How Usher Prepared His “Hands Of Stone”

R&B superstar Usher’s return to the movie screen Aug. 26 involved bringing in an acting coach from Harlem, training with a local who challenged Mike Tyson for the heavyweight champion and, first thing, getting an OK from Sugar Ray himself.

Which was all fine and well until he was in that ring, realizing – even with all of that preparation – it was him and him alone that would have to stand there and take that punch!

Related: Usher, Michael Bolton, Sheryl Crow to Politicians: ‘Don’t Use Our Song’

“You can not act boxing!” he told The Ryan Cameron Morning Show with Wanda Smith. “Though I had pads, they [were] really throwing heat at me!”

If you haven’t spotted that clean-shaven, long-haired Usher in the commercials yet, the eight-time GRAMMY winner is portraying Sugar Ray Leonard in the Roberto Duran biopic, “Hands Of Stone.” The Panamanian fighter defeated Leonard in the 1980 WBC welterweight title fight, but shocked the sport when he returned to his corner in their rematch, famously uttering the words “no mas” (no more).

It’s been 11 years since Usher was on the wide screen (in “In The Mix”), and he’s proud of the comeback. “I saw it once as a whole in Cannes, and again just a couple of nights ago,” offered the singer, who’s hosting a private screening tonight in his hometown, Atlanta. “I’m honored to be a part of it.”

But don’t despair music fans, Usher’s focus is still as much on the dance floor as it is the movie theater. He just completed a remix of his “No Limit” single with Young Thug – this time around with No Limit founder himself, Master P, 2 Chainz, Gucci ManeASAP Ferg and Travis Scott.

“Ain’t nothing worse than going to the club, having a good time and you don’t hear your own music!”

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