Response Expo Scores Another Knockout: Sugar Ray Leonard to Keynote 2017 Event28 Sep, 2016 By: Thomas Haire
SANTA ANA, Calif. – Sugar Ray Leonard – 1976 Olympic gold medalist and six-time boxing world champion – will welcome attendees to Response Expo 2017 next April with an inspirational and motivational keynote address. Presented by Havas Edge, Leonard will appear at 5:30 p.m., Tuesday, April 25, 2017, at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront to kick off the three-day event.
“Sugar Ray Leonard never stopped battling in the ring – and he’s been just as successful in his life after boxing,” says Response Expo executive director and Response Magazine publisher John Yarrington. “As the first man to win world championships in five different weight classes, he showed amazing versatility and an enduring will to win. Those traits have shaped his inspirational and transformational message – one that he’s delivered to Fortune 500 companies, industry groups, and other leaders around the world.”
After learning to box at age 14, Leonard’s illustrious career included 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 in Montreal, 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 sports-casting legend Howard Cosell called Leonard the “new Muhammad Ali.”
In 1977, at age 20, Leonard won his first professional fight. He went on to defeat some of the finest boxers of the modern era in a series of memorable fights: Wilfred Benitez, 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 – becoming the first boxer to win world titles in five different weight classes.
Leonard’s sincere, charismatic personality – coupled with his ring experience – led to a successful career as a television broadcaster for NBC, ABC, HBO, and ESPN. His television credits also include competing on the hit ABC series Dancing with the Stars. Additionally, Leonard was host and mentor for the first three seasons of the critically acclaimed series, Contender, on NBC and ESPN, produced by DreamWorks Television and Mark Burnett Productions.
Leonard published his first autobiography (Viking Books) entitled THE BIG FIGHT: My Life In and Out of the Ring in 2011. The brutally honest memoir reveals, in intimate detail for the first time, the complex man behind the boxer. Leonard 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 strength, courage, and resilience.
Leonard is a featured character in the 2016 film Hands of Stone, which spotlights his two bouts with Duran. In the film, Leonard is played by star musician and actor Usher. The film also stars Robert De Niro, Edgar Ramirez, and Ellen Barkin. Leonard also appeared in the critically acclaimed 2010 Paramount Pictures feature film The Fighter, and also served as a consultant on DreamWorks and Walt Disney Pictures’ 2011 hit film Real Steel, starring Hugh Jackman.
Successful business ventures aside, Leonard has always been devoted to the community and to helping those in need. For many years, Leonard has been the international chairman of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Walk for a Cure. In 2009, Leonard and his wife Bernadette started the Sugar Ray Leonard Foundation and have been supporting the life-changing programs at the Center for Endocrinology, Diabetes & Metabolism at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.
For Leonard’s full biography, click here.
Don’t miss what promises to be the latest in Response Expo’s super string of stirring, entertaining, and enlightening keynote addresses. Only All-Access Badge holders will gain admittance to Leonard’s presentation. Click here to register today.