Usher Talks Sugar Ray Leonard Role: Rather Than Act, He Wanted to ‘Feel Like a Boxer’
Usher may have a new album coming out, but the singer has his movie career to consider as well — including an upcoming turn as boxer Sugar Ray Leonard.
In an interview with WPGC in Washington, D.C. (a Radio.com station), the R&B artist went deep about his role in Hands of Stone, the upcoming Roberto Duran biopic, in which Usher plays Leonard, one of Duran’s rivals, talking the type of training one can expect for such a role.
“It was intense,” he said. “I push my body when I’m working on performing I do a two-hour set and I’m never still — I’m dancing, I’m singing, I’m moving around. I never stand still on the stage, so to be able to be in the ring with an opponent in front of you who’s trying to tear your head off, you have to figure out how to move. Sugar Ray wasn’t a boxer who stood still… He moved all around that ring; you never could catch him in a corner. His defense was his ability to move and shock you.
“To analyze, train with him, really work on myself as a boxer, I didn’t want to act it — I wanted to feel like a boxer, so I spent days and nights — months — preparing with a trainer in Atlanta.”
That training culminated in shooting for the film, which Usher said took place in Panama alongside costars Robert DeNiro and Edgar Ramirez.