches also come out noticeably slower. Having gone over two decades without fighting on the professional level, it isn’t surprising to see that Leonard has slowed down. With that said, when he was smack dab in the middle of his prime, Leonard carved out one of the greatest careers ever.
His placement amongst the best to ever lace up a pair of gloves came as a result of picking up legacy defining wins against the best of his era such as Tommy Hearns, Marvin Hagler, Roberto Duran and a long list of others.
While he doesn’t necessarily like to compare eras, he does notice a difference between this generation and the one he’s accustomed to. Unlike fighters of today who boast, brag and unapologetically claim to be the best in their respective division, Leonard can’t recall a time when fighters of his era did the same.
In the mind of the 1997 Hall of Famer, there was never a need for himself, or any of his contemporaries for that matter, to speak excessively about their own skills. Instead, there was only one way to prove your worth.
“You don’t claim you’re the best, you fight the best. I would like to see more of that, champions fighting champions. Don’t tell them how great you are, show them how great you are.”
Although Leonard competed as high as 168 pounds, he spent the bulk of his career in the welterweight division. In today’s day and age, the 147 pounders have all forged their own legacy. And while he doesn’t make frequent trips to the fights, Leonard has watched from afar as fighters such as Errol Spence Jr., Terence Crawford, Shawn Porter, Danny Garcia and Keith Thurman have all become world champions and at some point, been pound for pound regulars.
No matter how great they’ve all proven to be, however, when asked who amongst them could compete in his golden era, Leonard made sure his answer was as clear as possible.
“None of them,” said Leonard. “I was blessed to come along with the Tommy Hearn’s, Duran’s, Hagler’s and Wilfred Benitez. They don’t give him his just due. I never faced someone who made me miss so much. Put it this way, there qualified. They’d be qualified to fight in my era.”
Sugar Ray Leonard Unsure How He Would Beat Floyd Mayweather In A Fantasy Matchup: “I Would Have To Pull Out All My Tools”
By: Hans Themistode
For the vast majority of his twenty-one-year career, Floyd Mayweather seemed impossible to beat.
Things would always start the same, a highly touted opponent would claim that they’ll be the one to hand him his first defeat and saunter their way to the ring oozing with confidence. Yet, at the end of 12 mostly boring and lopsided rounds, Mayweather would hear his name called by the ring announcer as boo’s echoed throughout the arena.
With a spotless 50-0 record, it doesn’t appear that Mayweather is returning to the ring for the umpteenth time. For now, fans are simply forced to play imaginary matchmaker. On the shortlist of opponents believed to give Mayweather a serious test is former multiple division champion and all-time great, “Sugar” Ray Leonard.
When posed with the question of how he would conquer Mayweather, the 1997 Hall of Famers face turns dead serious. He pauses and shakes his head as his mind begins filling with thoughts. Then, he blurts out his answer in an unsure tone.
“There is no one way to beat Floyd,” said Leonard during an interview with Mike Tyson on Hotboxin’ with Mike Tyson Clips. “I would have to pull out all my tools and figure it out. A lot of feints and body shots.”
Leonard, 64, officially hung up his gloves following a fifth-round knockout loss to Hector Camacho in 1997. Mayweather would follow suit 20 years, wrapping up a dominant career with a tenth-round stoppage win against UFC Conor McGregor.
While the possibility of both men squaring off in the ring is nothing more than a pipe dream, much like boxing fans who are curious as to how their showdown would have played out, Leonard wishes he could go back in time and give everyone a definitive answer to that question.
Sugar Ray Leonard: The Haney Project, Episode 1
by Hans Olson
The Haney Project—Golf Channel’s reality show in which world renowned golf instructor Hank Haney (who once coached Tiger Woods) attempts to improve the golf games of varying celebrities—-returned last night.
Among the current cast is boxing legend Sugar Ray Leonard, who immediately jumps out as this season’s biggest star.
Which is somewhat unusual….
Not just for the fact that he’s Sugar Ray ‘effin Leonard…
It’s unusual due to the fact that, while this season focuses not on a particular pupil as other seasons have (Barkley, Romano, Limbaugh)—this one feels as though it’s a vehicle for Sugar Ray—despite the fact that there are 3 other contestants….
