*During Monday’s premiere of “Hands of Stone,” 60-year-old Sugar Ray Leonard dazzled one reporter when he pulled up his shirt and flaunted his rock hard abs.
“Hands of Stone” chronicles Venezuelan boxer Roberto Duran, starring Edgar Ramirez as Duran, Robert DeNiro as his trainer Ray Arcel and Usher as Sugar Ray. The movie’s title comes from the boxer’s nickname. Sugar Ray said when he first heard Usher was going to play him he thought it was a joke.
“And then he called me and said, ‘Help me out!’ I was a fan of Usher since he was a kid,” he said. “He had that movement, that music in his head, and for me that’s my thing too, the flow… I tried to emulate Muhammad Ali and Sugar Ray Robinson, Elvis Presley and Bruce Lee.”
Although the movie is about Duran, it highlights the rivalry between the boxers and their famous three fights. Duran shocked boxing fans when he quit in the eighth round of the famous “no mas” fight, a remark the boxer later claimed he never made.
Showbiz411 asked Sugar Ray what went on in his head when Duran quit their famous fight in 1980.
“That moment will never go away, it’s locked in my head forever. I didn’t know. I thought it was a trick. I didn’t believe what was happening. I couldn’t understand, like the press of the world, didn’t know what was going on that day. I couldn’t tell you. We’re friends now.” He whispered to, “ I used to hate that son of a bitch!”
On the red carpet, when photog Paula Schwartz showed Usher the pic of Sugar Ray showing off his amazing abs, the singer said, “Amazing, and at 60! Isn’t that crazy? At 60 that man is still looking like that! Black don’t crack!” Usher said.
Director Jonathan Jakubowicz explained how Duran was a hero to him while he was a youth growing up in Venezuela.
“I really wanted to tell that story when I started reading about him, his relationship with Ray Arcel was so unique. Duran is the son of an American marine who abandoned him and his dreams of avenging Americans, yet an American is the one who turns him into a world champ. Also, his rivalry with Sugar Ray is the biggest in the history of the sport and the enigma of ‘no mas’ is the biggest in the history of boxing… I think we finally answered the enigma.”
Jakubowicz also revealed that his next project will find him collaborating once more with Ramirez and De Niro.
“We had so much fun working together and we want to do it again. It’s based on a true story about an intelligence officer that uncovered the biggest counterfeiting operation in history.”