Sugar Ray Leonard’s Biography Reveals Sexual Abuse by Coach

Sugar Ray Leonard’s much-anticipated biography promises to be very revealing. In fact, one of the many dark secrets Leonard has revealed is that, as a teen, he was sexually abused Ray Leonard 1.jpgby a “prominent Olympic boxing coach.” The Big Fight: My Life In and Out of the Ring also details Sugar Ray’s own abuse of cocaine and alcohol. He also admits to being unfaithful to his wife.

It’s not surprising that he partied hard, enjoyed the booze a little too much or even that he was a womanizer because several athletes are. What is surprising is that a boxing Hall of Famer was sexually abused. The Big Fight: My Life In and Out of the Ring is now available for pre-order via

In the biography, Leonard wrote that his decision to discuss the sexual abuse he endured was brought on by Todd Bridge’s Oprah appearance. He wrote, “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.”

One can only hope that he feels free of his secrets now. It is definitely difficult to admit or speak of such things. However, it is also important in the healing process to know that nothing that was done was his fault.

According to Sugar Ray, the first time “something a bit inappropriate” happened was when he was 15 in 1971. The coach had him and another boxer bathe together when all three were in New York for a boxing event. The next incident occurred when Leonard and the coach were in a car together. It was after he had already won a gold medal during the 1976 Olympics.

Sugar Ray wrote, “Before I knew it, he had unzipped my pants and put his hand, then mouth on an area that has haunted me for life. I didn’t scream. I didn’t look at him. I just opened the door and ran.”

Leonard’s claims have rocked fans. To think of someone who is considered so strong and full of courage being so emotionally and physically vulnerable is shocking. Hopefully, Sugar Ray Leonard’s biography will give victims of sexual abuse the courage to come forward and put an end to it; especially the young boys and girls who are enduring such abuse right now.

© Evalynn J. Saeyang – Gather Inc. 2011

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