Along with Leonard, chef Mario Batali, Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine, and supermodel Angie Everhart compete for a $100,000 prize to a charity of their choosing…
Nine minutes into the telecast, something strange happens…
We’re met not with Sugar Ray, but with the Golden Boy himself, Oscar De La Hoya.
Haney has traveled to Los Angeles to visit with Oscar, attempting to learn more about De La Hoya’s pugilistic colleague.
“Well, I know he can do it,” says De La Hoya.
“I know he has the capability—especially the focus and the determination up here (pointing to his head).”
We then segue-way into a clip of Sugar Ray on the links.
“Everyone says ‘don’t try to kill the ball,’” exclaims Leonard. “Just swing nice and easy…”
Note: Maybe SRL needs to take note from Happy Gilmore here: just tap it in.
We then go back to Oscar’s Golden Lair.
“For some reason when I play with him, I know I’m always going to out-drive him, because he’s always using his arms,” says De La Hoya to Haney.
“I think if you tell him, ‘if you don’t break 80, Roberto Duran is waiting for you on the 19th hole,'” is Oscar’s advice to Haney to motivate him.
“I was an optimist when I fought Tommy Hearns, when I fought ‘Marvelous‘ Marvin Hagler, when I fought Roberto Duran,” said a humbled Ray Leonard on the course.
“But I’m not an optimist when I’m on the golf course. It’s just….there’s too many factors for me.”
As the show edits back to Hank’s interview with Oscar, the Golden Boy advises Haney to remind Ray of his boxing technique: not using just his arms, but the torque of his body punching, as a basis for his swing on the course.
“It’s just little reminders with Sugar Ray because with him, it’s all mental,” says Oscar, as he again points to his head.
“He just has to be reminded up here, because you’re going to be able teach one of the greatest athletes that the sport of boxing has ever seen.”
After Haney meets with friends of the other contestants, he’s back at his ranch in Dallas, where he gets to analyze Sugar Ray’s swing.
Director of Instruction, Steve Johnson—along with Peter Krause—puts together some footage of Ray in action.
We learn that Sugar Ray began golfing in 1991, has a handicap of 16, has a goal to get said handicap into the single-digits.
“I have so many thoughts in my head,” admits a somewhat annoyed Leonard. “Don’t bend the wrist, don’t lean forward, don’t clasp…all these things…all these things are talking to me…”
“I’m not embarrassed about my game. I feel bad about it, but I’m not embarrassed about it!”
Sugar Ray’s emotion is what impresses Haney.
“He should do good, but I wonder what his reaction is going to be when I say, ‘you don’t use your hands at all?’”
After Hank examines the game of the other participants, we get to the meeting of all the contestants (sans Batali due to a family emergency) in Beverly Hills.
“My golf game is really inconsistent,” says Leonard as he’s driven to the meeting.
“Some days I play wonderful, and some days I play as though it’s my first day on the golf course. And I’m kind of looking for that magical pill–and I think Hank is the one that can give me that prescription.”
As they inch closer toward meeting each other, Sugar Ray’s competitive spirit re-ignites.
“This is going to be quite interesting,” quips the Olympic Gold Medalist.
“I’m going to try to do the psychological warfare, the same way I did with Hearns, Hagler, and Duran. It may work…it may work against me…who knows…I’ll try it though..
Sugar Ray’s competitive edge still rears its head.
“I want to improve. I just want to get better.”
“I’ve never prayed to win in a fight—ever,” reflects Sugar Ray.
“Even as an amateur boxer, I never prayed to win. I prayed that no one got hurt. But at golf? I’ve prayed sometimes!”
When the crash-course of swinging in front of the cameras (and each other) happens for the first time, things get interesting.
We end with Hank giving his advice.
We can only imagine where everything goes from here…
The first episode concludes with Levine taking a faux left-hand to the gut from Sugar Ray.
He didn’t flinch.
Is this a precursor to things to come???
No idea. But this is great reality television.
And great and Sugar Ray Leonard go hand-in-hand.
(Boxing Insider’s Hans Olson can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @hansolson)