Interview With "Sugar" Ray Leonard Jr.
By Barbara Pinnella
Celebrity Boxing has another event this Friday night, and one of the fighters has a name you might recognize; “Sugar” Ray Leonard, Jr. That’s right, the son of the man many claim to be one of the best boxing has ever seen, Leonard, Jr. will take on actor Joe Parkinson in a three round fight. He knows nothing about Parkinson, only that he is an actor from Philadelphia who has been in the gym a little bit, so he comes with some experience.
I had an opportunity to speak with the 35-year-old Ray Jr. as he was waiting at the airport for his flight to Philadelphia. One would think that with a successful father in the boxing game, the son would follow in his footsteps from a young age, but that was not the case here.
“I played mostly football and ran track most of my life,” he told me. “Boxing was a secondary thing and something I did to keep in shape. I had one fight when I was five, and nothing since then.”
Ray Jr. didn’t take any of this seriously until A.J. Vittone, his now-manager, brought him the proposal for this fight. “I’d been working out just to get myself back in shape. Being married with four kids – two boys and two girls – just being in the cycle of life, so to speak, I started to slip a little bit, so I had started to get back in shape. When the proposal came I thought I’d do it. I wanted to get more fit anyway and this gave me more motivation to compete.”
One could never say that his single fight at age five would have had him prepared and ready for the event to come. “I am very excited,” he said. “I can’t wait to get in the ring. I’ve been sparring, and the adrenaline gets pumping then, so I can’t wait.”
I wondered if his father was going to be able to attend his son’s first real fight. “He’s going to try to make it. He has another commitment that he’s going to try to get out of and get to the fight. I actually just got off the phone with him. He continues to give me pointers,” he laughed, “and he’s shaking in his boots right now.”
Leonard Jr. is eager to see if this might open doors for another opportunity. “Hopefully this will lead into broadcasting as well. There is kind of a master plan to get me in front of the camera.”
With Vittone as his manager, broadcasting is quite possible. Well-known in the world of sports as sports anchor, reporter, and host, A.J. would be a great one to not only guide Leonard, Jr. the right direction in the ring, he could definitely do that for him in front of the camera as well.
Todd Poulton, the fighter I showcased roughly a month ago who suffers from OCD, will also be on the card, and he is also managed by Vittone. Poulton won his first fight, and will face off against “The J.O.D.” Sheffield.
Another man on the card that might spark some interest is baseball player Jose Canseco. He will fight Bill “El Wingador” Simmons.
For those of you who might want to catch this event, it will be available on www.tvbydemand.com. at 8:00.
Good luck to “Sugar” Ray Leonard, Jr., Todd Poulton, and manager A.J. Vittone. I will be rooting for you!
Be safe and God Bless,
Viva La Raza,