Washington: American boxing legend Sugar Ray Leonard has revealed that he was sexually abused as a young fighter by an unnamed “prominent Olympic boxing coach”.
In his soon-to-be-published autobiography, “The Big Fight: My Life In and Out of the Ring”, Leonard describes the incident, which he says occurred in a deserted parking lot in the mid-70s.
Leonard writes that a “prominent Olympic boxing coach” in his 40s sexually assaulted him as the two sat in a car discussing the upcoming 1976 Olympics, CBS News reports.
“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 writes.
The 55-year-old, who doesn’t name the coach, says that he initially considered glossing over the incident, but later decided it was important to reveal.
“I realized I would never be free unless I revealed the whole truth, no matter how much it hurt,” he writes.
Leonard was the first boxer to earn over 100 million dollars in purses, and is widely considered to be one of the best boxers of all time, winning world titles in five weight divisions and defeating future fellow International Boxing Hall of Fame inductees Wilfred Benitez, Thomas Hearns, Roberto Duran and Marvin Hagler.
He was named “Boxer of the Decade” for the 1980s.