Hugh Jackman Talks ‘Real Steel,’ Training with Sugar Ray

Australian actor Hugh Jackman has no problem playing a boxing aficionado in his latest flick, Real Steel, a sci-fi flick that’s being described by some as “Rocky” meets “Transformers.”

According to Jackman, boxing is in the blood.

“My old man was a boxer actually. He was the army champ,” Jackman told reporters. “So he was here and that’s about as close as it gets.”

Set in the year 2020, when remote-controlled robots have taken over for boxers in the WRB (World Robot Boxing) League, the film stars Jackman as a would-be champ turned small-time promoter who teams up with his genius son to build the ultimate mechanical fighter.

Throughout the movie, the Jackman is seen sparring in the ring and, in preparation for these fight scenes, the-42-year-old X-men Origins star trained with one of the best of the best.

During production, Jackman received on-the-set instruction from Sugar Ray Leonard, one of the world’s most celebrated boxing champions.

“I knocked [Sugar Ray] out three times,” Jackman joked with CBS News’ Sandra Hughes, “But, I can’t talk about it because, you know, he’s the champ of the world and all.”

Sugar Ray Leonard himself pointed out that his Jackman’s training wasn’t merely centered on strengthening blows.

“… my main goal, when we were done, was to make sure that what Hugh was doing with his hands was reflected on his face. I wanted him to show that in his expression. But Hugh is not only a great actor, but a great athlete. He’s a perfectionist and a great student.”” Leonard told RingTV in a recent interview.

Leonard went on to say that he put styles from all different boxers into the ‘life’ of these robots and when all was said and done, it “all came together.”

“I took my young kids, and my wife and my mother-in-law,” explained Leonard. “My wife and my mother-in-law were crying, and my kids were going crazy because the action was off the hook.”

Audiences can see whether Leonard’s training with Jackman actually paid off this weekend as “Real Steel” opens nationwide in both traditional and IMAX theaters.

Check out Hugh and Sugar Ray in the Real Steel Featurette below: