Boxer Sugar Ray Leonard, who first announced his retirement from the sport in 1982 but was embarrassing himself in the ring as late as 1997, will be the subject of a biopic financed by, of all people, St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony La Russa. Red Bird Cinema, whose partners include La Russa and actor/writer Kevin Pollak will start filming Leonard’s story early in 2008.

Leonard is famous for winning an Olympic gold medal in boxing in 1976 and then holding professional title in five different weight classes. His mid-1980’s fights against Thomas Hearns, Roberto Duran, and Marvin Hagler were high profile and, unlike most boxing matches, probably not fixed. Recently Leonard has tarnished his reputation by repeatedly retiring and then returning and also being involved in stupid boxing reality shows like The Contender.

The script for the untitled movie is being written by H.G. Bissinger, best known for writing the book “Friday Night Lights.” Bissinger also wrote the book “Three Nights in August” about Tony LaRussa that is being adapted for the big screen by, get this, Kevin Pollack. It’s quite a chummy trio these guys have going. Hopefully there will still be some 1980’s boxing fans around to make an audience for the Leonard movie.

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