Usher Set to Play Sugar Ray Leonard in Upcoming Film

*Boxing has often been compared to ballet or dance for men … in some sort of way or another.

Maybe it was in a poem once. At any rate, multi-talented performer, Usher has been recruited to play the role of Sugar Ray Leonard in “Hands of Stone,” a new film about another fighter, Roberto Duran.

Usher told the Associated Press that he’s been preparing to play the 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.

He also suggested that his dancing skills will come in handy as he captures the movement of the boxing giant.

“You couldn’t find a more stylized boxer than Sugar Ray Leonard,” Usher said by telephone. “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.”

Also as part of his prep, he’s been studying the fighter through films and taking note of his passion and mental strength.

“I’m up for the challenge, and I’m looking forward to it,” he said. “I think my overall feeling is one of anticipation. It seems like this is a real passion project. It’s a film that everybody is so invested in, and I have the good fortune of having the character I’m playing still around.”

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.

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