By Black Men In America.com
In his forthcoming autobiography, “The Big Fight: My Life In and Out of the Ring,” Hall of Fame Boxer Sugar Ray Leonard reveals that he was sexually abused by unnamed “prominent Olympic boxing coach.” Whoops! This revelation comes after Ray writes of his cocaine use, growing up in a home with alcohol abuse and domestic violence, luckily surviving a car wreck with his mother at the wheel, almost drowning in a creek as a child who was unable to swim, and fathering a son at 17.
In the book, Leonard describes sitting in a car in a deserted parking lot with the coach who was talking about how much a gold medal at the 1976 Olympics would mean to his future. Filled with hope about winning a gold medal Leonard writes the following about the sexual encounter: “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 also writes that when he first decided to share the incident he was not going to tell the entire story and write that the coach had stopped short of any contact. However, after watching actor Todd Bridges tell his story of abuse on the Oprah television show about how he was sexually abused as a kid, Ray decided to tell the whole story, saying that he would never be free unless he revealed the whole truth.
As you might imagine, this revelation has generated some controversy. A number of people were shocked to hear this story. Modern day boxing’s original “golden boy” was Ray Leonard, not Oscar De La Hoya, who is suffering from his own addictions.
“This is the first time I’ve ever heard that, and I’ve known Ray since he was just a kid,” Dave Jacobs, who was Leonard’s first trainer as an amateur and later served as assistant trainer for many of his professional fights, said in a telephone interview. Similar responses have come from those who claim to be in Ray’s inner circle.
This revelation also brings up dirt from Leonard’s past and increases the chances of his current image being tarnished in front of a generation fans who only know him from reality TV shows like “The Contender,” and “Dancing With The Stars.”
Leonard’s book details his travails with drugs, alcohol, infidelity and domestic violence in hi marriage. One time Leonard pal Harold Bell has a commentary about Leonard on his web site that is over 20 years old written by Terrence Moore who wrote the article for the Atlanta Journal Constitution newspaper.
Photo: Harold Bell and Sugar Ray Leonard
Bell and others are scratching their heads about some of the revelations in this book. They see Leonard as self serving and throwing a deceased Olympic coach who is not alive to defend himself being “thrown under the bus.”
Leonard admits that his relationship with Juanita and their sons, Ray Jr. and Jarrel, suffered. Ray re-married, started a second family and appears to be doing well.
Why do people care what Ray writes in his book?
Is Ray not telling the whole truth? Or is an innocent man’s reputation being ruined? Ray never mentions the coach’s name but insiders believe they know who Ray is talking about and some don’t like this revelation.
At age 55, it seems that Ray Charles Leonard is attempting to set the record straight and some folks have a problem with him doing that or perhaps they don’t like the way he’s doing it.
What do you think?