Sugar Ray Leonard was sexually abused by his coach, the boxer reveals in an upcoming memoir. Leonard doesn’t name the trainer, calling him simply a “prominent Olympic boxing coach,” but he discusses multiple incidents in the Big Fight, due out next month, the New York Times reports. At age 15, Leonard and another teenage fighter were instructed to take a bath together while the coach watched; a few years later, he sat with the coach in a car in an empty parking lot.
“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. Those close to the boxer say it’s news to them. “This is the first time I’ve ever heard that, and I’ve known Ray since he was just a kid,” says another former trainer. An HBO exec: “Knowing Ray, I’d bet he’s thinking that if one person reads this and says, ‘Oh, that happened to me, too, and I need to get help,’ then he’ll think it was worth it.”