“Sugar” Ray Leonard Interview: Discusses Troubled Youth
ESPN’s Friday Night Fights presented by Corona Extra will originate from Austin, Texas June 17 at 9 p.m. ET on ESPN2, ESPN Deportes and ESPN3.com when undefeated junior middleweight Fernando Guerrero (21-0, 16 KOs) and former IBF junior lightweight champion Steve “2 Pound” Forbes (35-9, 11 KOs) are featured in co-main events. Friday’s fights will take place at the Erwin Center, home to many Longhorn Network college basketball games this coming season. Joe Tessitore and Teddy Atlas will be ringside describing the action, while studio host Jonathan Coachman will present all the latest boxing news and highlights. The card is presented by Prize Fight Promotions.
Friday’s telecast will feature an interview with “Sugar” Ray Leonard, who talks about his problems with alcohol, drugs and domestic violence caused by being sexually abused by one of his boxing coaches as a young man. Leonard, widely considered to be one of the best boxers of all time, is best known for winning world titles in five weight divisions and defeating future Hall of Famers Wilfred Benitez, Thomas Hearns, Roberto Duran and Marvin Hagler. In 1981, Leonard was named “Fighter of the Year” by The Ring and The Boxing Writers Association of America and was also named “Athlete of the Year” by ABC’s Wide World of Sports. Leonard was named boxer of the decade for the 1980’s.
Friday’s fights features Maryland’s Guerrero, coming off a February 10-round decision win over Derrick Findley, taking on Oklahoma’s Grady “Bad Boy” Brewer (27-12, 15 KOs). After Guerrero’s last fight, ESPN.com’s Dan Rafael wrote, “Guerrero, the 24-year-old blue-chip prospect, has one thing going for him that most other prospects don’t: a rabid fan base. So his fans (in Salisbury Md.) turned out to see him headline ESPN2’s Friday Night Fights, on the first card ever televised in 3D in the United States. Guerrero fought a smart fight, looked in great shape and picked his punches well. He was also patient. He didn’t try to rush toward Findley. Instead, when there were openings, he took advantage by firing solid combinations.”
Detroit’s Forbes, a former IBF junior lightweight champion will take on San Francisco’s Karim “Hard Hitta” Mayfield (13-0-1, 8 KO’s). Forbes is looking to rebound after a February sixth-round technical decision loss against Jo Jo Dan on ESPN’s Friday Night Fights.
“I know Mayfield’s tough, he’s got an unbeaten record, but this is a big, big, jump in competition for him,” said Forbes. “He doesn’t have that experience. It should be interesting. I’m looking forward to it. I think he’s in trouble.”