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Boxing Legend Sugar Ray Leonard to Deliver COMPTEL Opening Keynote

February 28, 2007

3 Min Read
Boxing Legend Sugar Ray Leonard to Deliver COMPTEL Opening Keynote

By Bob Wallace

When it comes to achieving professional evolution in the face of intense competition and ever-changing business environments, few former athletes have achieved more and have more to share with COMPTELs membership than longtime boxing world champion turned broadcaster, turned entrepreneur, Sugar Ray Leonard.

Leonards well-documented career, from which he will draw real-life stories in The Power to Win, todays opening address for the COMPTEL PLUS show, in many ways mirrors the challenges COMPTELs entrepreneurial members have faced over much of the same timeframe as the decorated celebrity.

Consider the parallels. Leonard took on imposing competition throughout his boxing career, whether it was at the Olympics, as a professional boxer in the United States, or in his transition to a TV celebrity, pitching products for Fortune 500 companies and hosting a hit boxing reality show, The Contender.

By comparison, most COMPTEL members have taken on early and sustained competition by larger and more established service providers and have struggled in the regulatory ring for legitimate legislation. Further, theyve bridged a wide gap from their early days offering base services from small networks to a variety of advanced services from next-generation infrastructures.

Just as COMPTELs members believe they can succeed and prosper by being champions for competition, Leonard could not have risen to fame and fortune without competition.

Leonard believes whether achieving greatness as an athlete or in the business arena the same qualities that drive success apply: discipline, focus, determination, preparation, the right attitude and setting fear of the unknown aside.

An enormously charismatic figure, Leonard walks the stage telling stories that paint strong pictures for his audience stories of what it took to reach his dream of Olympic gold, of what it took to get to the top in his professional career and stay there, said his present-day handlers.

But the evolution, and stories, wont end there. Leonard will augment highlights from his boxing career with stories of his journey to make the challenging transition from life as an athlete to that of an entrepreneur. Making your dreams come true, staying at the top and dealing with change these are all themes that people in every audience will relate to, explained his handlers.

Like competitive telecom providers, the evolution of champion boxers takes more than time. It takes commitment, perseverance and strength. And dont forget the ability to overcome adversity.

Having learned to box at the age of 14, Leonards illustrious career includes three national Golden Gloves titles and the 1975 Pan-American Games crown. After winning a gold medal in boxing at the 1976 Olympic games, he turned professional to help his family pay medical bills. The late Howard Cosell called Leonard the new Muhammad Ali.

At the age of 20, Leonard won his first professional fight, setting the stage for a collection of the most memorable fights in history. He went on to defeat some of the finest boxers of the modern era, including Wilfred Benetiz, Roberto Duran, Thomas Hearns and Marvin Hagler.

During his 20-year professional career, Leonard won world titles in the Welterweight, Junior Middleweight, Middleweight, Super Middleweight and Light Heavyweight divisions, a record that stands to this day.

Leonards charismatic personality led to a second successful career as a television broadcaster for ABC, ESPN, HBO and NBC. In addition, his celebrity status and tremendous cross-over appeal fostered commercial endorsement relationships with numerous companies including 7-Up, Carnation, Coca-Cola, EA Sports, Ford, Nabisco, Track Inc., Vartec Telecom and Revlon.

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