Ray Leonard raised his attention already as an amateur but decided to end his boxing career after the Olympic win. However, he switched his decision and became the world champion of professional series in three years in 1979. Leonard lost his championship to Roberto Durani after the defeat in 1980, but won it back in a year round replay. After that, he met in the ring of WBA World Champion Thomas Hearns, who won him an indisputable champion.
After the Hearns match, Leonard ended his career due to the left eye retinal detachment. After the cessation, he started using cocaine and alcohol in order to be able to experience some of the excitement previously felt in the ring. Despite the move, Leonard returned to the ring and in 1987 won the Marvelous Marvin Hagler midfielder's World Cup qualifier. He finished his career again, returned a year later and won the upper middleweight world championship in 1988. Sugar Ray Leonard finished his career five times before his last game in 1997. He lost only three games during his career, including two of his last two matches.
Leonard was a popular boxer in the past, known for his almost complete style and creativity. He and Wilfred Benitez were the first heavyweight boxers to be awarded a $1 million bonus, and Leonard was the first in his career to earn more than $100 million as the boxer. Many consider him the best heavyweight boxer after Sugar Ray Robinson.