Sugar Ray Leonard is preparing to move his fancy footwork from the boxing ring to the ballroom floor for Season 12 of “Dancing with the Stars,” and the legendary fighter admitted the new choreography is taking its toll on his tough physique.
“It’s not really my feet [that hurt] — it’s like those muscles that I haven’t used or didn’t know anything about, like my calf muscles, my butt muscles,” Ray told Billy Bush and Kit Hoover on Monday’s Access Hollywood Live, of his dancing-induced muscle fatigue. “It’s like training camp. The first week you go in, and it’s tough. You have to get adjusted and feel good. Now, it’s kind of moving along.”
The fighter is paired with “DWTS” veteran professional Anna Trebunskaya, who has her hands full with attempting to coach Ray out of his learned fighting stance and into proper ballroom posture.
“As a boxer, I’m always leaning forward — boxers lean forward,” Ray told Billy and Kit. “[Anna] has pulled me back… it’s like, ‘Whoa!’ The first two days I was frustrated and I was really discouraged because the things did not happen.
“I was thinking about moving this way, but my body did not operate at the same time!” he added. “But now it’s getting better and better.”
Ray said he’s not worried about his beginner moves because he has “the concentration and the attitude” to go the distance, as well as motivation from his loving family.
“[My wife] is excited, the kids are so excited,” he told Billy and Kit. “I’m going to do [them] justice. I’m not in here just to compete — I’m in it to win!”
Outrageous costumes are part of the territory when comes to “Dancing,” but will the stone-faced 54–year-old be secure enough to rock feathers on the dance floor?
“I’m open to [feathers],” he laughed. “A onesie? You’re pushing it now!”
Root for Ray when he makes his dancing debut on Season 12 of “Dancing with the Stars” on Monday, March 21, on ABC.