Leonard Discusses His Book, The Big Fight
By Barbara Pinnella
On Monday “Sugar” Ray Leonard’s book, The Big Fight: My Life
in and Out of the Ring hit the bookstores. This is the
second part of an interview I did with Leonard. The first
part was about his stint on Dancing With the Stars. But with
the new book up for grabs I wanted to discuss The Big Fight
and what went into the making of it.
Leonard is nothing if not candid in this book. He discusses
everything; his awesome boxing career, his addictions and
compulsions, and most surprisingly, that as a young boxer he
was sexually abused by someone referred to only as “a
prominent Olympic boxing coach”. And it took some time to
get all of the information in order.
“I’d been writing the book for nearly two years – my
memoir,” he told me. “I worked with my writer Michael Arkush
and it’s been an incredible experience and journey. I had to
rehash and remember everything from more than 30 years ago.
It’s been very therapeutic.”
When I asked him if he enjoyed the journey, he hesitated and
then replied, “Well, you know what? It was an emotional
rollercoaster of my accomplishments. I found myself thinking
back to who I was then, and where I am now.”
I have been told that frequently when someone writes a book
like this, and are reliving their experiences, they discover
moments in their lives where they wish they had done things
differently – hadn’t done this, had done that. But according
to Leonard, the regrets are there when you hurt someone. For
that reason, Ray would not let those thoughts take over.
“I found myself thinking that way a little bit, but then I
woke up to the fact that when you hurt yourself, I think
that makes you a better person. If you survive,” he added,
laughing. “But yes, I would come down on myself, and yes,
there are things that one has second thoughts about, but
mistakes are made to make you a better person.”
So while the sexual abuse is fodder for those seeking
sensationalism, as is his alcohol and drug use and many
affairs, there is so much more involved in this writing. Are
those things important? Of course, but why not focus on his
boxing achievements and well-known battles with Tommy Hearns,
Marvin Hagler and Roberto Duran, to name but a few. How
about his gold medal in the 1976 Olympics, or the fact that
he was the first boxer to win $1 million in purses?
This book has it all, as Leonard was not afraid to include
everything during this adventure on paper. But I wondered
about one thing – was he pleased with the journey that
writing this book has taken him on?
“Without question,” he answered quickly. “Without question,
I’m pleased and thankful for where I am and who I am.”
And so are the fans and friends of “Sugar” Ray Leonard. I
want to thank him for always taking time out to speak with
me and wish him all the best.
Be safe and God Bless,
Viva La Raza,