The Herald of Everett, Washington
HeraldNet on Facebook HeraldNet on Twitter HeraldNet RSS feeds HeraldNet Pinterest HeraldNet Google Plus HeraldNet Youtube
HeraldNet Newsletters  Newsletters: Sign up | Manage  Green editions icon Green editions


Weekend to-do list
HeraldNet Newsletter Delivered to your inbox each week.
Published: Thursday, May 9, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

Usher cast as Sugar Ray Leonard

  • Associated Press 
Usher will portray Sugar Ray Leonard in the new film "Hands of Stone."

    Associated Press Usher will portray Sugar Ray Leonard in the new film "Hands of Stone."

NEW ORLEANS -- Grammy-winning singer Usher believes his dancing skills will help him in his upcoming role as Sugar Ray Leonard in "Hands of Stone," a new boxing film about the great brawler Roberto Duran.
Usher said he has been preparing to play Leonard -- a fighter with fast hands, smooth feet and a wide smile -- for more than a year and still needs to lose nearly 25 pounds before shooting begins in October.
The movie is based on Duran, a world champion in four weight divisions over a career that spanned five decades.
Duran, whose nickname was "Hands of Stone," rose from the slums of Panama to defeat an unbeaten Leonard in 1980 and claim the WBC welterweight title, only to lose the rematch several months later in the infamous "no mas" fight.
Usher said he was honored to play Leonard.
"You couldn't find a more stylized boxer than Sugar Ray Leonard," Usher said. "He was an incredible motion guy, the way he moved around the ring, and I think my dancing will make it easier for me to pick up his moves. I've been working on familiarizing myself with the ring, sparring and just understanding how to move in the ring."
The cast also includes Robert De Niro as Duran's Hall of Fame trainer, Ray Arcel. Edgar Ramirez, who was recently in "Zero Dark Thirty," will play Duran.
The biopic, written and directed by Jonathan Jakubowicz, is a love story and sports drama that includes the "Brawl in Montreal," the first fight between Duran and Leonard and the "no mas" fight in Orleans.
In the eighth round of that fight, Duran inexplicably quit, saying in Spanish "no mas," which means "no more." They fought one more time, and Leonard won again.
Usher said the rivalry between Leonard and Duran was one of the most exciting and unforgettable in sports.
"It's an incredible story to be told," he said. "The metaphor of determination and struggle is one we can all relate to."
Usher said he has had long conversations with Leonard and will meet him in person in coming weeks.
"He had such incredible discipline, and he was flashy and classy at the same time," said Usher, who's been studying videos from Leonard's boxing days. "I want to be as passionate and dedicated in preparing for this role as he was every time he stepped into the ring."
Usher is an eight-time Grammy-winner with more than 50 million records sold worldwide.
He's a celebrity mentor on the reality TV show "The Voice." He made his Broadway debut in 2006 in "Chicago" as lawyer Billy Flynn and recently appeared in the off-Broadway play "Feurza Bruta."
This will be his first leading role in a feature film.
Usher said he was thrilled to collaborate with De Niro, who will play Arcel, the first trainer to be elected to Hall of Fame.
"Hands of Stone" will be shot entirely in Panama.
Story tags » MoviesTelevisionBoxing

Share your comments: Log in using your HeraldNet account or your Facebook, Twitter or Disqus profile. Comments that violate the rules are subject to removal. Please see our terms of use. Please note that you must verify your email address for your comments to appear.

You are logged in using your HeraldNet ID. Click here to update your profile. | Log out.

Our new comment system is not supported in IE 7. Please upgrade your browser here.

comments powered by Disqus
digital subscription promo

Subscribe now

Unlimited digital access starting at 99 cents, or included with any print subscription.


HeraldNet highlights

All about action
All about action: Everett Eagles rugby 'like football that doesn't stop'
Pulling double duty
Pulling double duty: Arlington's Aune juggling both basketball and soccer
Things are looking up
Things are looking up: Stanwood, Camano celebrations will brighten the winter lull
It's good to be a 12
It's good to be a 12: Despite loss, Seahawks fever has many positives