“I am nowhere near what people perceive as a fighter .. .I’m kind of laid-back, quiet, almost shy, but in the ring was kind of my safe haven.” –Sugar Ray Leonard
Sugar Ray Leonard has had amazing success in his life. He has earned a place in history as one of the greatest boxers ever. Leonard is an Olympic gold medalist, Hall of Famer and world boxing champion in five different divisions, but he spent much of his life trying to fight inner demons–one of those demons was a secret he had never told anyone about being molested by a boxing coach when he was a teenager.
In his memoir, The Big Fight: My Life In and Out of the Ring, Leonard shared truths about his drug and alcohol abuse, his marital infidelities, and shocked many with the revelation that a “prominent Olympic boxing coach” had molested him.
“He had unzipped my pants and put his hand, then mouth, on an area … that has haunted me for life,” Leonard said of the experience. “I didn’t scream. I didn’t look at him. I just opened the door and ran.”
Leonard struggled with whether he should include in his book the haunting incident he had spent his life trying to forget. He decided it was the right thing for him to do after he saw former child star, Todd Bridges, speaking on “Oprah” about having been molested.
“… last year, after watching the actor Todd Bridges bare his soul on Oprah’s show about how he was sexually abused as a kid, I realized I would never be free unless I revealed the whole truth, no matter how much it hurt.”