Editor's note: Hall of Fame boxer Sugar Ray Leonard will do ringside analysis of NBC's coverage of the Premier Boxing Champions series, and he'll also share his personal thoughts about the sport on the PBC website. In his first post here, Leonard talks about the impact television can have on a fighter's career.
Throughout the course of my lengthy boxing career, it was my skill and dedication that made me a champion, but it was television that made me a star. Even as an amateur fighter in the National Golden Gloves, the Pan American Games and when I won a gold medal in the 1976 Olympics, those tournaments that I competed in were on network television, and it made a huge difference in my career.
With NBC bringing boxing back to prime-time network television starting Saturday, March 7, today’s talented fighters now will have their chance to compete before a large national audience like I did. I don’t think they really know how priceless that is.
When Keith Thurman faces Robert Guerrero, and Adrien Broner and John Molina Jr. go toe-to-toe in the debut of the Premier Boxing Champions series, millions of people across America are going to be watching, and it’s going to up their profile tremendously.
I’m very excited to be a part of the PBC on NBC broadcast team, sitting ringside calling the action with Marv Albert, who’s a legend. It’s so incredible to be able to work with someone you’ve admired for so long and who is such a professional.
When I was first approached about the PBC on NBC, I immediately thought about how much I enjoy analyzing the sport I love, a sport that has done so much for me and that I’m so endeared to. Boxing is my life; I know it inside and out. I love being able to break down a fighter, to choreograph a way to beat the opposition. It truly is the “sweet science” of boxing when done correctly.
One thing that is very important about the PBC on NBC is introducing the boxers to people who are not boxing fans per se. When I was fighting, the viewers had a vested interest in me, coming from the Olympics to advancing as a professional. They had been watching me fight on television my whole career. They knew when my father was ill; they knew my son intimately (Little Ray, who’s 41 years old now). Those were things they learned first, and then they became a fan.
The PBC on NBC will give today’s fighters that same exposure, and it’s going to be such a lift for them—and for the entire sport. I can’t wait to bring the action into your homes. So make sure you tune in March 7 and see which boxers are going to step up to become the next stars.