Champion: Always Keep Your Gloves Up

Boxing champion Sugar Ray Leonard took the stage at Wednesdays COMPTEL PLUS convention to talk about developing winning strategies for the long-term a philosophy that resonated with participants of the tumultuous telecom industry. Boxing, he said, is a metaphor for life. Theres always a fight, he said, passing on some well-earned advice: Always keep your gloves up.

Leonards winning philosophy is POWER prepare, overcome and win every round.

The pugilist said his idea of being a winner has changed over the years. Helping my son with his homework is as much of a victory as my success in the ring and its longer lasting too, especially if he passes.

He added while there are many different definitions of winning success, money, family, giving your all, etc. a common trait of winners is frame of mind. They all have focus, goals and strategies that keep them on the path to realizing their dream.

Determination is what turns talent into success, he said, noting that for an athlete this might mean a five-mile run every morning, but for someone else, it could be getting into the office an hour earlier or staying an hour later.

He cited his comeback win over boxer Marvelous Marvin Hagler in 1987 as an example. While his manager warned him against the fight by saying, this man is going to kill you, Leonard said he had to train twice as hard and twice as long as in the past to face this adversary.

That determination built confidence, he said. I knew something few knew: I was going to beat Marvelous Marvin Hagler. He won in a 115-113 split decision.

What separates champions from contenders is self esteem, he said. The old saying, If you dont believe in yourself, no one will, is so true.

He acknowledged, however, that winners arent successful on their own. You have to have the right team in your corner in and out of the ring, he said.

Even with all the ingredients for success, winners sometimes fail. Leonard cites his own loss to Roberto Duran. I lost that fight because I lost my composure, he admitted.

Its the response to setbacks that define a winner. I call it, the get up from knock down, he said. Leonard fought Duran again and not only won, he got him to quit the match. I fought my heart out, he said of that earlier loss. I just fought the wrong fight. What Leonard realized is, Duran wasnt going to change. I had to change how he affected me.

Listening to advice of his corner team, especially his brother, paid off in this instance. If you are not listening, you are not learning, he said.

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