Will The Real Sugar Ray Leonard …Please Stand Up

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.

Click here to read Terrence Moore’s article on Ray Leonard on Harold Bell’s  HB Legends web site.

What do you think?


7 Responses to “Will The Real Sugar Ray Leonard …Please Stand Up”

  1. Although I only read what’s written here, not the book. His life seems to be no different than many others black or white who may forget they were lucky enough to beat the odds to become successful. Rich man poor men all have something hidden away in their past, which should have been used to build on and not re-ocurr as careers start to decline or used to boost new ones. If I was to write a book about my life it would be an instant best seller, [but only if I was famous]

  2. There is no shame in being the victim of sexual abuse. It is good that there are no names mentioned. It is better that way. Except for people who know Ray intimately most people wouldn’t know or care who that person is.

  3. GREAT REVIEW! I totally agree with all you said in your article, especially at the middle of your article. Thank you, your post is very valuable as always. Keep up the good work! You’ve got +1 more reader of your great blog:) Isabella S.

  4. I read Ray’s book from beginning to end. I believe in some instances he was honest and in others he was not. Lets face it, Ray has been a marketing genius since his career took off. In order to make his books different from your average boxing autobiography, there had to be something more “shocking” than the norm. Shock-value always sells! I do not believe Ray was molested and believe he used Todd Bridges’ story as his own. If you read Todd’s book it is almost the exact same incident (yes I read Todd’s book). Second, I believe Juanita was his first love. I believe she was the first woman he ever slept with. Why? Well he already said he was extremely shy, so although he took an initiative to call her when she came over his house “she” made the first move. Most young men who had plenty of girls like he claimed would have been all over Juanita. There was also a scene where he says he an Juanita were arguing and he shot out the TV as Juanita was taking the kids to the car. Didn’t Priscilla Pressley say Elvis shot out the TV in the same way? Watch the movie “Elvis and Me.” Boxing- Ray continued to retire because he never wanted to be defeated so by retiring he couldn’t give other boxers the opportunity to really challenge him. I am not taking away from his talents, but like Ali, he learned to be a good showman, that is what makes money. While his book is a good read, it has its ambiguities, but as long as Ray can duck and dodge like he does in the ring, he will get the dollars!

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  6. An interesting discussion is definitely worth comment. I think that you
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