EXCLUSIVE: Artists First on Friday announced its signing of boxing Hall of Famer, Sugar Ray Leonard.
Leonard enjoyed an elite, 20-year career in the ring before being inducted into the International Boxing Hall Of Fame in 1997, winning three National Golden Gloves titles, two Amateur Athletic Union championships and the 1975 Pan-American Games crown. He first got into boxing at age 14 and turned professional after winning a gold medal at the 1976 Olympic games, in a last-ditch effort to help his family with medical bills incurred from his father’s hospitalization with meningitis.
Leonard won his first professional fight at age 20, then going on to defeat some of the greatest boxers of the modern era, from Wilfred Benetiz to Roberto Duran, Thomas Hearns and Marvelous Marvin Hagler, from whom Leonard won the world middleweight title. His boxing career also saw him win world titles in the welterweight, junior middleweight, super middleweight, and light heavyweight division, becoming the first boxer to land world titles in five different weight classes.
Leonard’s charisma and deep knowledge of the sport of boxing led him into a successful career as a television broadcasterfor NBC, ABC, FOX, HBO and ESPN. He was tapped for the role of international commentator for the record-breaking Mayweather vs. McGregor fight of 2017, and has also provided ringside analysis for both Matchroom Boxing and Golden Boy Boxing — two promotions of the live and on-demand sports streaming platform, DAZN.
Also a bestselling author, philanthropist and the longtime face of Skechers’ popular Relaxed Fit collections, Leonard served as host and mentor across three consecutive seasons of the Emmy-nominated boxing reality series The Contender from Mark Burnett, and was also fan-favorite contestant on ABC’s still reigning competition series, Dancing with the Stars, back in 2011. He also appeared in David O. Russell’s Paramount Oscar winner The Fighter and consulted for DreamWorks and Walt Disney Pictures on the Hugh Jackman-led Real Steel.
Leonard published his first memoir, The Big Fight: My Life In and Out of the Ring, via Viking Books in 2011. Two years prior, he and his wife Bernadette established the Sugar Ray Leonard Foundation, committed to funding life-changing research for pediatric Type 1 & Type 2 diabetes, and helping children build early, healthy habits.
Leonard also raises money for Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and other children’s charities through his annual “Big Fighters, Big Cause” Charity Boxing Night. He sits on the Board of Trustees of CHLA and remains an active member of the Los Angeles philanthropic community.
The talent management and production company Artists First, focused on actors, writers, directors and producers in film, television, and digital media, boasts a roster that also includes Martin Lawrence, Awkwafina, Kenya Barris, Anthony Anderson, Tracee Ellis Ross, Niecy Nash, Ed Helms, Will Arnett, Ike Barinholtz, Paul Walter Hauser, Kate McKinnon, Michael Showalter, Jon M. Chu, Lior Raz, Mitch Hurwitz and Cristela Alonzo, among others. Notable past productions across film and TV include Central Intelligence, Like a Boss, Keanu, Black-ish, Mixed-ish, Grown-ish, The Last O.G., Hit and Run, and Reno 911!.
Leonard continues to be represented by Rogers & Cowan/PMK and Bob Lange & Marko Kuo of Kleinberg, Lange, Cuddy & Carlo, LLP.