Sugar Ray Leonard is widely regarded as one of the best professional boxers of all time, winning world championships in five different weight classes and becoming the first fighter ever to earn more than $100 million in prize money.
“For some reason, I was drawn towards boxing,” he said years later. “Or maybe boxing drew me towards it — because once I put those gloves on, after about six months, boxing was my life.”
Not to be lost in the shuffle was a sensational amateur career, capped by a dominant performance at the Montreal 1976 Olympic Games.
A light welterweight with two Golden Gloves national titles, Leonard was part of an Olympic team that some consider the greatest in boxing history, joined by gold medal winners Michael and Leon Spinks, Leo Randolph and Howard Davis Jr.
It would nearly impossible to top what Leonard did en route to winning a gold medal. He won each of his six bouts by 5-0 decisions, including the final against Andres Aldama of Cuba, who had advanced through the tournament with five consecutive knockouts.
“I’m finished. I’ve fought my last fight,” Leonard said at the time. “My journey has ended. My dream is fulfilled. Now I want to go to school.”
Leonard planned to go to the University of Maryland. But his father became ill and his mother suffered a heart attack. Leonard knew there was money to be made as a pro boxer. The rest is history as Leonard enjoyed an illustrious professional career, going 36-3 with 25 knockouts and winning world titles in five different weight classes.