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An Evening with the Champ

Sugar Ray Leonard had no problem telling the young aspiring youth boxers in the audience that if it wasn't for boxing, he may have been in jail or even dead.


On Friday, May 6, Leonard was the guest speaker during Anthony Adams House's first Annual Fundraising Dinner. The mission of Anthony Adams House is to provide a safe, home-like, caring environment for vulnerable at risk youth to enable them to unlock their potential. Event Coordinator and Anthony Adams House Founder and CEO Candice Nelson started the organization to honor her father who passed in 2015.


"I know what it is like to be on the streets," said Nelson. "My father loved me unconditionally and always was there for me and this is a tribute to that love he showed me. Sugar Ray was his favorite boxer of all time because he was such a role model."


Hospice of the Calumet Area Board Member Linda Randolph remembers how prolific Sugar Ray was in the ring but is very impressed what he continues to do for his community and serve as a role model for youth.


"There are no shortcuts to succeed," said Leonard. "You have to just go for it. God has always been there for me. I made an impact in the ring but I want to have an even bigger one outside the ring.”


Leonard shared stories throughout the night about his legendary bouts with the likes of warriors like Roberto Duran, Thomas "Hitman" Hearns and "Marvelous" Marvin Hagler. Sugar Ray answered questions for an hour and answered questions from the audience before signing autographs and taking photos with guests.


Leonard held no punches when it came to discussing difficult times in his life when he succumbed to drugs and alcohol and let fame and fortune get the best of him. He also shared the first time he was beat up at school and cried in embarrassment. It was that moment that he vowed never to be bullied, again.


"We all go through struggles in life," said Leonard. "I have made an impact in that ring but I want to have an even bigger one outside the ring. I am honored to share my story and help encourage anyone that may be inspired by it."


Leonard said had he not been a fighter, he would have been a substitute teacher because it was a substitute teacher that influenced him and believed in him when he wasn't a very good student.


It appears Sugar Ray Leonard is teaching more than he knows.


For more information about Anthony Adams House, visit their website aa-house.org.

Photo: Damian Rico | Sugar Ray Leonard takes a photo with Linda and Lonnie Randolph.

Photo: Damian Rico | Sugar Ray Leonard signs an autograph.

Photo: Damian Rico | Sugar Ray Leonard takes a photo with Melina and Kevin Frazier.

Photo: Damian Rico | Sugar Ray Leonard takes a photo with Kari and Damian Rico.

Photo: Damian Rico | Sugar Ray Leonard takes a photo with Kari and Damian Rico.

Photo: Damian Rico | Sugar Ray Leonard recalls his fists of fury during the Hagler fight.

Photo: Damian Rico | Sugar Ray Leonard takes a photo with Hospice of the Calumet Area Marketing Director Damian Rico.

Photo: Damian Rico | Sugar Ray Leonard answers questions during a Q&A.

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