Sugar Ray, a pillar in the boxing community

Sugar Ray, a boxing coach at SDSU, believes in timing and finding inner peace


Corinne Davidson

Sugar Ray poses for a photo at the ARC.

by Madison Cadena , Staff Writer

Ray, otherwise known as “Sugar Ray,” is a pillar in the San Diego State boxing studio and the  San Diego boxing community. As a boxing trainer, Ray believes that he is a ring technician, counselor, life coach and motivator.

Ray is a ball of energy. In the mat studio, he is always blasting music and keeping the energy high and positive. He always talks about mental awareness, and how boxing is not just a physical challenge, it is also a mental challenge. 

A couple years ago Ray was diagnosed with cancer, and he thought he was ready to give boxing up. But with the support of his students and social media all around the world, he said “Cancer gave me the chance to soul search, to find my inner peace,” which is now his motto.

“After three years of battling cancer, I won, and I found the new me and I’m back in full swing,” Ray said. 

Ray was not always a coach though. Earlier in his career, he was badly injured which stopped him from boxing for some time. In this time he helped out on the side of his team with coaching and fell in love with it. Since then Ray has had hundreds of students in many different classes of all ages. 

His favorite part about being back is watching the progress of his students every day and cheering them on to get better and better. 

Ray also believes that timing is most important. He lives by the quote, “if you do what you love everything else will fall into place,” and if it wasn’t for his injury, he never would have become a coach and fallen in love with it. He loves constantly learning from his students no matter what it is and he tells all of his students to “do you, and timing is key. You will find yourself with time.”

Ray started boxing when he was around 8 years old. He played as many sports as he could but boxing was the one he was always best at. Yet he was never a physical child, and never got into any fights. Ray said he loved the mental aspect of boxing and watching old VHS tapes of his biggest inspiration at the time, Sugar Ray Leonard. 

“At that time in my life I learned the sweet science of boxing and fell in love with it,” Ray said. 

Ray has over 28 years of experience as a USA-certified boxing coach. Through his years of coaching, he has trained many different athletes including UFC fighters, pro and amateur boxers, actors, children of all ages and seniors. Not only that but Ray loves to teach progressive boxing techniques and different strategies. Ray also represents San Diego as a boxing referee for many matches. 

To tribute Ray in the way he finishes off every class – “WooWee!”