Boxing is a tough sport, both mentally and physically. I’ve always been under the impression most boxers, especially the great ones, have gone through some traumatic stuff in their lives and see the sport as a way to exercise the demons that haunt them. Yeah, it’s an introspective look inside the mind of its athletes, but more times than not, I’ve been right. Sugar Ray Leonard, one of the more popular boxers of all time, is the latest example. Next month, he will be releasing The Big Fight: My Life In and Out of the Ring in which he goes in depth about cocaine use, fathering a child before he was 18 and several other life altering events.
Arguably the most overwhelming moment of the book, however, is his revelation of sexual abuse by a “prominent Olympic boxing coach” when he was 15.
Leonard writes that when the coach accompanied him as a 15-year-old and another young fighter to a boxing event in Utica, N.Y., in 1971, he had the teenagers take a bath in a tub of hot water and Epsom salts while he sat on the other side of the bathroom. They suspected “something a bit inappropriate” was occurring but did not want to question a strong male authority figure.” [NYT]
Watch below as Leonard talks with CNN to talk the book, the better moments of his life and other untold stories.